Eddie Cantor in “Kid Boots”

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Today is the anniversary of the release date of Eddie Cantor’s first film Kid Boots (1926).

We previously had a good chuckle upon learning that the Marx Brothers had originally considered adapting their hit stage musical The Cocoanuts into a silent movie. But the thing is such a thing HAD BEEN DONE. Not only had it been done, but it had been done well and done successfully. One example was the transplantation of the W.C. Fields 1924 Broadway vehicle Poppy into the 1925 film Sally of the Sawdust. Another example was Kid Boots, which was a stage smash for Cantor in 1923. Both the musical and the film were produced by Flo Ziegfeld. The plot of the film differs substantially from that of the stage show however.

Kid Boots, which co-stars Clara Bow, was enough of a hit at the box office that Cantor went on to make an original silent feature Special Delivery which did not do as well. It wasn’t until the arrival of talkies that Cantor’s musical comedy skills could be properly employed in films and he finally became a movie star. Two of his talking films would repeat the “Kid” motif of his silent hit: The Kid from Spain (1932) and Kid Millions (1934).

To learn more about comedy film history please check out my new 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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To learn about the history of vaudevilleconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

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