The Funny Parts: A History of Film Comedy Routines and Gags

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McFarland, Nov 17, 2011 - Performing Arts - 314 pages
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Classic comedy routines and individual gags have been around for many hundreds of years, probably thousands; the best of these ribticklers make their merry way through theater, circus, film and television. The challenge to comedians has always been to adapt familiar material in a way that emphasizes their personal style and outlook. The many routines and gags cited in this illustrated history are lovingly deconstructed to show how they have been shaped to suit different eras and performers. These tried and true laugh-provokers are indestructible. Through all the remakes, revivals, recycles and revamps, they have survived robustly to the present day. As these timeless comedy gems are traced to their beginnings and followed through the years, readers are taken on a mirthful journey from Keystone to Zombieland.
 

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The section on Gay's Lion Farm needs to be corrected (pg. 57). Charles and Muriel Gay were husband and wife, not brothers. She was an English journalist and he was a French circus performer.

Contents

Preface
1
Introduction
3
1 And Then There Were Pies
7
2 Mannequins and Other Dummies
16
3 Animals
34
4 Adventures in Eating
77
5 Attack of the Vamps
99
6 Indecent Exposure
107
13 Into the Looking Glass
162
14 Sleepless Nights
168
15 Fathers to Sons of the Desert
178
16 The Big Jangly Box the Sliding Ladder and Other Comic Props
183
17 The Buster Keaton Variations
192
18 The Harold Lloyd Variations
222
19 Hysterical History
229
20 Bugs
241

7 Spooky Apparitions
118
8 Bombs and Burglars
130
9 How to Disguise Yourself as Furniture and Fool Your Friends
135
10 The Amazing Trapdoor Chase
145
11 Science and Magic
151
12 Tooth Extraction and Laughing Gas
158
21 Scared Black Servants DicePlaying African Cannibals and the Most Racist Comedy in Silent Cinema History
245
22 Other Variations
259
Chapter Notes
299
Bibliography
303
Index
305
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About the author (2011)

Anthony Balducci has written on silent film comedy for Film Collector's World in the late 1970s. He lives in Gainesville, Florida, where he is writing a book on silent film comedians.

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