Archive for comedian

R.I.P. Professor Irwin Corey: Dead at 102

Posted in Comedians, Comedy, Jews/ Show Biz, OBITS, Stand Up with tags , , , on February 7, 2017 by travsd

corey27n-4-web

There’s been lots of chatter on social media since last night and I finally got definitive word from Bob Greenberg: Professor Irwin Corey has passed away at age 102.  Those old enough to remember him from tv, may justifiably ask, “Professor Irwin Corey is still alive???” But here in New York he remained very much present and visible in at least two of the circles I run with. The subset of the comedy community that respects its old timers knows him well, of course. As does the progressive activist community. Irwin was very active well past the century mark, still going out, still being “public” amongst those two groups, attending their dinners and functions and parties and meetings, interacting with people, cherishing the limelight. And, as always happens when you approach and then pass 100, he’s gotten more press than usual in the local papers in recent years.

Irwin’s schtick was very vaudeville: he affected the distracted, disheveled look of the academic intellectual much popularized by Einstein: ill fitting clothes and long, messy hair. He was a kook who would spout nonsense, confusing the convulsed audience while purporting to enlighten them. He started this bit at night clubs and cabarets in the ’40s. In the ’60s, he caught on with the counterculture and tv. By the ’70s, since he was so well recognized, he got lots of bit parts in movies.

At the same time, he was extremely left wing, a radical of the type that had become quite rare in America by the turn of the 21st century. He surely must have been flipping out these last few weeks.

Bob Greenberg, who was his good friend, posted this message last night:

“Irwin passed away at 6:27 PM tonight in his home. He had just eaten Vanilla Ice Cream Swirl followed by Egg Drop Soup. (The Ice Cream didn’t satisfy him so he sent his son out to get the soup.) After the soup he complained that the covers were too heavy on his feet. (This was odd since he usually complained that there wasn’t enough covering him.) His Nurse adjusted them and when she looked up he was gone. “

Farewell to the “World’s Foremost Authority”.

Stars of Vaudeville #1025: Jack Waldron

Posted in Comedians, Comedy, Stand Up, Vaudeville etc. with tags , , , , , , on February 3, 2017 by travsd

mv5bzja1zmrmnjqtytnhys00mjzmlwezytgtnzuwotblzdfjm2zmxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymzi5ndcxnzi-_v1_uy317_cr260214317_al_

Today is the birthday of Brooklyn’s own Jack Waldron (Jack Kestenbaum, 1893-1969). In vaudeville days, he was a comic, singer and dancer with a team called Lockett and Waldron; he later worked with a succession of others partners including Betty Winslow, Myrtle Young, Emma Haig, and Harry Carroll; and was also briefly teamed with Shemp Howard in 1925.

Waldron had spots in four Broadway shows in the twenties: Flossie (1924), The Great Temptations (1926), Hello, Daddy (1928), and Woof Woof (1929-1930). He made two Vitaphone picture shorts: A Breath of Broadway (1928), and Radio and Relatives (1940). Throughout the 30s and 40s, he was mostly a night club comic and m.c., prized for his one-liners. As such he was highly influential; some have gone so far as to claim him as the first stand-up comedian, although the same claim has also been made about many earlier performers. Jack E. Leonard claimed to have patterned his rapid-fire insult style after Waldron, quoting him as saying to a heckler, “Let’s play horse. I’ll be the front end, and you just be yourself!”

In 1948 Waldron did The Ed Sullivan Show, his one tv spot. and then three Broadway shows in the 50s: Pal Joey (1952-53), The Pajama Game (1954-56), and The Vamp (1955). In 1961, the Sobels included him in their A Pictorial History of Vaudeville. And in 1969 he became Shepherd (president) of the Lambs, a post he held until he died.

You can see him in action in his Vitaphone A Breath of Broadway here.

For more on vaudeville historyconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold

Films of Fields #29: It’s a Gift

Posted in Comedians, Comedy, Hollywood (History), Movies, W.C. Fields with tags , , , , on December 12, 2016 by travsd

its_a_gift2_1934

We’ll be blogging about comedian W.C. Fields all through November and December as part of our tribute to the comedian called Fields Fest.  For a full list upcoming live Fields Fest events go here. 

