In the history of silent movies, one of America's earliest comedians was Ben Turpin, a former Vaudeville and Burlesque comic and circus clown, who was famous for his crossed eyes.
Ben’s first film appearance was in 1907 for Essanay Studios, and he appeared in many small parts and comic bits, and he also doubled as a carpenter and janitor for Essanay. One of his best-known surviving films was Mr. Flip (1909).
In 1915, the world’s most famous silent film comedy star, Charlie Chaplin, joined Essanay, bringing Ben into a long series of comic films that are still being shown today.
In 1917, Ben joined Mack Sennett’s renowned studio, and Ben appeared in dozens of highly popular slapstick films, becoming famous worldwide, only ending in 1928 when the studio revamped for talking pictures. Ben then appeared in some low-budget comedies for Weiss Brothers-Artclass company, several of which are still enjoyed by audiences today, including Idle Eyes and The Eyes Have It.
In later life, Ben appeared in memorable cameos in Paramount's Million Dollar Legs (1932) with W. C. Fields, Jack Oakie, and Susan Fleming. He starred in only one more short subject, Keystone Hotel (1935), for Warner Bros., a two-reel reunion of silent-era comedians. His last feature film was with Laurel and Hardy in Saps at Sea (1940).
The author’s years of research draws from a wealth of information, including vintage magazines and newspapers, genealogy records, business associates, and family descendants, to create this complete reference book on the life, career, and films of Ben Turpin. Illustrated with hundreds of rare photos. 446 pages.
Review from Plan 9 Crunch