Mack Sennett's Fun Factory blog

Interact with your favorite SCM authors, producers, directors, historians, archivists and silent comedy savants. Or just read along. Whatever.
Brent Walker
Capo
Posts: 150
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:06 am

Re: Mack Sennett's Fun Factory blog

Postby Brent Walker » Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:19 pm

Richard Finegan wrote:
Brent Walker wrote:[
Roscoe Arbuckle was understandably not very fond of becoming famous under that professional name, nor--I'm sure--were Frank "Fatty" Alexander, Hilliard" Fat" Karr, and others, nor was Willie Best likely fond of being billed as "Sleep N Eat."
Brent


Speaking of Willie Best I noticed that in GENERAL SPANKY's end cast list he is billed as William Best. Now THERE'S respect he didn't often receive.


That is a nice amount of respect for Mr. Best! Definitely more respect that he got from Bob Hope in THE GHOST BREAKERS. I'm a big fan of Hope's films, and of GHOST BREAKERS, but in that one particularly (and Willie did several with Bob) Hope seems to go out of his way to be nasty to Willie. I do remember watching him in the Monogram film FACE OF MARBLE as a kid, and being struck by how he's allowed to be "smart enough" to be the one person who figures out the mystery (which I forget all these years later), though I think he gets left in an unresolved predicament at the end, "for laughs."

Agnes McFadden
Cugine
Posts: 70
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2009 11:51 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA (Western Suburbs)

Re: Mack Sennett's Fun Factory blog

Postby Agnes McFadden » Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:40 pm

I also assumed that David meant that the "F" work for Arbuckle was "Fatty".

I do think that there is a real difference between Keaton listing himself as "Buster", and Arbuckle having his character called "Fatty" by the studio, and then eventually being identified himself as that character. The other examples, of course, were derogatory.

One problem is that if you just say "Roscoe Arbuckle", so many folks (exempting us diehards) would know who you were speaking of. It sounds like you struck a perfect balance.

Also, the "Where's Charley" probably indicates that he was looking for more of the short stint done by Chaplin at Keystone than may have been listed in your book.

I look forward to reading the book myself.
Agnes McFadden

David B Pearson
Capo
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 2:15 pm

Re: Mack Sennett's Fun Factory blog

Postby David B Pearson » Mon Mar 01, 2010 8:53 am

Brent Walker wrote:
Richard Finegan wrote:
Brent Walker wrote:
Roscoe Arbuckle was understandably not very fond of becoming famous under that professional name, nor--I'm sure--were Frank "Fatty" Alexander, Hilliard" Fat" Karr, and others, nor was Willie Best likely fond of being billed as "Sleep N Eat." But the fact is, he was billed under the name Fatty Arbuckle...

Brent



Actually, "Fatty" Arbuckle would have been factually correct, not Fatty Arbuckle. I don't think anybody thought Fatty was really his first name. Note that even 'Sipping Cider Thru' a Straw (Thipping Thider Thru' a Thtraw) got that one right.

And away from Sennett, especially at Paramount, he was always billed as Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle.

But then nobody is perfect. My memory regarding living people is lousy. I contacted Brent on Facebook thinking he was Bret Wood. And I'm the type who looks for mistakes in greeting cards.

Also found three or four minor bugs in Keystone bios (part III) of the book -- and I do not even want to touch the Harold Lloyd in Hogan's Romance Upset debate that the book will start -- but as I said, "HOLY CRAP, this book is good!" and that is the position I will maintain when I review it for The Keaton Chronicle.
Last edited by David B Pearson on Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

David B Pearson
Capo
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 2:15 pm

Re: Mack Sennett's Fun Factory blog

Postby David B Pearson » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:51 am

Agnes McFadden wrote:I also assumed that David meant that the "F" work for Arbuckle was "Fatty".

Also, the "Where's Charley" probably indicates that he was looking for more of the short stint done by Chaplin at Keystone than may have been listed in your book.


Charley is some other comedian working at Keystone!

