down to see our previous
(all shows programmed and projected by Bruce Lawton)
||Jewels & Gems:
Rare Prints from
We've devoted this season to
spotlighting some of the unsung heroes of film preservation – the
private collectors. The Silent Clowns Film Series would never have
gotten off the ground, much less continued year after year, without the
friendly cooperation of those whose passion and obsession for early
films - and whose devotion to saving them, giving them homes, and
sharing them with others, matches our own. The rare prints on display
this season are thanks to the kindness of Rick DeCroix of Streamline Films,
Celluloid" for The Sons of
the Desert of NYC, and Rick Scheckman & Mark Trost of F.I.L.M.
Archives. Our heartfelt thanks to them for making this season
possible by allowing their precious and valuable prints 'out to play'.
winter/spring 2010 line-up:
|Sunday, February 21
Films from the Jack Roth
If Mack Sennett was "The King of
Comedy" then Hal Roach was its
"Crown Prince." After starting as an
extra in 1914, Roach was instrumental in making Harold Lloyd a comedy
star, and along the way developed a school of comedy that consisted of
recognizable everyday people trapped in outlandish and embarrassing
situations. Today’s selection of 1927 releases includes the Stan Laurel
vehicles DUCK SOUP, EVE'S LOVE LETTERS and WHY GIRLS LOVE SAILORS, plus
Max Davidson in
JEWISH PRUDENCE and Charley Chase
in THE STING OF STINGS.
|Sunday, March 14
Johnny Hines was a very popular
clown who made many Harold Lloyd-type of comedy features in the 1920s,
but is unjustly overlooked today. CONDUCTOR 1492 (’24) gives a good
look at Hines’ ability with sight-gags, not to mention his engaging
smile, and breezy personality. Opening for the feature is Glenn Tryon, another neglected
clown, in the Hal Roach short WHOSE BABY ARE YOU? (’25).
|Sunday, March 21
More films from the Streamline Films
When the cinema began every film
was a short subject, but as the industry grew so did the length of its
films and shorts became a pre-feature special attraction. Comedy shorts
were a standard part of the typical theatre bill, and this program
provides a wide sampling of the art form. Our line-up is Ben Turpin in LOVE’S OUTCAST ('21),
UP ON THE FARM ('25) with Lee Moran,
Lupino Lane in
MOVIELAND ('26), WHAT! NO SPINACH? ('26) with Harry Sweet, and Snub Pollard as THE OLD SEA DOG
|Sunday, April 11
Films from the F.I.L.M. Archives Collection
the silent era there were numerous "fun factories" that specialized in
producing and distributing silent comedy one and two-reelers. From
giants like Sennett and Christie to micro units like Tenneck – they all
worked overtime to supply a steady stream of movie laughter. Our
cross-section of producers include Harry Cohn (Sid Smith in A DOG-GONE MIX-UP,
’21,), Larry Darmour (Mickey McGuire
in MICKEY’S CIRCUS, '27), William Fox (Arthur
Housman in JUST A HUSBAND, '27), Louis, Adolph, & Max Weiss (Ben Turpin in THE EYES HAVE IT,
'28), and Hal Roach (Snub Pollard
in STRICTLY MODERN, '22, and Stan
Laurel in COLLARS AND CUFFS, '23).
|Sunday, April 25 at 2pm
More films from the F.I.L.M. Archives
Sennett was actually the Henry Ford of slapstick, as he was the
first person to create a film studio devoted to turning out comedies on
an assembly-line schedule. The main targets for the rough and rowdy
Sennett crew were order, pomposity, and social standing. Having
discovered most of the big names in the genre, today’s sampling
highlights the year 1926 and stars such as Billy Bevan, Ralph Graves and Ben Turpin in the shorts WHISPERING
WHISKERS, HUBBY’S QUIET LITTLE GAME, YANKEE DOODLE DUKE, WHEN A MAN’S A
PRINCE, and ICE COLD COCOS.
