Today is the birthday of Alice Lake (1895-1967). Originally from Brooklyn, Lake started out as a dancer and toured the Keith circuit with a one act play called “The Bobbed-hair Bandit” before acting in her first Vitagraph short “How to Do It and Why, or Cutie in College” in 1914. Two years later she had worked her way to Keystone and was frequently cast in support of Fatty Arbuckle in classics like The Moonshiners and The Waiters Ball. When Arbuckle left in 1917 to helm his own studio Comique he brought Lake with him, and she appears in most of his shorts through 1918, when she returned to Mack Sennett for a time. From 1919 through the end of the silent era starred in scores of long-forgotten features for Metro and other studios with titles like Misfit Wife (1920) and Obey Your Husband (1928). Her star sank immediately with the advent of talkies, and she was reduced to walk-ons and extra roles for the remainder of her career.
Here she is playing Cutie Cuticle the manicurist in Arbuckle’s The Bell Boy (1918):
To learn more about silent and slapstick comedy please check out my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc
To learn more about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.