UPDATE – Silent Comedy from Mack Sennett on TCM – Week 4

Turner Classic Movies’ month-long tribute to comedy pioneer Mack Sennett concludes tonight with 21 short subjects produced between 1926 and 1933, all restored by CineMuseum.

Brew up a pot of strong coffee, because the final night of the festival ends with a bang in the wee hours as W.C. Fields stars in two of the four shorts he made for the Mack Sennett Comedies company (both talkies): THE DENTIST (1932) at 2:45 AM (ET) and THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933) at approximately 3:30 AM.

THE DENTIST, Fields’ second talking short (the first was 1930’s THE GOLF SPECIALIST for RKO), was produced before the enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code, and features some gloriously raunchy moments, such as a female patient suggestively straddling the titular character as he attempts to extract a tooth, and Fields’ trademark muttered comments, including “The hell with her.”

THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (like THE DENTIST, written by an uncredited Fields), features the bulbous-nosed comic as a prospector in an extremely hip parody of a Yukon melodrama (complete with silent film-type music). Highlights include Fields’ rendition of the title song (accompanied by a zither), and hilariously stilted dialogue, like “It ain’t a fit night out for man nor beast” – always accompanied by a handful of snow (obviously) thrown in our hero’s face.

Screwball comedy icon Carole Lombard (who died tragically in a plane crash in 1942) makes four appearances tonight, first at 11 PM in SMITH’S PONY (1927), the 14th in a series of “Smith Family” comedies produced by Sennett, then at 11:45 PM in RUN, GIRL, RUN (1928), followed by HIS UNLUCKY NIGHT (1928) at 12:30 AM and MATCHMAKING MAMMA (1929) at around 1:15 AM. The latter features a two-strip Technicolor sequence with the “Sennett Girls” in all their bathing beauty grandeur.

Other recognizable stars tonight include the odd man-child Harry Langdon, first at 8 PM in SATURDAY AFTERNOON (1926), a a three-reeler written by Frank Capra, then again at 11:25 in FIDDLESTICKS (1927). CATALINA, HERE I COME (1927), airing at 9:30 PM, was  set to star Langdon before he left Sennett to go independent. Undeterred, Sennett proceeded with the film with another actor (Eddie Quillan) essentially doing a Langdon imitation.

Mustachioed Australian Billy Bevan makes five appearances tonight and cross-eyed comic Ben Turpin appears in three. Both are frequently teamed with Vernon Dent, a familiar face to fans of the Three Stooges shorts.

Our Gang member Mary Ann Jackson makes an appearance in SMITH’S PONY (1927) at 11 PM with Lombard and comedian Billy Gilbert. And the always-prissy Franklin Pangborn appears in the talking short  THE LOUD MOUTH (1932) at around 2:20 AM, along with the Los Angeles Angels baseball team and Matt McHugh, brother of Warner Bros. regular Frank McHugh.

Note: THE LOUD MOUTH did not air as scheduled. It was replaced by  SPEED IN THE GAY NINETIES (1932) . See below. 

Enjoy the movies! The line-up is after the picture.

Mack Sennett (left) with Harry Langdon in 1924.

Note: hotlinks below lead to unrestored (unlicensed) versions on You Tube. These are not the versions that will air on TCM, or appear on the upcoming DVD release.

Thursday, September 27 – 21 Mack Sennett Shorts (1926-1933)

8:00 PM – 9:30 PM – 4 Shorts from 1926

1. SATURDAY AFTERNOON (1926)
Director: Harry Edwards
Release Date: January 31, 1926
Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies
Duration: 30 minutes – 3 reels
Cast: Harry Langdon (Harry Higgans), Alice Ward (Mrs. Harry Higgans), Vernon Dent (Steve Smith), Ruth Hiatt (Pearl), Peggy Montgomery (Ruby)
Note: Story by Frank Capra

2. A SEA DOG’S TALE (1926)
Director: Del Lord
Release Date: July 11, 1926
Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies
Duration: 24 minutes – 2 reels
Cast: Andy Clyde (King Gumbo), Vernon Dent (Jo Jo), Madeline Hurlock (Princess Vanilla), Billy Bevan (Wilbur Waters), Patsy O’Byrne (Landlady), Tiny Ward

3. HOBOKEN TO HOLLYWOOD (1926)
Director: Del Lord
Release Date: September 5, 1926
Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies
Duration: 24 minutes – 2 reels
Cast: Billy Bevan (Billy Judkins), Leonora Summers (Mrs. Billy Judkins), Vernon Dent (Mr. Pinkney), Thelma Hill (Pinkney’s Bride), Sunshine Hart (Mrs. Judkins, Billy’s Ma), Leo Sulky (Company President), Tiny Ward (Roscoe)

4. A HAREM KNIGHT (1926) – Did not air
Director: Edward F. Cline, Gilbert Pratt
Release Date: November 7, 1926
Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies
Duration: 19 minutes – 2 reels
Cast: Ben Turpin (Rodney St. Clair), Madeline Hurlock (Harem Girl), Danny O’Shea (Naval Officer), Marvin Loback (Harem Guard), Louise Carver (Fat Harem Girl), Dave Morris, Barney Hellum, Marion McDonald (Harem Girl)

Note: Due to technical issues with the source material, A HAREM NIGHT did not air. Instead it was replaced by the following:

4A. ICE COLD COCOs (1926)
Director: Del Lord
Release Date: June 20, 1926
Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies
Duration: 19 minutes – 2 reels
Cast: Billy Bevan (Billy), Andy Clyde (Andy), Kewpie Morgan (Newlywed Husband), Madeline Hurlock (Newlywed Wife), Louise Carver (the Wife’s Mother)

9:30 PM – 11:00 PM – 4 Shorts from 1927

5. CATALINA, HERE I COME (1927)
Director: Earle Rodney
Release Date: April 17, 1927
Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies
Duration: 24 minutes – 2 reels
Cast: Eddie Quillan (Eddie), Madeline Hurlock (Wanda), Andy Clyde (Mr. Hamhocks), Alma Bennett (Pearl Minnow), Valery Schramm, Loretta Rush, Marjorie Williamson, Thelma Parr, Mary Mayberry, William Wrigley Jr., Barney Hellum, George Gray, William Searby

6. BROKE IN CHINA (1927)
Director: Edward F. Cline
Release Date: April 23, 1927
Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies
Duration: 24 minutes – 2 reels
Cast: Ben Turpin, Louise Carver, Alice Belcher, Ruth Taylor, Thelma Hill, Andy Clyde, Kathrin Clare Ward, George Spear, Frankie Simonds, Dan Maines, William McCall, Tiny Ward, Dave Morris, Roger Moore, Bud Ross

7. THE PRIDE OF PIKEVILLE (1927)
Director: Alfred J. Goulding
Release Date: June 5, 1927
Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies
Duration: 24 minutes – 2 reels
Cast: Ben Turpin (the Pride of Pikeville), Thelma Hill, Andy Clyde, Ruth Taylor, Stanley Blystone, William McCall, Barney Hellum, Vernon Dent

8. THE GOLF NUT (1927)
Director: Harry Edwards
Release Date: September 4, 1927
Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies
Duration: 24 minutes – 2 reels
Cast: Billy Bevan, Alma Bennett, Eddie Quillan, Mary Mayberry, Glen Cavender, Madalynne Field

11:00 PM – 12:30 AM – 4 Shorts from 1927-1928

9. SMITH’S PONY (1927)
Director: Alfred J. Goulding, Raymond McKee
Release Date: September 18, 1927
Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies
Duration: 20 minutes – 2 reels
Cast: Raymond McKee (Jimmy Smith), Ruth Hiatt (Mabel Smith), Mary Ann Jackson (Bubbles Smith), Carole Lombard, Irving Bacon, Billy Gilbert, Omar the Dog

