Monday, October 10, 2016

Tidbits for October, 2016

I have accumulated a large collection of tidbits for the month.  Let me not waste time getting to our first item of the day.  It has to do with the legendary and unstoppable mirror routine.

In this first clip, the mirror routine is provided in dance form by Alexandre Desplat's "The Mirror."

Here is proof that the mirror routine appeals to us on the most fundamental level.

Bruce Campbell engages in the mirror routine with a faux shadow on Ash vs. Evil Dead ("Home," 2016).

Like the film series that preceded it, the Evil Dead television series features Campbell performing old-fashioned slapstick comedy.

While browsing through the Cinemagraphe website, I came across this screen capture of Harold Lloyd performing the mirror routine in Marathon (1919). 

I cannot talk about the mirror routine without acknowledging the most famous rendition.

Warren Hymer, Weldon Heyburn and Asta provide food-stuck-on-the-ceiling comedy in Sea Racketeers (1937).  

The clip is from Shiksa Ravelli's Warren Hymer Fan Club page on Facebook. 

I wrote about a sticky collection of pies and pancakes hanging off ceilings in The Funny Parts.  The earliest version of this business that I could find was featured in a 1934 Andy Clyde comedy called In the Dog House

The Three Stooges recreated this gag on three occasions.  First, it turned up in a breakfast scene at the opening of Movie Maniacs (1936).  Curly is having trouble flipping a pancake that has become stuck in the pan.  He applies greater force to jar the pancake loose, but he doesn't notice that he has launched the pancake into the air and it has become stuck to the ceiling. 


The gooey consistency of the pancake fails to provide a secure hold.


A pie replaces a pancake when the Stooges returned to the gag in Half-Wits Holiday (1947).  This time, Moe is trying to make a good impression at a high society party.  He is desperate to get rid of a pie that Curly has stolen off a banquet table.  He tosses away the pie, which becomes stuck to the ceiling.  Footage from this scene was later recycled in Pest Man Wins (1951) and Pies and Guys (1958).

Moe repeats the gag one last time with a pancake in Wham-Bam-Slam! (1955).


I got this great image of Lloyd Hamilton from Ed Watz.

Thank you, Ed.

The following clip was posted to Facebook by Jonathan M. Smith.  It is a faithful rendition of the classic "Crazy House" sketch that was excerpted from a 1951 burlesque revue film called French Follies.

The lead comedian in the scene is Bob Carney.  Twenty years earlier, Carney had been the slim and handsome star of the "Checker Comedies" series for Pathé.

Roddy McDowall takes greed, arrogance and hatred to a parricidal level in Rod Serling's Night Gallery (1969).  The actor is so entertainingly gleeful and flamboyant in his villainy that it would be hard not to be charmed by him.


 The highlight of his performance is the deliciously vindictive way that calls out the name of his disapproving servant Osmond Portifoy.  Each syllable trips off McDowall's tongue with a thick and slick coating of rancid honey.

This video came from a YouTube channel hosted by JGonspy.

I wrote an article five years ago about decapitation comedy.  I regret having overlooked this cringe-worthy act of a mistaken beheading from Blackadder ("The Foretelling," 1983).

Chris Schneider noted after reading my "Reflections in a Soap Bubble" article that soap suds played a role in a couple of Hollywood musical numbers.  First, dancers glide through a mountain of soap suds in the "Beauty" number of Ziegfeld Follies (1946).  The lovely singer is Kathryn Grayson. 

Second, sudsy pink shampoo is on prominent display in the "Think Pink" number of Stanley Donen's Funny Face (1957).

I am always grateful to people who contribute to this site.  Thank you, Chris.

This clip from New Faces of 1937 (1937) features Harry Einstein and Joe Penner.  Penner was a man-child comedian who, both chronologically and stylistically, fell somewhere between Harry Langdon and Lou Costello.


Charles Coburn and Jean Arthur room together during a housing shortage in The More the Merrier (1943).

Meet Eddie Foy Sr. and his family of little vaudeville stars.

Childish dictators Charlie Chaplin and Jack Oakie are about to engage in a food fight in The Great Dictator (1940).

I examine this scene in my comic man-child study I Won't Grow Up!.

On a number of occasions, I have discussed the stock routine of a comedian lifting and carrying an unconscious women.  Take for instance Buster Keaton struggling to lift an unconscious Charlotte Greenwood in Parlor, Bedroom and Bath (1931).

In his later years, Keaton performed this routine on stage with his wife, Eleanor.


Boeing, Boeing (1965) furnished yet another example of the carrying an unconscious woman routine.  The actors are Tony Curtis, Christiane Schmidtmer and Thelma Ritter.

Later, Jerry Lewis becomes involved.

The scene figures into the movie poster except, curiously, the poster shows Schmidtmer wide awake and laughing as Curtis hauls her around.

This photo was posted on Facebook by Cheryl Middleton Peterson.

As silent film comedy fans know, the man in the top hat is comedy star Snub Pollard.  The small boy to the far right is Ernie "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison, who was Pollard's sidekick at the time.

In a number of films, Pollard and Morrison functioned as a finely coordinated comedy team.


You can read more about Morrison at the following links:

A grown-up Morrison is about to be frightened by Bela Lugosi in Ghosts on the Loose (1943).

I wrote about the meat freezer routine in an earlier article.  I have recently come across three other examples of frosty comedians.  First, Harold Lloyd becomes trapped in refrigerated boxcar in Professor Beware (1938).

Then, in The Return of the Pink Panther (1975), Inspector Clouseau's manservant Cato Fong (Burt Kwouk) arranges one of his surprise ninja attacks by hiding in an icy refrigerator.

Steven Martin and John Candy ride in the back of a refrigerated truck in Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987).

A few ice crystals on the face or clothing is always effective.

Julian Barratt in The Mighty Boosh ("Tundra," 2004)

Jimmie Adams has retrieved Ann Christy's new dress from a brawny blacksmith in No Sparking (1927).

Harold Lloyd's clock stunt from Safety Last! (1923) is recreated with Sylvester Stallone to publicize John Landis' 1991 gangster comedy Oscar.

Here we have the original leads of "The Odd Couple" - Art Carney and Walter Matthau.


Shemp Howard is strangely unaware of the gorilla looking over his shoulder.

Marion Davies encounters The Keystone Cops in a 1928 publicity photo.

Eileen Sedgwick was a dauntless heroine in the 1921 serial The Diamond Queen.

Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams and David Zucker were great at highlighting the absurdities of popular entertainment.

The Egg Trick

The Big Phone

As I pointed out in a recent article, eggs are always good for a laugh.

Let us end today with a photo of a bathing beauty.

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