fall/winter 2009 line-up:
|Sunday, October 11
Comedy on the Bum
- or -
The Elegance of Indigence
Tramps (a.k.a. “Knights of the
Road”) were popular comic characters on stage, in comic strips, and in
early films. While Charlie Chaplin used it for his regular screen
persona, most of the other big name comics spent some time
cinematically "on the bum". Today’s down-and-outers include Roscoe
"Fatty" Arbuckle in Fatty's New Role ('15), Charlie Chaplin’s Easy Street ('17), Harold Lloyd in From Hand To
Mouth ('19 ), Buster
Keaton’s The Goat ('21), and Fiddlesticks ('27) with Harry Langdon.
|Sunday, October 25
Lloyd takes on healthcare! Keaton takes
on Wall St!
Remembered today as the "third genius"
of silent comedy, Harold Lloyd was always first at the box office. Dr. Jack ('22), although not as well
known as Grandma's Boy ('22) or The Freshman ('25), is equally funny
and presents Harold as a country doctor who uses scares and thrills to
help a young rich girl get rid of parasitic doctors. Also on this
Halloween program is Buster Keaton surrounded by eerie goings-on in The Haunted House ('21).
|Sunday, November 8
Slapstick Show-Biz Part One:
Since most of the silent film comedians
came from the stage, it was
only natural that they would use their theatre background and
experiences for comic material. Tough company managers, over-ripe
melodramas and fly-by-night theatre troupes are some of the subjects at
hand today in the Thanhouser company’s The
Charlie Chaplin’s The Property Man
('14), The Play House ('21)
Buster Keaton, Charley Chase’s Bromo
and Juliet ('26), and Lupino Lane
in Drama Deluxe ('27).
|Sunday, November 22
Slapstick Show-Biz Part Two:
Chaos on the Set
The second part of our Show-Biz programs
finds our silent clowns poking
fun at themselves and their style of filmmaking. Nothing could be
simpler or handier (not to mention cheaper) than using their own
studios as background for slapstick antics, which today gives us
precious behind-the-scenes glimpses of where and how these films were
made. On the bill is Everett True
Breaks into the Movies ('16), Charlie Chaplin’s Behind the Screen ('16), Hey There ('18) with Harold Lloyd,
Our Gang’s Dogs of War ('23),
and The Daredevil ('23)
starring Ben Turpin.
|Sunday, December 6
at 2pm – at the Museum
of the City of N.Y.
Laurel & Hardy: U-Pick 'Em!
Hal Roach Studio in 1927.In their comedies human foibles and the
frustrations of everyday life were magnified a hundred times over. Now
you have the opportunity to select which of their silent shorts you’d
like to see. Vote online on our website, and the four finalists will be screened
at this show!
here to go to our online voting page to send in your picks!
Our fall/winter 2008 line-up:
Our winter/spring 2008 line-up:
|Sunday, September 21
Remembered today as the
“third genius” of silent comedy, Harold Lloyd was first at the
box-office in the 1920s. In GRANDMA’S BOY
(’22) Harold found the way to mix real heart with laughs, and cemented
his place as one of the leaders and innovators in the field of screen
comedy. Extra added attractions are Charley Chase in THE FRAIDY CAT
(’24) and the cartoon SICK CYLINDERS
(‘28) with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
|Sunday, October 12
Chasing the Parrott: The
Evolution of Charley Chase
Charley Chase was the matinee
idol of the silent clowns, whose penchant for embarrassing situations
made him the put upon everyman of the Hal Roach studio. Our selections
follow the beginnings of his career to its maturity with the shorts A VERSATILE VILLAIN
WOULDN’T STAY DOWN (’15), HARD KNOCKS
PRETTY (’24), MIGHTY LIKE A MOOSE
(’26) and the talkie HASTY MARRIAGE
|Sunday, October 26 at
and Mr. Hyde"
Our Halloween feature stars
“The Great Profile” John Barrymore in one of the most famous versions
of this often filmed tale. Having mostly appeared in light comedy films
Barrymore seized this dramatic opportunity, relishing the story’s
creepiness and performing the legendary transformation scene in an
unbroken take. Opening for Mr. Barrymore are Mr. Laurel & Mr.
Hardy, who have
their own scary problems in the two-reeler HABEAS CORPUS
|Sunday, November 9 at
the Delightful Dunces of Educational Pictures
“The Spice of the Program” was the
byline for Educational, and for almost 20 years they provided just that
for audiences. Distributing all kinds of shorts, they’re best
remembered for their comedies. On the bill are some of their most
popular stars – Lloyd Hamilton in JONAH JONES
(‘24), RENO OR
BUST (’24) with Bobby Vernon, Johnny Arthur in HOME CURED
(‘26), Cliff Bowes in SERVED HOT (’29)
and THE ONE BEST
PET (‘20) with Snookee the chimp
||Sunday, November 23
Douglas Fairbanks in "The Three
For this program our silent
clowns take a break and give the stage over to Douglas Fairbanks, who
was the greatest swashbuckler of early cinema. Not only is THE THREE MUSKETEERS (’21)
films, but D’Artagnan was his favorite role, which
he played again in his last silent THE IRON MASK (’29). Also on tap is
Felix the cat hobnobbing with movie stars in FELIX IN HOLLYWOOD (’23).
|Sunday, December 7
Silent Stocking Stuffers
Shorts tailored to the
holidays have long been a cinema tradition. Comedies such as THE
COURTSHIP OF MILES SANDWICH (‘23) with Snub Pollard covered
Thanksgiving, while Christmas was taken care of by films like Charley
Chase’s THERE AIN’T NO SANTA CLAUS (‘26). Our sampler of Yuletide cheer
SCROOGE (’13) with Seymour Hicks, Our Gang in GOOD CHEER
(’26), the Laurel & Hardy classic BIG BUSINESS
(’29), plus a few surprises.
Sunday, February 10
When Charlie Chaplin became
famous as the “Little Tramp” he wasn't content to have his character
just be a figure of fun, so he developed Charlie into a comic underdog,
hero, and lover. Sometimes a henpecked husband or a rejected suitor,
this program - His
Place ('14), A Jitney Elopement
('15), The Bank
('15) and The
Vagabond ('16) - takes Chaplin from his Keystone beginnings,
through Essanay, to his classic period at Mutual.
Sunday, February 24
Sunday, March 9 at 2pm
Harry Langdon made his movie
debut in 1924 and his career blazed brightly until 1928. Forgotten for
many years, today he's considered one of the era's most original
clowns, and his feature The Strong
Man ('26) was just added to the National Film Registry. Our
Langdon sampler – Feet
Mud ('24), Remember
('25), Lucky Stars
('25) and Fiddlesticks
('27) – are some of the early Mack
Sennett shorts that made him famous.
While The General ('27) is
probably Buster Keaton’s most famous film, Seven Chances
('25) is also one of his best that features great gags and breathtaking
stunts. Having to marry by 7 o'clock to get his inheritance, Buster
must brave a stampede of angry brides and rolling boulders to do it.
Opening the show is forlorn Harry Langdon who has his own wedding
troubles in His
Marriage Wow ('24).
Sunday, April 27
& Hardy / Anita & Marion
The Hal Roach Studio was
known as “the Lot of Fun,” where human foibles and the frustrations of
everyday life were magnified a hundred times over. Film historian and
author Ed Watz will introduce
our salute which showcases two comedy teams that came together at Roach
at the very end of the silent era – Laurel & Hardy in From Soup To Nuts
('28) and Their
Purple Moment ('28), plus Anita Garvin & Marion Byron in Feed 'em and Weep
('28) and A Pair
of Tights ('29).
Sunday, April 13
Never heard of Tyler Brooke?
Along with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, this forgotten clown was a
member of the late 1920’s Hal Roach “All Stars” and our selection – Dizzy Daddies
('26), The Merry
Widower ('26), Should Husbands Pay?
('26) and On the
Front Page ('27) – highlight his talents and contribution to
film comedy. Hosted by film historian and Brooke biographer Charlie Morrow.
fall/winter 2007 line-up:
Sunday, September 23
Hair-Raising Harold Lloyd
Remembered as the “Third
Genius” of silent comedy, Harold Lloyd was always first at the box
Last (’23) is not only his most famous film, but the image of
Harold hanging from the clock is one of the most indelible bits of
movie iconography. Also on the program is Lloyd’s high and dizzy
Sunday, October 14
Mabel Normand is the most famous female name in silent comedy, she’s
better remembered for the scandals she was linked to than for her deft
comedic talents and lively screen presence. To highlight both her
dramatic and comic skills we’re presenting The Nickel Hopper
(‘26), followed by her 1921 Goldwyn feature What Happened to Rosa?
Sunday, October 28
"The Cat and the Canary"
Spooks Run Silent!
feature, The Cat
and the Canary (’27), mixes chills with humor for a
tongue-in-cheek whodunit. One of the first of the Universal horror
films, the atmospheric camerawork and set design set the tone for films
such as Dracula (’31) and Frankenstein (’31) that would follow. Our
Gang’s antics open the show in Shootin’ Injuns
Sunday, November 11
2pm (Veterans Day)
Clara Bow in "WINGS"
Honored by the National Film Registry and
celebrating its 80th anniversary this year
Our silent clowns
take a brief break so that we can present the first epic of the air,
which not only won the very first Academy Award for Best Picture, but
was the only silent film to ever do so. Based on director William
Wellman’s own experiences as a flyer in World War I, Wings features
incredible camerawork and action scenes still unrivaled in these days
of modern digital effects.
Sunday, November 18 at
On the bill for our annual
tribute to neglected comics is Mack Sennett in The Would-Be Shriner ('12), She Landed A Big One
('14) with Wallace Beery as "Sweedie," the Three Fatties in ('25), All Tied UpAnything Once
('27) with Mabel Normand, Cliff Bowes in Pep Up ('29),
and bringing up the rear, Lloyd Hamilton in Blazing Away
('28). [note: as these titles are
very rare and hard to access on film, this program will utilize video
Sunday, December 2 at
Roach Comedies of Mr. Laurel
Before his 1927
teaming with Oliver Hardy, Stan Laurel had toiled away for ten years as
a solo comic. A number of those days were spent working at the Hal
Roach studio, and our salute to solo Stan is made up of the early
Rambling Along (’18) and Hustling for Health
(’19), plus a string of 1923 shorts: The Noon Whistle,
Lemons, and Frozen
spring 2007 line-up:
Treasures: silent films listed on the National Film Registry of the
Library of Congress
In 1988 the Library of
Congress established the National Film Preservation Board, which in
turn created the National Film Registry. Every year since then the
Registry has chosen 25 films that fit the criteria of being
“culturally, historically and aesthetically important.” The selectees encompass a wide
range of films – from logical shoo-ins like Citizen Kane ('41) and
Casablanca ('42) to the early sound oddity Gus Visser and his Singing
Duck ('25) – and include a number of silent comedies. This season we’re
taking a look at some of the silents honored, while endeavoring to
bring focus to other deserving comedies and performers that haven’t yet
made the cut.
Sunday, March 11
Our opening program is a
series of comedy shorts that have been deemed national treasures by the
Registry, and we certainly second the motion. The classics getting the
nod are Charlie Chaplin’s The
Immigrant ('17), Fatty’s
Tintype Tangle ('15) with Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, Laurel &
Hardy’s well-known Big Business
('29) and the often over-looked Max Davidson in Pass the Gravy ('28).
