Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Phil attends COMEDY NIGHT at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum-July 21, 2012

It didn't me very long to wanting to see a silent movie, since I had just seen roughly 16 silent films two weekends ago at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival at the Castro Theatre! But tonight was a special night, for tonight was Comedy Shorts Night at the Edison Theatre, home of the Essanay Silent Film Museum. After having dinner at Broncho Billy's Pizza Palace, I headed on over to the museum for a night of laughter! On the piano for tonight's show was the great  Greg Pane!

Charlie Chaplin
THE RINK (1916): Starring Charlie Chaplin, Edna Purviance, and Eric Campbell. Chaplin works as a waiter in a restaurant, where some humorous shenanigans take place. Later on his lunch break, the little Tramp heads for the rink to do some rollerskating, which really must be seen to believe. Chaplin is just amazing on rollerskates, and are some of the funniest scenes of the film.

Also known as Rolling Around, the film is yet another example of Chaplin's comedic genius, and it also adds to his rich legacy. One of my all-time favorites, this is a short that should be required viewing for all Chaplin fans. The funny two-reeler film was released by the Mutual Film Company on December 4, 1916.

Buster Keaton
THE HIGH SIGN (1921): Starring Buster Keaton, Bartine Burkett, and Ingram B. Pickett. Keaton gets thrown off a train in a nameless town. He finds works at a shooting gallery owned by a guy named Tiny Tim, who's actually about seven feet tall! But the gallery is front for a vicious mob called the Blinking Buzzards. Buster gets ordered to kill a wealthy businessman, but instead he protects him and his lovely daughter by tricking out their home into a hilarious hidden passages.

This was Keaton's first independent two-reeler film, but thought it wasn't funny enough and had it shelved after its completion in 1920. However when he broke his leg later that year and couldn't work, he had the film released a year later. The film was released Joseph M. Schenck Productions on April 18, 1921.

After a brief intermission, the show continued with:

Charley Chase
DOG SHY (1926): Starring Charley Chase, Mildred June, Stuart Holmes, and Buddy the Dog. The film's about our friend Charley, who starts off being chase by a dog, which winds up with him becoming a butler at a rich family's mansion, which he falls in love with their daughter, even though she's supposed to marry a stuffy aristocrat. There's also a robbery that he foils and he and his female companion live happily ever after. Oh and she has a dog too. Very funny stuff!

Chase started off in vaudeville before being hired by Mack Sennett to work for him at Keystone Studios. After making a number of films there, in 1920 he began working as a film director for Hal Roach Studios. He soon graduated to starring in his own series of comedy shorts. The film was produced by Hal Roach Studios and released by MGM to theaters on April 4, 1926.

Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy
DOUBLE WHOOPEE (1929): Starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. The boys cause havoc at a ritzy hotel as their footman and doorman. Needless to say, hilarious hijinks ensue! Accidentally undressing a sexy blonde guest (the legendary Jean Harlow!) and repeatedly escorting a Prussian guest into an empty elevator shaft. A classic short film from this funny duo!

Both Laurel and Hardy had successful solo careers before Hal Roach put them together in one of his films. The rest as they say, is comedy history. The film was produced by Hal Roach Studios and released by MGM on May 18, 1929.

Another great sold out crowd at the Edison Theatre! Remember the museum is open for tours every weekend from 12pm-4pm and every Saturday night there's a silent film show starting at 7:30 (doors open at 7pm). So if you would like to learn more about the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, becoming a member, and to view their film schedule, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

No comments:

Post a Comment