W.C. Fields’ comedy It’s a Gift (1934) is today one of the best known and loved films from Fields’s Paramount period. Based on several stage sketches from Fields’ Broadway years (strung together into a slim modicum of a plot), the film casts him as Harold Bissonette, a long-suffering husband, father and grocer who decides to pull up stakes and start a California orange grove. Many of the film’s most famous scenes revolve around the theme of Fields the Martyr. In one, he (unsuccessfully) tries to prevent the blind man Mr. Muckle (Charles Sellon) from destroying his shop. In another he tries to sleep on his back porch and is constantly being awakened and interrupted,a bit he’d also used in the silent It’s the Old Army Game. Of course Baby Leroy is present to add to his torture, as is Kathleen Howard, playing one of a long line of Fields’s shrewish wives. Norman McLeod directed.

Silent Partners: Other Harpos

Posted in Comedians, Comedy, Comedy Teams, Hollywood (History), Marx Brothers, Television with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2016 by travsd
9f1e54e77aad2c05c70c66e403e6c081

Harpo with Lucille Ball from the famous “I Love Lucy” episode, which is absolutely the first place I ever saw him

Today is Harpo Marx’s birthday (for more on the great silent clown, see my biographical post on the Marx Brothers). Today’s post has been germinating for a long time. It grew out of lots of contemplation I did during Marxfest and the Fringe Production of I’ll Say She Is. It occurred to me that he was the most original of the Marx Brothers. I think his grandfather, a magician, may have been an influence, but I’ve never come across mention of others — specific performers he watched and emulated in his earliest years. But I did think of a very few contemporaries who come kind of close to him in conception, and a few characters who came later who echo in some way the Harpo idea (just click on link for more information):

dchasen

Dave Chasen

Before starting his famous Hollywood restaurant, Dave Chasen was the stooge to vaudeville and Broadway clown/comedian Joe Cook. Chasen wasn’t silent, he limited himself to a few phrases, uttered exuberantly in his thick Russian accent. But something about his personality reminds me the most of Harpo. He is “the cheerful idiot”, with a smile and a wave. You can see him do his thing in both of Cook’s features, Rain or Shine (1930) and Arizona Mahoney (1936).

paul-mccullough-05

Paul McCullough

Clark and McCullough were the vaudeville and screen team who came closest in conception to the Marx Brothers: surreal, grotesque, clown-like and even a little scary. Unlike the Marx Bros. or Dave Chasen, there was nothing “ethnic” about them — they were a couple of midwestern kids whose earliest days were spent in the circus and burlesque. The cigar smoking, leering and wisecracking Clark was most similar to Groucho; McCullough was his stooge. Like Chasen, he wasn’t silent per se, but he rarely spoke, and usually just made a lot of idiotic faces and laughed his raspy laugh. He also always seemed to wear very large coats which seemed to swallow him up, another trait I associate with Harpo. Clark and McCullough made many comedy shorts for RKO in the early ’30s. You can catch some of them on Youtube.

fred-sanborn-pictures

Fred Sanborn

Stage and screen comedian Ted Healy employed many stooges over the years beyond the three who became famous for their Columbia comedy shorts. Fred Sanborn appeared in vaudeville and Broadway revues with Healy and the others, playing a character who was more like Chaplin than Harpo. He was more silent than Chasen or McCullough. We never heard him utter a sound. But he was not a mute; he would just whisper into the other character’s ears. Unlike Harpo, Chasen or McCullough he also wasn’t idiotic or crazy — more winsome and poetic. You can see him with Healy and the Three Stooges in their 1930 vehicle Soup to Nuts. He left the act shortly after that film to focus on music.

gideon

Gideon the Cat

This character in the 1940 Disney film Pinnochio is mute, apart from three hiccups voiced by Mel Blanc. (His partner, the fox Honest John was portrayed by Walter Catlett)  The character is very much in the tradition of the idiotic, mute stooge, and reminds me more of McCullough perhaps more than some of the others.

snorky

Snork

This character from the Sid and Marty Kroft children’s  show The Banana Splits (1968-1970), was the silent member of the psychedelically costumed quartet. The other three were played by popular voice-over actors Paul Winchell, Daws Butler and Allan Melvin). Snork was a hairy elephant whose “voice” was a bicycle horn (not unlike Harpo’s taxi horn).

teller

Teller

This guy — am I right? The “smaller, quieter half” of comedy/magic duo Penn and Teller is unique among stage mutes by not being stupid, broad, or crazy. Instead, he is cool, poised, sleek and intelligent — in fact, in the act he often seems to be the brains of the duo. He strikes me as more in the tradition of Buster Keaton, his silence an effect of economy and stripping-down. It’s almost as if he can’t be bothered to talk, or perhaps he might well decide to talk some day if there were ever anything worth saying, and so far there hasn’t been.

