Wednesday, June 30, 2010


When summer comes there are only 2 things I try to do, stay cool by drinking sangria and work my way down to Rosslyn, Virginia (just over the river from Washington, DC) for the annual SLAPSTICON film festival! After a year's hiatus (the theater was under renovation) the show is back and bigger than ever and will run from Thursday July 15th until Sunday the 18th. I already posted about the lost Charlie Chaplin film "A Thief Catcher" that will make its premier on Saturday night at 8PM, but there is a whole host of other films to keep you cracking up all weekend.

frame grab from "A Thief Catcher" with a cameo by Charlie Chaplin

Personally, I am excited not only the Chaplin rediscovery, but finally being able to see a Clark & McCullough short with an audience as they are running their 1934 flick "In A Pig's Eye". I am a big fan of this duo's work but they are usually maligned by critics who shouldn't take themselves SOOOOOO seriously and miss out on having a good time; THEY'RE FUNNY PEOPLE!!! Also, I'm pretty amped up by the showing of a 35mm print of Abbott & Costello's "Africa Screams". This one has been languishing in Public Domain hell for a number of years so having a chance to see a sharp print, I'm assured I'll be in my seat for this one! Even though this isn't their best film, it's a real good one that moves along pretty quickly and probably one of the pair's first I remember seeing (along with "Buck Privates") when I was a youngster watching old films on Saturday morning TV with my Grandmother.

Many other comedy stars and forgotten heroes will be shown during the four days including films by Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, Charley Chase, Harold Lloyd, Harry Langdon, Snub Pollard, Ben Turpin, Andy Clyde, Lupino Lane, Thelma Todd, etc., etc., etc., including at least one by everyone's favorite pains, Ham & Bud! One of the aspects of Slapsticon I love is there are many instances where the organizers will just throw in an unlisted short just for the hell of it, so just when you think the scheduled program is over, the lights will stay down and another hilarious rarity will be run.

Click HERE to see the schedule of films and I hope to see you at the theater and laugh out loud right along with you!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lost Chaplin film found!

The intranets are a funny thing. Here we have everyone going nuts over these 75 films from New Zealand that are coming back to the United States to be preserved. Not to diminish the importance of the that "find" but looking at the list of of what survived, I can't think of one film personally that I am DYING to see (OK, maybe Mabel Normand's "Won In A Cupboard") and it seems the majority of the media is overlooking what is perhaps one of the greatest lost film discoveries of all time.

Announced last week was the unearthing of Charlie Chaplin's 36th Keystone short, "A Thief Catcher". The film was found by collector, historian, preservationist, (I'm sure you could throw a couple more in there somewhere)and all around great guy, Paul Gierucki, current head of restorations for CineMuseum LLC, but you may know him as the guy from Laughsmith Entertainment who put out the WONDERFUL and MUST HAVE DVD sets "The Forgotten Films of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle" and "Industrial Strength Keaton".

I got a chance to see and talk with Paul at Cinefest this past March and when told me that he had, "a discovery that was going to change all the history books", I certainly wasn't expecting something like this!

A press release from historian Richard M. Roberts and posted over at gives some background on the film:

Chaplin had recalled in his own autobiography that apart from his starring role Keystone Comedies, he had also played bit parts as a Keystone Kop in several pictures. Despite this information, the titles of these works remained elusive for over 90 years and no film prints have surfaced -- until now. SLAPSTICON 2010 proudly presents one of those previously thought lost Keystone comedies, A THIEF CATCHER, released by the Mutual Film Corporation on February 19, 1914. The short stars Ford Sterling, Mack Swain, Edgar Kennedy, and features Chaplin making an extended and very funny cameo as a policeman. The film was shot January 5th through January 26th, 1914, making it perhaps the second or third film Chaplin made at Keystone. The short was released following Chaplin’s third starring Keystone comedy MABELS STRANGE PREDICAMENT. Its importance as an early Chaplin appearance cannot be underestimated, and definitely adds another interesting chapter to Chaplin’s early film career.

Here is a frame grab, graciously permitted to be shown by Mr. Gierucki:

As stated earlier, the film will be shown at the Slapsticon Film Festival this July 15th-18th in Rosslyn, Virginia and will certainly be the highlight of a weekend jam packed with other rarities probably not shown publicly since their original release, including stars like Abbott and Costello, Charley Chase, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, Our Gang, Harold Lloyd, Harry Langdon, and many others. I am especially looking forward to be seeing the Clark and McCullough short "In A Pig's Eye" (1934) as I have never seen one of their films publicly and am waiting to see how they go over.

Click here for a Leonard Maltin article about the film.

Click here for a Scott Eyman article about the film.

Congrats to Paul for finding this treasure and come to Slapsticon to see this gem along with tons of other flicks that will have you busting a gut all weekend!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

El Brendel on TCM - alert!

That's right, kiddies! Tomorrow (June 3rd) at 11:30EST, Turner Classic Movies is showing 1953's "Paris Model". The film stars Marilyn Maxwell, Paulette Goddard, and Eva Gabor, but also has a brief appearance by El in the "Papa Johnson" (or should that be Yonson??) character.

The above pic is from the VHS copy I have of it so let's hope TCM plays a better quality version!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

even MORE 20's & 30's film ads

Here's another batch of cut film ads from the 1920's and 1930's. I have a bunch of these still left (so look for more posts in the future!) and I think I picked a few winners this time. Enjoy!