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When Comedy Was King (1960)

A feature-length documentary devoted to the great clowns of silent comedy.


Robert Youngson


Robert Youngson


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle ... edited from 'Fatty & Mabel Adrift' (archive footage) (as Fatty Arbuckle)
Wallace Beery ... edited from 'Teddy at The throttle' (archive footage)
Charles Chaplin ... edited from 'His Trysting Place, ' 'The Masqurader, ' and 'Kid Auto at Venice.' (archive footage) (as Charlie Chaplin)
Charley Chase ... edited from 'Movie Night' (archive footage) (as Charlie Chase)
Buster Keaton ... edited from 'Cops' (archive footage)
Edgar Kennedy ... edited from 'A Pair of Tights' (archive footage)
Keystone Kops Keystone Kops ... (archive footage) (as The Keystone Cops)
Harry Langdon ... edited from 'The First 100 Years' (archive footage)
Stan Laurel ... edited from 'Big Business' (archive footage) (as Laurel)
Oliver Hardy ... edited from 'Big Business' (archive footage) (as Hardy)
Mabel Normand ... edited from 'Fatty & Mabel Adrift' (archive footage)
The Sennett Girls The Sennett Girls ... edited from 'Yukon Jake' (archive footage)
Gloria Swanson ... Gloria Dawn - Bobby's Sweetheart (archive footage)
Ben Turpin ... edited from 'Yukon Jake' (archive footage)
Billy Bevan ... edited from 'Super Duper Dyne Lizzies, ' 'The Lion's Whiskers, ' 'Wall Street Blues, ' and' Wandering Willies' (archive footage)


Robert Youngson's affectionate, nostalgic retrospective of the Golden Age of Silent Comedy with special attention to the three acknowledged comic geniuses of the period: Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keatonm and Harry Landon. The two major comedy studios of the era, Mack Sennett and Hal Roach, especially Laurel an Hardy, are given credit as the great innovators of slapstick visual comedy. Written by duke1029@aol.com

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Comedy is king. (Posters). See more »


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Release Date:

29 March 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Als Lachen Trumpf war See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


At one point, the narrator remarks that a quarter century has passed since the death of Harry Langdon. In fact, he died in December of 1944, just over 15 years before this film was released. See more »


Narrator: [Last lines] So ends our visit to the era of the great silent clowns who mass-produced laughter and sold happiness and who passed into oblivian just before the years when the world needed them the most.
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Edited from Big Business (1929) See more »


Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2
Music by Franz Liszt
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User Reviews

Good Start
27 February 2008 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

When Comedy Was King (1960)

*** (out of 4)

Robert Youngson "documentary" showing various clips from the silent era including performers such as Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, Charles Chaplin, Buster Keaton, The Keystone Cops, Laurel and Hardy, Edgar Kennedy, Gloria Swanson, Harry Langdon, Mabel Normand among various others. The film is a good way for newbies to see these legends in their prime but for me it's rather frustrating because I'd rather be watching the entire films rather than just little clips. I also always have a problem with these sorts of things because the clips are never as funny as they are in the entire movie. Either way, a decent doc that shows how great these guys were.

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