How to be an Actor in Eight Easy Lessons: A Goofy Guide from 1926

Acting manuals and correspondence courses were quite the thing in the silent era and the sometimes silly advice that they contained was spoofed in films like Merton of the Movies. Photoplay, along with actor Lew Cody, got in on the act with this gloriously silly guide to acting.

Ooo, that Charlie Chaplin joke did not age well considering the impending divorce. But I think Cody should have kept up the joke by making the same face for every emotion.

This is, of course, a play on Listerine’s famously deceptive ad campaign that made halitosis a household word. (In a different campaign, the company also hinted that its horrible product could be used for birth control. Sigh.)

I, for one, want to see the film in which Lew Cody’s stereopticon party is ruined by Norman Kerry. And, by the way, that was a more advanced magic lantern. Cool, huh?

Green onions were the most dangerous food in the world, if you believed silent films. Heck, Gloria Swanson divorced Elliott Dexter in Don’t Change Your Husband when he refused to give them up.

Me? I prefer Rudolph Valentino’s more caffeinated approach in The Sheik.

Well, that was really cute! I hope you enjoyed these as much as I did.

You can look up lots of swell clippings like these at the Media History Digital Library.

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