I musta been daydreamin’! My second book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickleodeons to Youtube turned five years old several days ago and I missed the anniversary. The book came out in early 2013, timed for the centennial of Mack Sennett’s founding of Keystone Studios. In the early days I did several events about Charlie Chaplin and other screen clowns and made this short silent comedy with a comedy supergroup that included me, Audrey Crabtree, Glen Heroy and Jennifer Harder. And this one with Hilary Chaplain! And I did tons and tons of silent and slapstick comedy posts here on Travalanche.
I might have continued on the silent comedy jag a bit longer in support of the book but in 2014 came Marxfest, and a heady period of Marx Brothers exploration (that’s still ongoing actually); and in 2015 and 2016, Fieldsfest and lots.of W.C. Fields activity. In 2017, the vaudeville artists I focused on the most were Weber and Fields, also still ongoing — I’m now working on the liner notes for CD of their early recordings to be released by Archeophone Records later this year, which I know we’ll have some events around. And we have West Fest, our Mae West festival, planned for August.
So Chain of Feels feels a little cast aside. I welcome any occasion to plug it! Perhaps the new Stan and Ollie movie starring Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly as Laurel and Hardy, slated for a 2019 release, shall present some opportunities.
Meantime, if you haven’t already done so I hope you’ll pick it up and check it out. I think the title pretty adequately describes what the book is about!
And if you’ve already bought the book (and even if you haven’t) but wish to simply support the work I do on Travalanche, please contribute to my Patreon campaign. As Buster Keaton can tell you, even tiny pebbles can set big boulders tumbling.