If you’ve thoughts about other similar silent partners in a talking universe, I’d be interested to hear!

For more on silent comedians please see my 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

W.C. Fields and Broadway

Posted in Broadway, Comedians, Comedy, Hollywood (History), Jugglers, W.C. Fields with tags , , , , , , , on November 18, 2016 by travsd

ziegstars

We’ll be blogging about comedian W.C. Fields all through November and December as part of our tribute to the comedian called Fields Fest.  For a full list upcoming live Fields Fest events go here. 

With Kevin Fitzpatick giving his Fields Fest Walking Tour tomorrow, which takes visitors to destinations in the NYC theatre district significant to the life of W.C. Fields, it seemed a good time to post this piece on Fields’ time in the legit theatre.

Fields’ career can roughly be broken down into three phases:

  • Nearly 20 years as a juggler in vaudeville (circa 1895-1915) with a couple of forays into book shows in burlesque
  • 15 years as a Broadway star (1915-1930), with occasional vaudeville dates and silent films
  • 15 years as a star of talking pictures (1930-1945), with radio work supplanting live theatre after 1936

The Broadway period laid crucial groundwork for his Hollywood movies. Fields became a prolific and hilarious comedy sketch writer during his stage years. Nearly all of the sketches he wrote and performed in Broadway revues were incorporated into his films.

The Ziegfeld Follies of  1915 was a crucial turning point in Fields’ career; the dream of every vaudevillian. But it was not (as is sometimes claimed) his first structured stage show, or even his first Broadway show.

In the late 1890s (a time when burlesque was very different), as a juggler he’d taken part in the olio of a show called The Monte Carlo Girls, which played Troy, NY and then moved to Miner’s Bowery Theatre. In 1899, he appeared with Murphy and Gibson’s Minstrels in Atlantic City, and. Irwin’s Burlesquers in Cincinnati. These shows differed from vaudeville in that they consisted of a single, rehearsed company, who did the same show, in the same order from night to night. Fields was still a semi-mute tramp juggler at this stage.

His Broadway debut came in The Ham Tree (1905), a vehicle for the blackface minstrel team of McIntyre and Heath. Fields got to speak his first lines in this show, playing a funny detective named Sherlock Baffles, in addition to his juggling specialty. He was well received in the role. After out of town tryouts the show opened at Klaw and Erlanger’s New York Theatre in 1905 and toured through 1907.

In 1914, Fields got a terrific break (briefly) when he was given a slot in the seminal Broadway show Watch Your Step. This was Irving Berlin’s first Broadway show, and was a showcase for the talents of the dance team of Vernon and Irene Castle. The all-star cast also included Frank Tinney, Harry Kelly, Elizabeth Murray, and Charles King. Unfortunately, Fields was fired after a single performance. Not for cause, just for time. This was extremely common in Broadway shows, especially ones with a variety component. When ya run long, ya gotta cut. Still it must have been a major disappointment when this show went on to be a major hit. Fields’ consolation came the following year, when his Broadway career truly began.

new_amsterdam

Ziegfeld Follies of 1915

Fields first stint in the Follies was more tentative than his participation in subsequent editions. It was essentially an on-the-job audition. Plenty of performers were tried in the Follies and then let go for a wide variety of reasons. But Fields was a hit, and somehow his contributions fit right into Flo Ziegfeld’s revue format.  In his inaugural year, Fields was able to do his trick pool table routine he’d been developing in vaudeville for years. But, as he was a newbie, the turn was incorporated into a sketch starring Ed Wynn, a Follies veteran. An occurrence during a performance of this sketch one night became a legendary show biz anecdote. As part of the action, Wynn crept under the pool table and started making faces at the audience. For this crime, one night Fields is reputed to have cracked Wynn over the head with a pool cue and knocked him out cold.  Fields proved he was able to hold his own in the 1915 Follies, not only with Wynn, but also the likes of Bert Williams, Leon Errol, Ina Claire, Bernard Granville, Mae Murray, the Oakland Sisters, Olive Thomas, and the dance team of Ann Pennington and George White (the latter of whom would go on to employ Fields in his own revue a few years later). Shorty Blanche was hired to be Fields’ valet this year;  in a few years time he would graduate to performing with Fields in the sketches. Last year I attended a wonderful celebration of the centennial of this landmark of the life of W.C. Fields; read all about it here.

