The Funny Men: Part 1 

A look at the stars of the early years of American slapstick, with a special emphasis on Mack Sennett's productions, from the Keystone Kops era into the talkies of the 1930's. Also, footage... See full summary »

Director:

Jack Haley Jr.

Writer:

Irwin Rosten
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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Fred Allen ... Himself (archive footage)
Gracie Allen ... Herself (archive footage)
Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle ... Himself (archive footage)
Wallace Beery ... Himself (archive footage)
Joe E. Brown ... Himself (archive footage)
George Burns ... Himself (archive footage)
Joseph Cotten ... Narrator
Bing Crosby ... Himself (archive footage)
Jimmy Durante ... Himself (archive footage)
Louise Fazenda ... Herself (archive footage)
W.C. Fields ... Himself (archive footage)
James Finlayson ... Himself (archive footage)
Lloyd Hamilton ... Himself (archive footage)
Harry Langdon ... Himself (archive footage)
Carole Lombard ... Herself (archive footage)
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Storyline

A look at the stars of the early years of American slapstick, with a special emphasis on Mack Sennett's productions, from the Keystone Kops era into the talkies of the 1930's. Also, footage from Keaton's Cops (1922) and Fields' The Barbershop (1933), an a mad montage of Sennett's famous chase sequences. Written by WesternOne

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Details

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 November 1963 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Pretty good although limited to what was in the public domain at the time
30 June 2016 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

This tribute to Hollywood comedians hosted by Joseph Cotton was mostly unsurprising but not badly done considering the date. I would not rate it as highly as the contemporary compilation films of Robert Youngson (The Golden Age Of Comedy, When Comedy Was King). It showed public domain silent footage of Chaplin, Keaton, Langdon, and various other silent clowns, paying special attention to Mack Sennett.

If Hal Roach was mentioned I missed it, and I don't think there was even a still photo of Laurel & Hardy. I guess producer David Wolper was taking no chances with usage rights. The Harold Lloyd footage was of the building climb - but from Feet First instead of Safety Last. Cotton also mentioned Lloyd's two compilation films. This may have have been Lloyd's price for permitting use of the footage.

There were a few clips from public domain talkies, such as the Sennett Fields shorts, as well as newsreel footage of sound stars such as Bob Hope and Martin & Lewis. Obviously there were rights problems for the sound era.

There were a couple of intriguing things: This may have been the first time the City Lights rehearsal-on-camera footage was ever seen publicly (you can see some in the much later Unknown Chaplin series), and if I'm not mistaken the man in a short clip from an early Fred Allen short was none other than an unrecognizable Clifton Webb sans mustache. Straight man, indeed.

There was one great moment when Joseph Cotton appears on camera to deliver an erudite, scholarly dissertation on Freud's analysis of humor - and receives a pie in the face.


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