Funny girls, those comediennes from the silent movies, knew shtick from slapstick. Mabel Normand, Marie Dressler, Bebe Daniels, Dorothy Gish, Constance Talmadge, Marion Davies, and Colleen Moore brought riotous laughter to millions around the world, yet their hilarity may seem hidden to those only familiar with Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, and Harold Lloyd.
Discover the women of wit, from the supporting players to the stars. Author Steve Massa covers their contributions to comedy with in-depth analyses of the most hilarious heroines of humor, followed by 459 biographies of other droll divas from the famous to the forgotten.
Illustrated with 440 rare movie scene shots, formal portraits, candid behind the scenes photos, film frame enlargements, trade magazine advertisements, lobby cards, stage photographs, artist’s renderings and caricatures, and casting guide entries.
Bibliography, and an Index.
About the author: Steve Massa is the author of Lame Brains and Lunatics: The Good, The Bad, and The Forgotten of Silent Comedy and Marcel Perez: The International Mirth-Maker. He has organized and curated comedy film programs for the Museum of Modern Art, The Library of Congress, The Museum of the Moving Image, The Smithsonian Institution, and The Pordenone Silent Film Festival.
"Steve Massa wrote a 600-page book documenting the funny women beloved by the audiences of their day, but have been "overshadowed by the boy's club," to quote the author. Slapstick Divas: The Women of Silent Comedy features extensive biographies of such legends as Mabel Normand, Pearl White, Billie Rhodes, Ruth Stonehouse, Marie Dressler, Betty Browne, Merta Stering, Vera Steadman, Jobyna Ralston, Anita Garvin and many others. The author presents their stories both academically and through enjoyable prose, with the closing fourth of the book serving as an encyclopedia. Where many books about silent slapstick focus on 101 for the beginner, this book serves as Silent Slapstick 102. Some of these "Divas" were completely new to me and caused me to pull out a few of the silent slapstick DVDs from my shelf to view. Sprinkled with photographs and vintage advertisements, this is an essential book for those who thought they knew more about silent slapstick than the average fanatic."
- Martin Grams. Jr.
Author appearance on BBC Radio 3