The first serious study of one of America's earliest motion picture comedians, later one of the most popular actors of the silent screen, and the worlds greatest cock-eyed mirthmaker, Ben Turpin.
This book is the result of over forty years of researching and collecting anything and everything on this legendary - though sadly forgotten - comic.
Never has such a wealth of information been assembled on one of the most respected comedians of his day, and this book, many are sure to agree, is too long overdue.
Leaving no stone unturned - from old magazines and newspapers, to genealogy records, to business associates and family descendants - the author makes this the most complete reference book on the life, career and the films of Ben Turpin, and the most complete appreciation ever.
Illustrated with hundreds of rare photos, many never-before-seen, most from the author's long-time personal collection, this book will prove indispensible to anyone and everyone interested in movie comedy and film history.
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Written by long-time friend of SilentHollywood.com - Steve Rydzewski. Congratulations Steve - We are proud of you!
Written by long-time friend of SilentHollywood.com - Steve Massa. Congratulations Steve - We are proud of you!
Silent Film Comedy was a fortuitous combination of art and technology, where the physical comedy skills and artistry passed down from the Commedia dell'Arte, English music hall, and American vaudeville were captured for posterity by the newly created motion picture camera. While the Chaplins, Keatons, and Laurel & Hardys are still remembered and celebrated, this book profiles unsung practitioners such as Billie Ritchie, Marcel Perez, Lige Conley, and George Rowe, with special focus on the neglected comediennes Alice Howell, Gale Henry, Fay Tincher, and Josie Sadler. Popular icons on the order of Mack Sennett, Marie Dressler, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, and W.C. Fields are re-examined, plus detailed histories of silent comedy teams and kid's comedies are offered. The book also includes selected filmographies and is lavishly illustrated with more than 225 rarely-seen photographs and advertising images. Steve Massa is a leading enthusiast of silent comedy, who has devoted 45 years to researching the genre. A librarian in the Billy Rose Theatre Collection at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, he has organized comedy film programs for the Museum of Modern Art, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Pordenone Silent Film Festival. In addition to consulting with the Eye Film Institute, Netherlands and other archives, and writing for film journals such as Griffithiana, he is a founding member of Silent Cinema Presentations which produces NYC's Silent Clown Film Series. Steve has also contributed articles and commentary tracks to many comedy DVD collections such as The Forgotten Films of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, Becoming Charley Chase, and Kino Video's Buster Keaton: The Short Films Collection.