Ziegfeld Follies of 1916

Having proven himself in the previous edition, Fields was given much more to do in 1916. He was in many more comedy sketches, and got to demonstrate a versatility that perhaps even his modern fans would not suspect he was capable of. In comedy sketches, he played Hamlet and Teddy Roosevelt, and did a funny routine with Bert Williams  and Sam Hardy (who later worked with Fields on his film Man on the Flying Trapeze). He was even in a musical number called “Njinsky” with Fanny Brice and others. In what was to become a Fields staple in revues, he did another sports-related comedy sketch, supplanting the pool routine with one about croquet (in later years he would also do ones on golf, tennis and baseball).  Fields’ co-stars in this edition included Ina Claire, Bernard Granville, Marion Davies (with whom he would appear 8 years later in Janice Meredith), Bird Millman, Ann Pennington, and Frances White. 

Ziegfeld Follies of 1917

This is fondly remembered as perhaps the best year of the Follies ever, at least for comedy fans. It was the debut year for both Eddie Cantor and Will Rogers, and Fanny Brice, one of the Follies’ earliest stars, returned. Fields became fast friends with all of them. Cantor was the youngest of the bunch; Fields mentored him and roomed with him went the company went on the road. Also in this edition, Fields appeared in two sketches with Walter Catlett, later to become a beloved Hollywood character actor himself: “A Game of Tennis” and “One of the Six Best Cellars”.  Also in the show were Bert Williams, the Fairbanks Twins, Carl Hyson, and Lilyan Tashman.

Cast of 1918 Follies

Cast of 1918 Follies

Ziegfeld Follies of 1918

This edition of the Follies is famous for being the one in which Fields introduced his routine “A Game of Golf”, which he later incorporated into so many of his movies (“Stand clear, and keep your eye on the ball!”). This is also the edition during which Fields met chorus girl Bessie Poole, who would become his longtime companion for years. Lillian Lorraine, who’d been an early star of the Follies from 1909 through 1912, returned. Also in the show were Eddie Cantor, Will Rogers, Savoy and Brennan, the Fairbanks Twins, Ann Pennington, Joe Frisco, Marilyn Miller, Bee Palmer, Harry Kelly, Martha Mansfield, Billie Ritchie, and, in the chorus, Doris Eaton, later to become famous as the Last Ziegfeld Girl.

Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic (1919)

Fields had planned a foreign tour in 1919 so he didn’t participate in the Follies that year. But then the tour fell through. To full his schedule, he played several of Ziegfeld’s more informal cabaret revues instead. The Midnight Frolic was a sophisticated show staged in the rooftop club atop the New Amsterdam Theatre.  In this production, Fields introduced a sketch called “The Family Ford”, about all the tribulations of a family trying to load the car up for an outing. Also in the show were Fanny Brice, Frances White, Ted Lewis, Doris Eaton, Martha Mansfield, Chic Sale, and Savoy and Brennan.

Ziegfeld Nine O’Clock Revue (1920)

This was a supper show, for which Fields revived his golf and croquet sketches.  Will Rogers and Savoy and Brennan were in the cast.

Ziegfeld Girls of 1920

In this revue, Fields was joined by Fanny Brice, Lillian Lorraine, the Cameron Sisters, and others.

Ziegfeld Follies of 1920

In this edition, Fields brought “The Family Ford” to the big time. Also in the cast were Fanny Brice. Ray Dooley, Jack Donohue, Bernard Granville, Moran and Mack, Van and Schenck, Charles Winninger and both Doris and Mary Eaton.