Sunday, March 25
The General ('27) is not only
Buster Keaton’s most highly praised and famous film, but was one of his
own personal favorites. So accurate that it looks like Matthew Brady
Civil War photographs come to life, Buster nevertheless made sure that
the film is as funny as it is authentic. Extra-added attraction Cops ('22) has Buster on the lam
from the entire Los Angeles police force.
Sunday, April 15
"The Son of the Sheik"
This week the
clowns take a break, and a silent era idol steams up the screen.
Rudolph Valentino became the romantic movie icon of the early 1920's,
and set the standard of Latin lovers for the rest of the decade.
Tragically dying at age 31, The Son
of the Sheik ('26) was his last film and an ideal showcase for
his screen chemistry. First on the bill is the experimental short film H20 ('29).
Sunday, April 22 at
"Wild and Woolly"
the silent screen’s foremost swashbuckler Douglas Fairbanks was a
popular comedian. Breezy and fast-paced, his comedies spoofed
conventions of the day. The registry-selected Wild and Woolly ('17) takes on the
Horace Greeley ethos of “Go west, young man,” plus the already-set
movie clichés of the Wild West. Opening the program for Doug is
Edwin S. Porter's innovative early western The Great Train Robbery ('03).
Sunday, May 6 at 2pm
Lupino Lane was a huge star of the stage and screen, in addition to
being one of the greatest acrobats ever captured on film. None of his
action-packed comedies, full of funny gags and eye-popping stunts, has
made the registry’s list yet, but here’s a chance to check him out and
write in a nomination. Our L.L. sampler includes Maid in Morocco ('25), Who’s Afraid? (27), Hello Sailor ('27) and Good Night Nurse ('29).
fall/winter 2006 line-up:
Sunday, October 8
The first animated cartoon was
released in 1906, and to celebrate this milestone we have a
selection of early cartoon stars such as Koko the Clown in Koko's Earth Control ('28), Oswald
the Lucky Rabbit in Sick Cylinders ('28),
in Two Lip Time ('26);
live re-creation of Windsor McCay’s Gertie
vaudeville act. Rounding out the bill are the live-action cartoon-style
antics of Ben Turpin in A Clever
Dummy ('17) and It’s A Gift
('23) with Snub Pollard.
Sunday, October 22
Phantom of the Opera" (1925)
Our clowns take a
break for this special Halloween program in which we present the
original 1925 classic. Star Lon Chaney is remembered for his elaborate
make-ups in horror roles such as this and The Hunchback of Notre Dame ('23).
Known as “The Man of a Thousand Faces,” he played everything from
legless gangsters to Chinese laundry men, with an intense dedication
that made him the cinema’s first method actor. Score will be
performed on theatre organ.
|Monday, November 6
"Love 'em and Leave 'em" (1926)
The legendary Louise Brooks
has her own centennial on Nov. 14th, and to mark the occasion we
present her 1926 comedy Love 'Em and
Leave 'Em. Made at Paramount's Astoria Studio (today the
Kaufman-Astoria Studio), Louise plays a girl who “innocently” gets
ahead by dating influential men, including her own sister’s boyfriend.
Also in the cast are Evelyn Brent, Lawrence Gray and Anthony Perkins'
NOTE: this SCFS special event will be held
at the Museum of the City of New York, located at Fifth Ave & 104th
Street, NYC. Visit the MCNY website
for further details. Tickets are $9 for adults and $5 for members.
Sunday, November 12
Forgotten Clowns Ride Again
This salute to
some very funny comics who have gotten lost in the shuffle with the
passage of time is headlined by neglected comedienne Fay Tincher in Ethel’s Roof Party ('14), and Don’t Tell Everything ('27) with
Max Davidson and Spec O’Donnell. Also on the bill: Snub Pollard in Fully Insured ('23), Hop To It! ('25) with Bobby Ray
and Oliver Hardy, Monty Collins in Three
Onions ('28) and Snooky’s
Fresh Heir ('21) starring Snooky the human-zee.
