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.

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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.

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