Ziegfeld Follies of 1921

Fields introduced his sketch “Off to the Country” here; it was all about a family trying to get onto a subway car while loaded down with fishing poles and other recreational gear.  He also appeared in a Camille parody with Fields as John Barrymore, Fanny Brice as Ethel, and Raymond Hitchcock as Lionel.  He also played the referee in a spoof of the Dempsey-Carpentier fight with Fanny Brice and Ray Dooley as the boxers. Brice was the undisputed star of this edition — it’s the one in which she sang “My Man” and “Second Hand Rose”. Also in this one:Van and Schenck, and Doris and Mary Eaton

George White’s Scandals (1922)

Fields jumped ship and went over to the competition this year. he enjoyed much more creative freedom in George White’s revue, as White was also in the show himself and didn’t supervise the other acts as closely as Ziegfeld had.  Fields introduced a baseball routine (it was cut for being a rehash of his tennis routine) a radio sketch, and a sketch mixing his previous automobile and subway routines. Also in the cast: Dolores Costello, Winnie Lightner (and her sister Thea), and the Paul Whiteman Orchestra.

Poppy (1923-1924)

This book musical written by Dorothy Donnelly and starring Madge Kennedy as the titular New England heiress, was a pivotal show for Fields. It was with Poppy that he introduced the florid-tongued, top-hatted 19th century mountebank, Eustace McGargle, the lovable snake oil salesman — the character we would see so often in his later movies. Already a star of vaudeville and revues, Poppy now brought Fields to the attention of serious and important critics like Alexander Woolcott, George Jean Nathan and Robert Sherwood. Walter Winchell had a small part in the ensemble!

The Comic Supplement (1925):

This show of sketches by J.P. McEvoy (with additional material by Fields) provided the OTHER piece of the puzzle we would see in Fields’ movies, that of the irascible, hen-pecked domestic dad. It included a drug store sketch that became the movie short The Pharmacist, as well as a sketch called “The Back Porch” that was incorporated into It’s a Gift., Betty Compson was in this show. Ziegfeld produced this legendary show, but he closed it out of town before it reached New York. But the silver lining was:

Ziegfeld Follies of 1925

Fields brought the best of the Comic Supplement material into the ’25 edition of the Follies and became the hit of the show, which needed the comedy material badly.  Also in this edition were Louise Brooks, with whom Fields would soon co-star in The Old Army Game.  The show also featured Chaz Chase and Vivienne Segal.

1718_5afb845eb684ad9b88a31c1b6387e226

Earl Carroll’s Vanities (1928)

When Fields’s second attempt at a silent career went bust he needed stage work.  he was not a fan of the Vanities (a cut-rate and more sensational and sexy version of the Follies and Scandals) but he couldn’t turn down the large amount of money he was offered for appearing.  The upside was that out of this show came some of his best sketches: “The Stolen Bonds”, which became the basis for the film short The Fatal Glass of Beer,  “An Episode at the Dentists” (which became the film short The Dentist) as well as  sketches entitled, “My School Days Are Over”, “The Caledonian Express”, “Fido the Beautiful Dog”.  The legendary “Canary Trial” emerged from this production, when Fields was called into court to stand trial for a murdered bird, allegedly killed during the Dentist Sketch. He gave the proceedings all the seriousness they deserved. Also in this show were Louise Brooks, Joe Frisco, Ray Dooley, Lillian Roth (soon to be featured in films like The Love Parade, Animal Crackers and Madam Satan) and Barto and Mann.

Show Boat (1930)

Fields had been intended for Cap’n Andy in the original Broadway production of this classic, but was unavailable. He as able to have his cake and eat it too by later playing the part regionally for a few weeks, at the St. Louis Municipal Opera.

Ballyhoo (1930)

This show, produced by Arthur Hammerstein, has the dubious distinction of being the only Broadway show W.C. Fields was in that tanked. Not because it was bad, but because it hit the boards at the height of the Great Depression. Fields played a promoter  by the name of Q.Q. Quale, and got to do some juggling. This show marked the end of Fields’ 30+ stage career. For the next 15 years it would be just film and radio — for which we should be glad, since they allow us who weren’t around at the time of his stage career, to experience him!

