Harry Edwards: Part of the Langdon Brain Trust

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Today is the birthday of prolific comedy director Harry Edwards (1887-1952), best known today for his work with Harry Langdon from 1924 to 1926, but in his 30 year career he seemed to work with practically everyone else and everywhere else in the bargain.

A stage actor from Canada, he served in the army and then became a prop boy at Universal in 1912. From here he moved up to directing Universal Ike shorts. Among many other credits he worked briefly at L-Ko (1915), Keystone (1916), Kalem (where he directed Ham and Bud, 1916-1917), and for Billy West (1923). In 1924 he became part of the famous team that helped build up Harry Langdon for Mack Sennett, directing many classic Langdon shorts, culminating in the Langdon feature Tramp, Tramp, Tramp in 1926. After this, Langdon fired Edwards and let Frank Capra take the reins.

In the talkie era Edwards directed shorts at Educational, Universal, Paramount, RKO and Columbia, with such comedians as Lloyd Hamilton, Arthur Lake, Slim Summerville, Charlie Murray, Daphne Pollard, Mack Swain, Chester Conklin, Andy Clyde, Hugh Herbert, Leon Errol and The Three Stooges. By the mid 40s he was dismissed by Columbia (for drinking, is the rumor) and he spent his last several years in retirement.

Here’s the great Langdon comedy Fiddlesticks, directed by Edwards, with a new score by Ben Model:

For more on silent and slapstick comedy please see 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

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To find out more about show business past and presentconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famousavailable at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

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