Sunday, December 3
façade falling on Buster Keaton in Steamboat Bill Jr. ('28) is
one of the most recognized and evocative images of silent comedy. But
Buster’s films are filled with similarly amazing “how did he do that”
moments that are as integral a part of his comedy as his famous
deadpan. Special guest speaker Cliff Cronan, a stuntman and Keaton
scholar, will talk about how Buster did what he did, showing clips and
the classic shorts: Convict 13
and The Paleface.
Sunday, December 10
Charming Charley Chase
Charley Chase was
the matinee idol of the silent clowns, whose penchant for embarrassing
situations made him the put upon everyman of the Hal Roach studio.
After many years as one of the era’s most overlooked masters, he’s
gotten some well-deserved attention due to some recent DVD releases.
Our selections (most of which are not available on DVD) take Chase from
his "Jimmy Jump" one-reelers through his peak period of
two-reelers. The program: Hard
Knocks ('24), Stolen Goods
('24), The Rat's Knuckles ('24),
Looking For Sally
('25), Fluttering Hearts
('27), and Limousine Love ('28).
This past spring (February - April 2006) we
A Season of Buster
(with Keaton & Co.)
"The Cameraman" (1928)
starring feature for MGM, THE CAMERAMAN ('28), finds him as a timid New
York City tintype photographer who aspires to be a newsreel man.
Partially shot on location in NYC, there’s great footage of 5th Avenue
and Yankee Stadium. Buster also opens the show with BLUE BLAZES ('36),
one of his talking Educational comedies that was made just across the
river in Astoria, NY.
The Cameraman is
a special program was held at:
The Museum of the City
of New York
1220 Fifth Ave at 103rd St, NYC
for this program only:
film program is free with museum admission – $7 for adults, $5 for
seniors, $15 for a family. All remaning programs in March and
April are presented at the New-York Historical Society. Click on
"theater/tkts" for details.
FOLLOWING PROGRAMS WILL BE PRESENTED AT
NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY -- Central Park West at W. 77th Street
Sunday, March 12 at 2pm
THREE AGES (’23) was Keaton’s
leap from shorts into feature films, and chronicles his misadventures
in the Stone Age, Roman Era and modern day (well...1920's).
Epoch-bending slapstick is explored further by Laurel & Hardy in
FLYING ELEPHANTS ('28) and ROAMING ROMEO ('28) with Lupino Lane and
Sunday, March 26 at 2pm
Buster Keaton and the "Comedy Grapevine"
Ideas never exist
in a vacuum,
particularly in the world of silent comedy. Gags, routines and whole
plots turn up in myriad films, each one given a personal spin by the
comic mind doing the re-using. This program affords the opportunity to
take at look at some of Keaton’s similarities, and differences, with
his contemporaries Billy Bevan, Snub Pollard, and Laurel & Hardy.
compare COPS ('22) with BE REASONABLE ('21), THE GOAT ('21) to PUNCH
THE CLOCK ('22), and ONE WEEK ('20) to THE FINISHING TOUCH ('28).
Sunday, April 9 at 2pm
In 1925 Keaton
wide open spaces in GO WEST where he endured starvation, gamblers and
cattle stampedes, in addition to sharing the screen with his most
photogenic and devoted leading lady – a cow named Brown Eyes. First on
the bill is Buster’s mentor and best friend Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle in
his wild west short FATTY AND MINNIE HEE-HAW ('14)
Sunday, April 30 at 2pm
Buster Keaton Through the Ages
the hardest working of the classic film comedians. He certainly had the
most eclectic career of them all and from his first film appearance in
1917, never stopped working till the day he died in 1966. This
whirlwind tour through Buster's career features THE BALLOONATIC
('23), rarely-screened sound shorts such as ONE RUN ELMER ('36),
later television work from the 50's and 60's, and concludes with his
full color swan song, THE RAILRODDER ('65).