 

 

 

W.C. Fields and Radio

Posted in Comedians, Comedy, Radio (Old Time Radio), W.C. Fields with tags , , , , on November 17, 2016 by travsd

images11

We’ll be blogging about comedian W.C. Fields all through November and December as part of our tribute to the comedian called Fields Fest.  For a full list upcoming live Fields Fest events go here

Tonight at 7pm (EST) we will be appearing on Rachel Cleary’s “Hear and Now” show on Radio Free Brooklyn (please tune in!) so I thought it would be an appropriate time to re-post my earlier piece on W.C. Fields’ radio work:

Fields conquered every medium going in his day: vaudeville, burlesque, Broadway, silent films, talkies…but unlike almost every vaudeville comedy star of his day he was late getting around to radio. Whereas friends like Eddie Cantor, and Burns and Allen got in on the ground floor in the mid-1920s, Fields didn’t make his broadcast debut until 1931, as part of the promotional push for the Broadway show Ballyhoo. He didn’t much like the experience. In 1935 he turned down a major network offer for his own show, fearing that the weekly exposure and smaller salary would diminish his negotiating power in Hollywood, and suggesting (perhaps half jokingly) that he was holding out for television. (He often made comical references to the then-experimental medium of television in his films in the 1930s. Ironically, if he had lived just a couple of years longer, his whimsical notion of being on tv could conceivably have come true. It’s the sort of thing that fans bewail, but really, why? I can live without seeing a snowy kinescope of an ailing, sick elderly W.C. Fields, can’t you?)

It was that very sickness that finally brought him around to radio. In 1936 he fell desperately ill, so ill that he barely made it through filming Poppy and most people thought it would be his last picture. As he recuperated and began to feel a little better, it began to dawn on him that radio would be the perfect medium for his predicament. It was a way of keeping his career going in his weakened condition.  It didn’t take much energy to stand there and read your lines from a script. So in 1937 he signed on as a regular on the Chase and Sanbourn Hour — fortuitously at the same time as Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. The two seasoned vaudeville pros Bergen and Fields rapidly developed a chemistry (with Charlie and Fields exchanging insults) that became a hit with audiences. After a few weeks however, Fields walked out in anger in the middle of a program when Bergen wouldn’t stop razzing him about the failure of The Big Broadcast of 1938 and his declining fortunes at Paramount. (While we’ve come to consider the film as a classic because it contains Bob Hope’s first screen appearance and the debut of his theme song “Thanks for the Memories”, in its day it was considered a debacle. It was the last of the Big Broadcast series and W.C. Fields’ last film for Paramount)

But this is W.C. Fields we’re talking about. His career had been “over” many times — he always came back with a vengeance. First he did more radio, including a 1938 version of Poppy for Lux Radio Theatre, and his own show for Lucky Strike, Your Hit Parade (which Fields quit after a few weeks).

Then he kissed and made up with Bergen and co-starring with him in his first film for Universal You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man (1939), which recreated many of their radio routines. This led to several more Universal films. And after his last starring vehicle Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941)….he returned to radio. While he made a handful of brief appearances in his remaining years, radio became the primary medium through which Fields reached his audiences, primarily appearing with Bergen and McCarthy on The Chase and Sanbourn Hour and The Charlie McCarthy Show between 1941 and 1946, although he occasionally guested on other shows as well. And we have much to be grateful for, as so many of these programs were preserved, and we get to hear the raspy curmudgeon utter many a quip that never made it to his films.

Here much more about Fields at 7pm tonight at http://radiofreebrooklyn.com/

Films of Fields #2: His Lordship’s Dilemma

Posted in BUNKUM, Comedians, Comedy, Hollywood (History), Movies, Silent Film, W.C. Fields with tags , , , , on November 16, 2016 by travsd

tumblr_np165enLXu1rujq2eo1_1280

We’ll be blogging about comedian W.C. Fields all through November and December as part of our tribute to the comedian called Fields Fest.  For a full list upcoming live Fields Fest events go here. 

W.C. Fields’ second film was the 1915 silent short His Lordship’s Dilemma.

Sadly, this movie is considered lost and very little is known about it. Probably of most interest to Fields’ fans, His Lordship’s Dilemma was where he committed his famous golf routine to celluloid for the first time (later resurrected in So’s Your Old Man (1926), The Golf Specialist (1930) and You’re Telling Me (1934).

Like his first film Pool Sharks, this film was made by the American branch of the French studio Gaumont. This brief early experiment in the cinema was clearly not successful enough to lure Fields away from his flourishing stage career. He went back to the theatre, and would not return to films again for a decade, with Sally of the Sawdust. 

Good news though! A short fragment has been found and we are delighted to be able to share it with you today:

%d bloggers like this: