Slapstick Summer Series: Before The Fame | Troublesome Secretaries (1911)

I was very surprised to stumble upon this [incomplete?] movie starring a pre-Keystone Mabel Normand alongside John Bunny, America’s 1st major film comedian. This was the first (and only surviving) pairing of these film comedy forebears as Normand left Vitagraph very soon after.

With an alternate title of How Betty Outwitted Her Father, The Troublesome Secretaries also features Ralph Ince — youngest of three filmmaking brothers — pulling double-duty as both actor and director.


Slapstick Summer Series: Comedic Timing | Onésime, Clockmaker (1912)

With the inception of recurring movie characters, Onésime portrayed by Ernest Bourbon in 63 different films over the span of just 2 years — was arguably the most popular from the pre-Keystone era.

However, the star of today’s spotlight film is not actually Onésime and his fewer than 2 minutes of onscreen time. That honor instead goes to the city of Paris. Vibrant and alive in triple-time, pre-WWII Paris is captured in hi-speed compositions by Director, Jean Durand.

Also of note: Onésime Horloger was written by heir to the Gaumont director’s throne, Louis Feuillade.

How Much Do I Love “The Movies”?

My apologies for slacking on the blog postings recently. It is due in part to this: A Story of Our Hero – To 1930 & Beyond! (which also partly answers the question posed above). 

Believe it or not, I’m not very good at the whole self-promotion thing, and so I simply ask that you please check out the campaign and, if you like, share it via the wonderful tools we have available to us…and if you can, a contribution would be greatly appreciated. I hope my fellow film fanatics enjoy the names of the perks.

Thank you for all of the support!

Also, the “Slapstick Summer Series” will return on Monday.

Slapstick Summer Series: Moving On | Alkali Ike’s Auto (1911)

Related to yesterday’s post, Ike (first ‘Alkali Ike’, then ‘Universal Ike’ after the actor moved from Essanay to Universal Studios) was another pre-Tramp/Fatty character portrayed in multiple films — this time, by Augustus Carney, and in almost 50 different movies.
Alkali Ike’s Auto, the first in the series and directed by Essanay co-founder, Broncho Billy Anderson, features Carney’s ‘Ike’ in competition with ‘Mustang Pete’ (Harry Todd) to win the affections of ‘Betty Brown’ (Margaret Joslin). In a case of life imitating art, Joslin later married Todd after first being married to Carney!


Slapstick Summer Series: Character Development | How Bumptious Papered the Parlor (1910)

Before Roscoe was ‘Fatty’, before Chaplin was ‘The Tramp’, and before Harold Lloyd was ‘Lonesome Luke’ (or ‘The Boy’), John Cumpson was ‘Bumptious’, a slapstick character he portrayed in 13 different movies. How Bumptious Papered the Parlor, directed by Ashley Miller, is the oldest surviving of the thirteen. Though lacking the comedic timing of the legends, and despite a career cut short by pneumonia & diabetes, Cumpson earns a spot in film history for his role in ushering in the recurring lead character.

Slapstick Summer Series: When Harry Met Zecca | Slippery Jim (1910)

Ferdinand Zecca reportedly came up with the idea for Slippery Jim after reading about the escape acts of Harry Houdini. That inspiration worked out nicely for me as this is my favorite film from 1910. It’s visually and structurally closer to films from the early 1910s than to those from the late 1900s, and it is more of a comedic ancestor to Monty Python than to Keystone.

%d bloggers like this: