When Comedy Was King (1960)

81 or 90 mins | Comedy | March 1960

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HISTORY

Robert Youngson's onscreen credit reads: "produced and written by." The entire film consists of edited clips from silent comedies. Youngson provides an offscreen narration throughout the picture. As noted in Youngson's narration, Leo McCarey directed and George Stevens photographed the Big Business short starring Laurel and Hardy, and Frank Capra wrote the sequence with Billy Bevan and the automobiles.
       According to modern sources, clips from the following shorts, among others, were included in the film: the 1914 Keystone-Mutual production The Masquerader, starring Charlie Chaplin; His Tysting Place, a 1914 Keystone-Mutual film starring Mabel Normand, Chaplin and Mack Swain; Fatty and Mabel Adrift, a 1916 Keystone Triangle production starring Normand and Fatty Arbuckle; and Teddy at the Throttle, a 1917 Keystone-Triangle Production starring Gloria Swanson and Wallace Beery. When Comedy Was King was produced as a follow-up to the 1958 film The Golden Age of Comedy (see above), which Youngson also ... More Less

Robert Youngson's onscreen credit reads: "produced and written by." The entire film consists of edited clips from silent comedies. Youngson provides an offscreen narration throughout the picture. As noted in Youngson's narration, Leo McCarey directed and George Stevens photographed the Big Business short starring Laurel and Hardy, and Frank Capra wrote the sequence with Billy Bevan and the automobiles.
       According to modern sources, clips from the following shorts, among others, were included in the film: the 1914 Keystone-Mutual production The Masquerader, starring Charlie Chaplin; His Tysting Place, a 1914 Keystone-Mutual film starring Mabel Normand, Chaplin and Mack Swain; Fatty and Mabel Adrift, a 1916 Keystone Triangle production starring Normand and Fatty Arbuckle; and Teddy at the Throttle, a 1917 Keystone-Triangle Production starring Gloria Swanson and Wallace Beery. When Comedy Was King was produced as a follow-up to the 1958 film The Golden Age of Comedy (see above), which Youngson also produced. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
7 Mar 1960.
---
Daily Variety
29 Feb 60
p. 3.
Film Daily
29 Feb 60
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Feb 60
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
5 Mar 60
p. 612.
New York Times
30 Mar 60
p. 42.
Variety
2 Mar 60
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Robert Youngson Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Asst prod
Asst prod
WRITER
MUSIC
Mus
Orch
Orch cond
Mus supv
Mus supv
SOUND
Sd eff
VISUAL EFFECTS
Opt eff
Opt eff
PRODUCTION MISC
Film quality control
DETAILS
Release Date:
March 1960
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 29 March 1960
Copyright Claimant:
Ro-Co Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
31 December 1959
Copyright Number:
LP15646
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
1.66:1
Duration(in mins):
81 or 90
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
19179
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In a series of silent vignettes scenes from the movies of the teens and 1920s are presented: As comedian Charley Chase and his family disrupt an entire movie audience with their unruly antics, an offscreen narrator explains that this scene was typical in neighborhood theaters in the 1920s, when silent comedy was king. The scene shifts to 1914 at the Keystone Studios, where Charlie Chaplin is just launching his career as "The Tramp." After a domestic squabble with his wife, played by Mabel Normand, Charlie encounters Mack Swain at a diner, and the two become embroiled in a food fight that culminates with a pie in the face. In a 1916 short, Mabel and Fatty Arbuckle star as newlyweds whose marital bliss is imperiled by Mabel's jilted suitor, Al St. John. During a storm, Al shoves the sleeping sweethearts' cottage out to sea. Awakening to water lapping at her feet, Mabel sends her loyal dog to summon help and rescue them. In 1917, Wallace Beery portrays Gloria Swanson's evil guardian who chains her to the railroad tracks, where she is rescued from an onrushing train by her beau, Bobby Vernon, and Teddy, the Keystone dog. In 1924, Harry Langdon and Alice Day appear as newlyweds whose domesticity is shattered by the arrival of a burly cook named Annie. After Annie quits in disgust, she is replaced by the glamorous Fifi Le Fluff, who arouses Alice's jealousy. All ends happily, however, when on a stormy night, Fifi, an undercover secret service agent, unmasks Harry's boyhood friend as an international criminal. In a 1923 Hal Roach short, Snub Pollard is the madcap ... +


In a series of silent vignettes scenes from the movies of the teens and 1920s are presented: As comedian Charley Chase and his family disrupt an entire movie audience with their unruly antics, an offscreen narrator explains that this scene was typical in neighborhood theaters in the 1920s, when silent comedy was king. The scene shifts to 1914 at the Keystone Studios, where Charlie Chaplin is just launching his career as "The Tramp." After a domestic squabble with his wife, played by Mabel Normand, Charlie encounters Mack Swain at a diner, and the two become embroiled in a food fight that culminates with a pie in the face. In a 1916 short, Mabel and Fatty Arbuckle star as newlyweds whose marital bliss is imperiled by Mabel's jilted suitor, Al St. John. During a storm, Al shoves the sleeping sweethearts' cottage out to sea. Awakening to water lapping at her feet, Mabel sends her loyal dog to summon help and rescue them. In 1917, Wallace Beery portrays Gloria Swanson's evil guardian who chains her to the railroad tracks, where she is rescued from an onrushing train by her beau, Bobby Vernon, and Teddy, the Keystone dog. In 1924, Harry Langdon and Alice Day appear as newlyweds whose domesticity is shattered by the arrival of a burly cook named Annie. After Annie quits in disgust, she is replaced by the glamorous Fifi Le Fluff, who arouses Alice's jealousy. All ends happily, however, when on a stormy night, Fifi, an undercover secret service agent, unmasks Harry's boyhood friend as an international criminal. In a 1923 Hal Roach short, Snub Pollard is the madcap inventor of the "magnet car," a car that propels itself with a big magnet. In 1928, Stuart Erwin and Edgar Kennedy appear as a couple of guys in search of an ice cream cone while being harassed by a traffic cop. Next, Buster Keaton, known as "the great stone face," portrays a moving man who innocently disrupts the annual police parade, thus making himself the target of a chase by the entire police department. A 1924 short shows Ben Turpin traveling through the frozen north, where he encounters Mack Sennett's Bathing Beauties emerging from their igloos. In a scene written by Frank Capra, Billy Bevan propels a column of automobiles over a sand dune. The film ends with the 1929 short Big Business , in which Leo McCarey directs Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy as Christmas tree salesmen, who try to pitch a tree in the middle of summer to impatient home owner Jimmy Finlayson. The transaction slowly escalates into warfare as Finlayson angrily dismantles Laurel and Hardy's car and they retaliate by vandalizing his house. After taking notes on the entire incident, a police officer intervenes, and they all tearfully shake hands. Laurel presents Finlayson with a cigar, and after he and Hardy run off, Finlayson lights the cigar, which then explodes in his face. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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