10. FIDDLESTICKS (1927)
Director: Harry Edwards
Release Date: November 27, 1927
Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies
Duration: 20 minutes – 2 reels
Cast: Harry Langdon (Harry Hogan), Vernon Dent (Prof. Von Tempo/Junk Dealer), Anna Dodge (Harry’s Mother), Leo Sulky (Pawnbroker), Tiny Ward (Owner of Piano)

11. RUN, GIRL, RUN (1928)
Director: Alfred J. Goulding
Release Date: January 15, 1928
Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies
Duration: 20 minutes – 2 reels
Cast: Daphne Pollard (Coach Minnie Marmon), Carole Lombard (Norma Nurmi), Lionel Belmore (The Dean), Anita Barnes, Leota Winters, Kathryn Stanley, Lucille Miller, Jim Hallett (Cadet), Barbara Tennant, Andy Clyde (Professor), Ben Wise

12. THE BEST MAN (1928)
Director: Harry Edwards
Release Date: February 19, 1928
Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies
Duration: 24 minutes – 2 reels
Cast: Billy Bevan, Vernon Dent, Alma Bennett, Andy Clyde, Nancy Cornelius, Irving Bacon, William McCall, Marie Pergain, Mary Mayberry, Barney Hellum, Sunshine Hart

12:30 AM – 2:00 AM – 4 Shorts from 1928-1930

13. HIS UNLUCKY NIGHT (1928)
Director: Harry Edwards
Release Date: August 12, 1928
Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies
Duration: 24 minutes – 2 reels
Cast: Billy Bevan (Billy Trotter), Dot Farley (Mrs. Trotter), Vernon Dent (Homer Brown), Carole Lombard (Peggy, Telephone Operator), Carmelita Geraghty (Jenny – Homer’s Girlfriend), William McCall (Hotel Manager), Andy Clyde (Homer’s Father-in-Law), Bud Jamison (Hotel Detective), Sunshine Hart (Hotel Manager’s Wife), Art Rowlands (Hotel Clerk)

14. TAXI FOR TWO (1928)
Director: Del Lord
Release Date: September 2, 1928
Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies
Duration: 20 minutes – 2 reels
Cast: Jack Cooper (Dan the Taxi Man), Virginia Vance (The Boss’ Daughter), Otto Fries (Foreman – Hoot Owl Garage), Andy Clyde (Jack – the Daughter’s Brother), William McCall (Traffic Cop), Tiny Ward (Foreman – Plumbing Company), Art Rowlands (Taxi Customer)

15. MATCHMAKING MAMMA (1929)
Director: Harry Edwards
Release Date: March 31, 1929
Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies
Duration: 24 minutes – 2 reels
Cast: Johnny Burke (Mrs. McNitt’s Second Husband), Sally Eilers (Sally McNitt), Daphne Pollard (Mrs. Cornelius McNitt, Matchmaking Mamma), Matty Kemp (Larry Lodge), Carole Lombard (Phyllis McNitt), Irving Bacon (Clifford Figfield), Andy Clyde (The Minister), Ronald Tilley (The Butler)

16. MATCH PLAY (1930)
Director: Mack Sennett
Release Date: March 16, 1930
Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies
Duration: 20 minutes – 2 reels
Cast: Walter Hagen (Walter Hagen, American Golf Champion), Leo Diegel (Leo Diegel, British Gold Champion), Andy Clyde (Ed Martin), Marjorie Beebe (Marge Martin), Bud Jamison (Bud)
Note: Story by Roscoe Arbuckle

2:00 – 4:00 AM – 5 Shorts from 1931-1933 

Note: Due to technical issues with the source material, The GREAT PIE MYSTERY and THE LOUDMOUTH did not air. Replacement shorts are indicated below

17. THE GREAT PIE MYSTERY (1931) – Did not air
Director: Del Lord
Release Date: October 25, 1931
Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies
Duration: 22 minutes – 2 reels
Cast: Harry Gribbon (Homer Bagwell), May Boley (Bertha, Homer’s Sweetheart), Alma Bennett (Peaches Stone), Harry Myers (A. Dabney Denton), Dick Stewart (Reporter Bradley), George Gray (Farmer Bagwell, Homer’s Father), Julia Griffith (Peaches Stone’s Mother)

