Today is the anniversary of the release date of the Mack Sennett produced short Her Painted Hero (1915).
In this early Polly Moran comedy, Polly moons around a stage door hoping for a glimpse of a certain matinee idol (Hale Hamilton). She is partially compensated for her assertiveness by making the acquaintance of two drinking stage hands (Slim Summerville and Charlie Murray). Her father (Harry Booker) disapproves. Then—her uncle dies, leaving millions. Suddenly daughter and father live in a mansion. Yet the stagehands continue to vie for her affections. She holds a fete and invites the matinee idol, who attends. The father and suitors try to break it up and the idol is only too happy to have them do that, he wants to escape from her clutches! Polly turns the tide by offering to back a show (always a weakness for an actor) but only if she can co-star. She naturally makes a disaster of the show, overturning scenery, setting it on fire. The curtain is rung up, and she’s attached to it. Then everybody fights. The audience sits and enjoys the whole thing…even the fire, which is devastating but is conveniently confined only to the stage. In the end, the actor and suitors leave, and father gives daughter an old fashioned spanking. Look for Harold Lloyd in a small role as a minister!
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.