Today is the anniversary of the release date of the Harold Lloyd short Bumping into Broadway (1919).
This is kind of unusual (and very entertaining) role for Lloyd — a struggling artist. He plays a starving playwright, living in a very shabby room. Though he has just enough money to pay his rent, he gives it to a girl who is about to be thrown out. This is more than generous; it is brave. Welchers at this hotel are thrown around by the house bouncer (Noah Young) like rag dolls. Harold manages to sneak out the window.
Determined to break into the theatre, he literally sneaks himself in, on the inside of a prop grandfather clock that’s being delivered. Once inside, he flirts with chorus girl Bebe Daniels. Then stage director Snub Pollard has him thrown out. Then Harold winds up in a casino, accidentally ends up playing roulette and winning a ton of money. The police rob the gambling den, and Harold evades them through various hilarious means. He eventually escapes and reunites with his girl.
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 Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc
To learn 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.