But yeah, I do think Charles Spencer Chaplin gets short changed in the book. Certainly in the history and bio sections anyway. It's easy to understand why that happens though. Glen Mitchell's Silent Comedy book makes the same overcompensation. It's not like anybody getting the book doesn't already have one or two or 20 Chaplin books already that cover that 10 month stint. Nevertheless, Chaplin certainly had a huge impact, (even while still on the lot) and even Charlie's toughest critics would concede the man deserved more than one photo -- which he shares with Conklin -- out of the 280 images presented in the book, especially when Arbuckle, Swain, Turpin, Langdon, Bevan, and most every other comic on the lot get such superb photo coverage. Heck, Mary Ann Jackson get shown to better advantage than does CC.

Did I mention I think this book is absolutely splendid?
(Imagine if I hated it)

Brent Walker
Capo
Posts: 150
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:06 am

Re: Mack Sennett's Fun Factory blog

Postby Brent Walker » Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:37 pm

David, I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed the book. But I did want to say, regarding Chaplin's coverage in the biography section (which I also stated in the introduction to that chapter) the reason I had shorter bios for well-documented people like Chaplin, Fields and Crosby, was due to the fact they already had (particularly in Chaplin's case) so many detailed books about their lives--and many of the other people covered in the book were getting the first and only biography they'll likely ever have in print.

As for the the history section though, in the Keystone-Mutual chapter, I think Chaplin's films get a lot of coverage. I include a lot of details about the production and events behind a number of Chaplin Keystone films such as GENTLEMEN OF NERVE, A BUSY DAY, MABEL'S BUSY DAY and MABEL AT THE WHEEL, which have never published in any Chaplin book (or any book at all) before. And in the filmography, there are many performer credits for Keystone Chaplin films that have never been discovered or documented before--or even discussed on silent comedy or Chaplin forums. One drawback with such a big book is that there are "mini-books" inside of the book that aren't publicized or documented as such, and probably could have been "parted out" as individual books. For instance, my book has what I think is the most complete Chaplin Keystone filmography ever published. I probably could have extracted just that information and published a book titled "Charlie Chaplin at Keystone"--but that wasn't my goal. Also, as you surmised, I didn't want to make the book even larger by reprinting a lot of stuff about Chaplin that has already been covered in other books, such as David Robinson's.

As for stills, I honestly didn't have any Chaplin Keystone stills in my collection until I got the one that I used (which was from a frame blow up--which in general I tried to avoid using but is just so hard to find non-blow-up Chaplin Keystone stills that haven't been published many times). But again, so many books have included so many stills of Chaplin in Keystone films versus stills of anyone else at Keystone, that I felt the other people deserve some face time. I actually have more regrets that I wasn't able to include stills that contained a few people I wasn't able to depict, such as Rube Miller. You already said it eloquently in your post, but besides the one or two or 20 Chaplin books in everyone's collection, there will probably be 10-20 new Chaplin books still forthcoming in future years before the first book is published on the life of Mack Swain, Chester Conklin, or Billy Bevan. Heck, we're still waiting for the first "real" Roscoe Arbuckle book (which I know some folks on this list--not me--are more than qualified to write). I probably could have written another book on Mack Sennett's studio that was all about Chaplin, Langdon, Normand, Arbuckle, Swanson, Fields, and the other "greats," in the process sacrificing information on the "little people," and I probably would have a more mainstream book that would be a much bigger seller. But I guess like Rick in CASABLANCA I'm attracted to fighting for "lost causes"--and my main goal in writing this book was in bringing some notice to the unsung or little-sung people.

By the way, ironically after the book was printed, I discovered that I actually may have a never-before-published photo of Chaplin in the book. On p. 54, in the still from the Keystone 1915 barbecue, I believe it may be Chaplin sitting at the second table back, facing the camera at the very left of his row, in a white shirt and a striped tie. His hands are in front of him and he appears to be chewing, which makes his face a bit distorted. (Chaplin was at the event--see the text on that page and the next.) Joe Bordeaux also appears to be sitting at the same table on the opposite side, with his cheek full of food two people to the left of Roscoe Arbuckle (and yes, I did call him that in the caption). Clarence Badger may be to the left of Bordeaux, Slim Summerville to the right and Phyllis Allen directly across from him.