17A. TOO MANY HIGHBALLS (1933)
Director: Clyde Bruckman
Release Date: February 10, 1933
Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies
Duration: 20 minutes – 2 reels
Cast: Lloyd Hamilton (Harold Hobbs), Marjorie Beebe (Hortense Hobbs), Tom Dugan (Claude, Harold’s brother-in-law), Angie Herring (Harold’s Mother-in-Law), Bud Jamison (Arresting Policeman), Tom Dempsey (First Traffic Cop)

18. THE LOUD MOUTH (1932) – Did not air
Director: Del Lord
Release Date: June 17, 1932
Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies
Duration: 20 minutes – 2 reels
Cast: Matt McHugh (Loud Mouth), Marjorie Kane (Edith Morgan), Franklin Pangborn (Freddie Quimby), Ray Cooke (Swat Butler of Blue Sox), Julia Griffith (Front Row World Series Fan), Fred Kelsey (Max, Manager of Blue Sox), The Los Angeles Angels (Baseball Team Members)

18A. SPEED IN THE GAY NINETIES (1932) 
Director: Del Lord
Release Date: April 3, 1932
Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies
Duration: 18 minutes – 2 reels
Cast: Andy Clyde (Ed Martin), Helen Mann (Jenny), Roger Moore (Jimmy – as Joe Young), Barney Oldfield (Himself), Anna Dodge (Mrs. Martin), Delmar Watson (Junior Martin)

19. THE DENTIST (1932)
Director: Leslie Pearce
Release Date: December 9, 1932
Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies (as Sennett Pictures Corp)
Duration: 21 minutes – 2 reels
Cast: W.C. Fields (Dentist), Marjorie Kane (Mary, the Dentist’s Daughter), Arnold Gray (Arthur the Iceman), Dorothy Granger (Miss Pepitone, a Patient), Elise Cavanna (Miss Mason, a Patient), Zedna Farley (Dental Assistant)

20. DON’T PLAY BRIDGE WITH YOUR WIFE (1933)
Director: Leslie Pearce
Release Date: January 13, 1933
Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies (as Sennett Pictures Corporation)
Duration: 18 minutes – 2 reels
Cast: Nora Lane (Dorothy Roberts), Cornelius Keefe (Edward Baker), Ruthelma Stevens (Stoneage Opponent’s Wife/Duchess of Worcestshire/Mrs. Haley), Grady Sutton (Baker’s Rival Suitor), Marjorie Beebe (Stoneage Woman/Ann Boleyn), Bud Jamison (Kibitzer), Richard Cramer (Stoneage Bridge Player/King Henry VIII/Mr. Roberts), Ted Stroback (Stoneage Opponent/Duke of Worcestshire/Mr. Haley), Marvin Loback (Kibitzer), Julia Griffith (Mrs. Roberts)

21. THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER (1933)
Director: Clyde Bruckman
Release Date: March 3, 1933
Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies (as Sennett Pictures Corporation)
Distributor: Paramount
Duration: 21 minutes – 2 reels
Cast: W.C. Fields (Mr. Snavely), Rosemary Theby (Mrs. Snavely), George Chandler (Chester Snavely, the Wastrel), Richard Cramer (Officer Posthelwhistle), Jack Cooper (Officer)

About willmckinley

I'm a New York City-based writer, video producer, print journalist, radio/podcast host, and social media influencer. I've been a guest on Turner Classic Movies (interviewed by Robert Osborne), NPR, Sirius Satellite Radio, and the official TCM podcast. My byline has appeared in Slate.com and more than 100 times in the pages of NYC alt weeklies like The Villager and Gay City News. I'm also a social media copywriter for Sony's getTV and a contributor to four film-and-TV-related books: "Monster Serial," "Bride of Monster Serial," "Taste the Blood of Monster Serial," and "Remembering Jonathan Frid."
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