Alberta Vaughn: Telephone Girl

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June 27: the birthday of silent comedy hotsy totsy Alberta Vaughn (1904-1992).

A native of Kentucky, she broke into film in 1921 in a Hal Roach short called Stop Kidding, then worked for several months at Century Film which released through Universal. By 1923 she was working for Mack Sennett as a Bathing Beauty, supporting the likes of Billy Bevan and Harry Langdon (including Picking Peaches and Smile Please. While there she was picked as one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars, which led to her starring series as the Telephone Girl for FBO (which eventually became part of RKO). (You can see one of these Telephone Girl comedies in Ben Model’s Accidentally Preserved DVD). From here she went on to do the “Go-Getter” , “Pacemaker”, “Mazie”  and “Fighting Hearts” series for FBO. Amongst all these series she managed to squeeze in the Joe Rock comedy The Sleuth (1925) with Stan Laurel. 

From 1926 to 1928 she starred in features with names like Collegiate, Skyscraper and Backstage. From 1928 through 1930 (a period that embraces both silents and talkies) she co-starred in shorts with the now-forgotten Al Cooke. Through 1935 she appeared in a number of B movies westerns starring the likes of Hoot Gibson, Tim McCoy and John Wayne. Her last picture was The Live Wire (1935).

For more on silent and slapstick comedy and comedians like Alberta Vaughn don’t my book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Mediaalso available from amazon.com etc etc etc

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