Brent

David B Pearson wrote:
Agnes McFadden wrote:I also assumed that David meant that the "F" work for Arbuckle was "Fatty".

Also, the "Where's Charley" probably indicates that he was looking for more of the short stint done by Chaplin at Keystone than may have been listed in your book.


Charley is some other comedian working at Keystone!

But yeah, I do think Charles Spencer Chaplin gets short changed in the book. Certainly in the history and bio sections anyway. It's easy to understand why that happens though. Glen Mitchell's Silent Comedy book makes the same overcompensation. It's not like anybody getting the book doesn't already have one or two or 20 Chaplin books already that cover that 10 month stint. Nevertheless, Chaplin certainly had a huge impact, (even while still on the lot) and even Charlie's toughest critics would concede the man deserved more than one photo -- which he shares with Conklin -- out of the 280 images presented in the book, especially when Arbuckle, Swain, Turpin, Langdon, Bevan, and most every other comic on the lot get such superb photo coverage. Heck, Mary Ann Jackson get shown to better advantage than does CC.

Did I mention I think this book is absolutely splendid?
(Imagine if I hated it)

Paul E. Gierucki
Godfather
Posts: 238
Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 4:23 pm

Re: Mack Sennett's Fun Factory blog

Postby Paul E. Gierucki » Mon Mar 01, 2010 6:48 pm

"Heck, we're still waiting for the first "real" Roscoe Arbuckle book"

Still working on it. In fact, I have finally uncovered some production details which have eluded me for the last ten years. There are two more mysteries to solve (both of which involve photographs from Arbuckle's scrapbook) and then I'll be ready to call it a day.

Bringing this back on topic, I just wanted to say that Brent's book is REQUIRED reading for all mafiosa. Beg, borrow, steal if you must, but get yourself a copy. We must always support great efforts such as this, particularly so when it is something from one of our own. Never go against the family...

Louie Despres
Associate
Posts: 335
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:31 pm
Contact:

Re: Mack Sennett's Fun Factory blog

Postby Louie Despres » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:53 pm

Paul E. Gierucki wrote: There are two more mysteries to solve (both of which involve photographs from Arbuckle's scrapbook) and then I'll be ready to call it a day.


Anything we can help you with on here?

Paul E. Gierucki
Godfather
Posts: 238
Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 4:23 pm

Re: Mack Sennett's Fun Factory blog

Postby Paul E. Gierucki » Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:05 pm

Actually, there are a few small things with which I could use some help. I do not want to hijack this thread so I'll start another.

-- PG

David B Pearson
Capo
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 2:15 pm

Re: Mack Sennett's Fun Factory blog

Postby David B Pearson » Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:03 am

Paul E. Gierucki wrote:"Heck, we're still waiting for the first "real" Roscoe Arbuckle book"
Bringing this back on topic, I just wanted to say that Brent's book is REQUIRED reading for all mafiosa. Beg, borrow, steal if you must, but get yourself a copy. We must always support great efforts such as this, particularly so when it is something from one of our own. Never go against the family...


Yup, nobody wants to be a Fredo.

The filmography research for this book is both staggering and peerless.
The history research is superlative, and conclusions well considered.
The biographic material rivals Glenn Mitchell's encyclopedia, which I consider to be the standard bearer.
As Brett said, its several comedy books in one... and one is tempted to compare it on the same scale in the silent comedy research field as Lord of the Rings is to fantasy fiction.

So my small criticisms here should be taken with heaping shovels of salt.
I'm simply trying to establish in my mind that Brett isn't a GOD, so I don't go all gushy over the book when its reviewed.

Richard Finegan
Associate
Posts: 71
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2010 6:01 am

Re: Mack Sennett's Fun Factory blog

Postby Richard Finegan » Tue Mar 02, 2010 4:03 pm

Brent Walker wrote:By the way, ironically after the book was printed, I discovered that I actually may have a never-before-published photo of Chaplin in the book. On p. 54...... Clarence Badger may be to the left of Bordeaux, Slim Summerville to the right and Phyllis Allen directly across from him.

Brent



Regarding Mr. Summerville:
Is it okay to call him Slim?


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests