Sunday, June 19, 2011

Phil attends COMEDY SHORTS NIGHT at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum-June 18, 2011

It's that time of the month where comedy rules! Yup, it was back to the Edison Theater in Niles, home of the world famous Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum for their monthly Comedy Shorts Night. And yours truly got a belly ache from laughing so much!

Theatrical Movie Poster (1917)
First film up was EASY STREET, a classic film from Charlie Chaplin. Our Tramp wanders into a mission, falls for the lovely Edna Purviance, and walks out a reformed man. He quickly joins the police force, and is assigned to patrol Easy Street, the toughest street in town, ruled by Eric Campbell. This is a perfect example of Chaplin's talents. When we see the Tramp, he's homeless and pathetic, and we already feel sorry for him. Then when becomes a police officer, we are happy for. And when he encounters Eric, we laugh hysterically, as well as cheer for him. Both Purviance and Campbell were also great in the film as well. The film was written and directed by Chaplin, and was released by Mutual Film Company (the company he signed on with after leaving Essanay at the end of 1915) on January 22, 1917. A must see short film for any and all Chaplin fans!

Original Lobby Card (1926)
The second film was MUM'S THE WORD, starring funny man Charley Chase. In this film, Chase returns home to visit his mother (Virginia Pearson), but she hasn't yet told her new husband (Anders Randolf) about him yet. So Charley's mom introduces him as the new valet, and fall for their new maid (Martha Sleeper). Soon it's off the wall comedy, with a hilarious hallway gag that is just fantastic. The film was directed by Leo McCarey (who directed several of Chase's short films) for Hal Roach Studios and was released to theaters on May 9, 1926. Charley Chase is a comedian that's worth rediscovering again!

Theatrical Movie Poster (1922)
After a short intermission, the show continued with a classic Buster Keaton film. COPS is a funny, funny, funny film! In a series of mishaps that plague our poor Buster, it all ends with him being chased by every single policemen in town! And I mean EVERY policemen!! The film also boasts appearances by Joe Roberts, Virginia Fox, and Edward F. Cline as a hobo. The film was written and directed by Keaton as well as Cline. It was produced by Joseph M. Schenck Productions and released by First National in March of 1922.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1928)
The final film of the night starred Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Yup, the boys returned in LEAVE 'EM LAUGHING. Poor Stan is having one bad tooth ache, which keeps Ollie up all night. The next day it's off to the dentist, and that's where the fun begins! Once again, look for their staple actor Edgar Kennedy as the traffic cop. The film was directed by Clyde Bruckman, who directed several Laurel and Hardy shorts, produced by Hal Roach Studios, and released on January 28, 1928 by MGM.

Again, another sold out crowd! Another great show! And it'll be back again next month! So start planning for next month's Comedy Shorts Night. However, next weekend is the 14th Annual Broncho Billy Silent Film Festival. From Friday, June 24 - Sunday, June 26, it will be the silent film event that fans have been waiting for year after year after year. This year's themes are Keystone Laughter 101 and Action Women in films! If you have never been to a Broncho Billy Film Festival, you are missing out! Due yourself a favor and mark you calender for this very important event!! Like I said, there are plenty of events happening at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum. Come on out and join in on the fun!!

To learn more about the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, on how to become a member, and to view their film schedule, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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