Wonder Book & Video
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Wonder Book & Video
607 Dual Highway
Hagerstown, MD 21740
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Telephone: 301-733-1888
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Film historian John K. Carpenter ('The Movie Man') is considered one of the most dedicated preservationists of silent comedy. Now he presents a new collection of rare comedy shorts from the early days of sound! "In the years since I became known as "The Movie Man", I have found that the period of transition from silent to sound is the most interesting, as there was an overwhelming need for actors known for their vocal skills! This meant radio acts, vaudeville performers and nightclub entertainers were suddenly in vogue! After one or two shorts many of these "stars" were rarely seen again. For this DVD I have unearthed some of the rarest sound shorts from my archives so you can relive that exciting time!"

THE OLD BARN (1929): A haunted house comedy in which the attendees of a dinner party hide in an old barn from an escaped killer. The Old Barn is one of Mack Sennett's earliest talkie 2-reelers. Johnny Burke and Daphne Pollard had been a popular comedy team for Sennett during the silent era. Though Pollard would go on to play Ollie's wife in Laurel & Hardy shorts, Burke rarely appeared onscreen after the advent of sound.

THE BEES' BUZZ (1929): Harry Gribbon and Andy Clyde were another Mack Sennett comedy team whose popularity the director valiantly tried to prolong when sound came along. In The Bees' Buzz, Andy's daughter's wedding is crashed by a swarm of bees. Sennett attempted to promote the comedy by encouraging theater owners to display jars of bees in the lobby, but it's unlikely anyone took his suggestion.

GUESTS WANTED (1932): Benny Rubin inherits a hotel in California, and brings all his old vaudeville buddies to act as chefs, bellhops, maids, and waiters. Bud Jamison, a member of Charlie Chaplin's stock company at Essanay, makes an appearance singing in an Irish tenor voice.

THE INVENTORS (1934): Stoopnagle and Budd give a lecture at an all-girls college, demonstrating a wide range of wacky inventions. The popular radio comedians (real names: Wilbur Budd Hulick and Frederick Chase Taylor) are well-remembered for their surreal appearance in the all-star movie International House (1933).

HOW AM I DOING (1935): Chick York and Rose King were old time vaudevillians who played at being a married couple. They never really caught on in movies, only making two shorts for producer Al Christie. In How Am I Doing, Rose thinks Chick is cheating on her with a burlesque dancer. In the ensuing catfight, the younger woman is stripped down to her skivvies, suggesting this short was completed before the Hayes Code was implemented.

BONUS: The Voice of Hollywood #11 (1930): In 1930, Poverty Row studio Tiffany Productions began releasing the weekly series The Voice of Hollywood. These one-reel shorts purported to show audiences the daily lives of their favorite stars, but were really an excuse for fading silent era performers to prove their vocal skills on camera. This installment (#11) features Ivan Lebedeff, Natalie Moorehead, Billy Bevan, Betty Boyd, Raymond McKee, Creighton Hale, and Joyzelle Joyner.

Not Rated.

Released by Alpha Home Entertainment/Gotham. See more credits.