Friday, October 25, 2013

I Take My Hat and I Bid You Adieu!


I bring you another hodgepodge today.  I hope that you enjoy it.

Let us start with the legendary, one-and-only Shemp Howard, who performs the hat mix-up routine in this scene from A Hit with a Miss (1945).

I identified a number of cutaway sets in a recent article, but I have now found a cutaway set that predated all of those other ones.  The set was designed by innovative French director Maurice Tourneur for the crime drama The Hand of Peril (1916).

It is always interesting to see a writer try to freshen up an old idea.  The man slipping on a banana peel was already an old joke by 1907.  So, a writer got the idea to change the joke by replacing the banana peel with the peel from another sort of fruit.  The result was a 1907 British film called The Orange Peel, which not surprisingly involved people slipping on a boy's discarded bits of orange peel.

This scene from Adventure Time includes a more imaginative variation of the banana peel gag.

I love these stills from the 1915 film adaptation of Alice in Wonderland


The film does not suffer from the CGI bloat of the recent adaptation.  Essentially, Wonderland is trees, a fountain, and midgets in Mardi Gras heads.

A good Murphy bed gag will always get a smile out of me.

Here we have a portrait of Charlie Chaplin and Harry Lauder.

I once had a girlfriend who hated silent comedy films because she thought that the exaggerated make-up made the characters look like ghouls.  This photo would no doubt support her argument. 

That guy looks like something out of Insidious.

 This photo of Victor Potel and Wan Duffy isn't much better.

The steely-eyed gunfighter was already a cliché ripe for lampooning when Snub Pollard appeared as a steely-eyed western sheriff in Before the Public (1923).

Now, let's see how Ennio Morricone's music from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly works with Before the Public.

The ten-cent Chaplin outfit that was offered in this advertisement consisted of a moustache ("made of real hair"), a gold tooth that could slip over your real tooth, a roll of stage money, an "Ish Ka Bibble" button, and a coin vanishing magic trick ("The Great Chaplin Coin Vanisher"). 

Other than the moustache, I don't know what any of this has to do with Chaplin.  Chaplin's tramp often smiled when his heart was breaking, but he never smiled and showed off a gold tooth.  But I suppose Chaplin impersonation contests were big at the time and maybe you could impress the judges by showing them you could make a coin disappear.

Impersonation contests also cropped up around another comedy sensation, Harold Lloyd.

This is an interesting ad, too.

Well, that's it for today.  Safe driving, my friends.

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