Mark Jones: Reliable Roach Player

Los Angeles native Mark Jones (1889-1965) had been an acrobat prior to joining the Hal Roach comedy factory in 1919, appearing in over 70 films in 7 years. He was mostly a supporting player for the entire time. You can see him in bit roles in such Harold Lloyd classics as Pay Your Dues (1919), Bumping into Broadway (1920), Haunted Spooks (1920), An Easterner Westerner (1920), High and Dizzy (1920), Number Please (1920), Never Weaken (1921), Grandma’s Boy (1922) and Why Worry? (1923). He’s also in some of the earliest Our Gang shorts, and Stan Laurel solo comedies like White Wings, Kill or Cure and Oranges and Lemons, all 1923. His turns were often attention getting. He played drunks, for example, and he was the old hag in Grandma’s Boy. He’s a cross-eyed barber in Laurel’s A Man About Town, a sort of Ben Turpin turn. By the early 20s he was often third billed in comedy shorts (not too bad) and he had the starring role in at least one, Family Life in 1924. Pay the Cashier (1926), starring James Parrott, was Jones’ last for Roach. In 1939 he returned to movies one last time to play a Keystone Kop in Hollywood Cavalcade. His commonplace name makes it very difficult to search into what his live performing career may have been before and after his stint in the films, and for all that, he may have worked with a pseudonym. As we learn more, we’ll add it here.

For more on vaudeville, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, and for more on silent film comedy please read Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.