Any fan of older cinema knows that yesterdays superstars can easily be forgotten. Today, we are going to take a look at Motion Picture Magazine’s “1918 revue of filmdom’s clowns” and test our cinematic knowledge. How many of these 14 talents do you recognize?
If you’re feeling shy about sharing which stars you haven’t seen, I will start things off by marking stars I have seen with a ♥ and stars I have NOT seen with a ☆.
Remember, you should never feel embarrassed about what you have not yet seen. It just means that you get to look forward to enjoying a new star or new film for the first time.
♥ In a place of honor, the wonderful Marie Dressler.
♥ It would be surprising if Chaplin WASN’T included here, let’s face it.
♥ Billy West was a Chaplin imitator at this point and it’s interesting to see him featured so close to the genuine article.
♥ A star now overshadowed by the scandal that derailed his career, I highly recommend giving Arbuckle’s films with Mabel Normand a shot.
I am actually surprised not to find Normand here given that Mickey was doing boffo box office numbers. But remember that this was the April issue and Normand had been absent from the screen for all of 1917.
♥ I’ve only seen one of Howell’s comedies but Undercrank Productions is releases a collection of her work very soon. I am so looking forward to getting to know her better.
♥ I’ve only seen Murray in The Boob, a painfully unfunny comedy featuring a then-unknown Joan Crawford. Apparently, he was an absolute dear to the nervous newcomer.
♥ I am rather fond of Chester Conklin, though I did not recognize him without his signature cookie duster mustache.
☆ I’ve not yet seen a Moore film but he appeared in two early DeMille pictures as the “Chimmie Fadden” character.
☆ I have not seen a single Wilna Wilde picture. Have you?
♥ I enjoy a bit of Slim Summerville comedy now and again.
♥ Louise Fazenda is another favorite. I wonder if it’s true that they called her husband the Prisoner of Fazenda? In any case, she was supposed to be a sweet woman and she certainly was funny.
By the way, you may have noticed quite a few ladies in these entries. It’s almost like the notion that silent comedy was a man’s business is just a myth.
☆ I only know two Totos: one is a Cairn Terrier with a penchant for biting Margaret Hamilton and the other sings about the rains in Africa. Have you seen this Toto?
♥ But barely as I saw Ovey in a supporting role in The Yankee Clipper and don’t really remember him. Ovey was making the “Jerry” series around this time, which I have not seen at all. Let me know if you have.
♥ Awww! My old friend Ben!
All clippings are courtesy of Media History Digital Library and you can check out their swell collection here.
Like what you’re reading? Please consider sponsoring me on Patreon. All patrons will get early previews of upcoming features, exclusive polls and other goodies.