Least Favorite Comedy Team?

Open, general discussion of classic sound-era films, personalities and history.
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boblipton

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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostSun Sep 18, 2011 5:05 am

They were awful in that one, but I think it was the way the roles were written. See if you can find WHAT PRICE PANTS.

Bob
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westegg

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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostMon Sep 19, 2011 6:12 am

I saw Smith & Dale in their dotage on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW--corny as hell but fascinating and funny in a warped way. Absolutely shameless baggy pants humor and style.

:D
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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostTue Sep 20, 2011 9:45 am

Saturday night I ran Schilling & Lane in TWO NUTS IN A RUT as part of my JOLSON SINGS AGAIN program. The audience loved the short, especially the opening shot of Richard Lane drowning in 35mm film.
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syd

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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostWed Sep 21, 2011 10:00 am

If animated cartoon teams are included
then I will nominate Heckle and Jeckle.

This pair from the Paul Terry cartoon
factory (he proclaimed himself the
Woolworths of the industry) were unfunny
and appallingly repetitious.

Live action: Wheeler and Woolsey.
This team transcended simple ribbing.
They were mean spirited. Robert Woolsey
thought a cigar and horn-rimmed glasses
were enough. He should've consulted Groucho
Marx.
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FrankFay

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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostWed Sep 21, 2011 10:09 am

syd wrote:If animated cartoon teams are included
then I will nominate Heckle and Jeckle.

This pair from the Paul Terry cartoon
factory (he proclaimed himself the
Woolworths of the industry) were unfunny
and appallingly repetitious.
.



This is the only Heckle & Jeckle cartoon that is really any good:

Eric Stott
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Jim Roots

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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostThu Sep 22, 2011 6:18 am

FrankFay wrote:This is the only Heckle & Jeckle cartoon that is really any good:




Persona it ain't.

Jim
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precode

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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostThu Sep 22, 2011 5:53 pm

drednm wrote:I never liked Abbott and Costello... even as a kid but I haven't seen them in decades.

What I hate about the Ritz Bros is that they all do the same schtick, there's nothing individual about them. It's like bad burlesque times three. One act, one schtick done by three bum comics.


Sid Caesar and Mel Brooks, for two, believe Harry Ritz was the funniest man who ever lived, and you can certainly see his influence on them (especially Caesar). It's been said that he might have become a huge solo star, but he refused to abandon his brothers. I've also heard that they were killingly funny live, but that quality seldom transferred to film. Not unusual.

My own least favorite team (apart from Bush and Cheney) would be Clark and McCullough. The comedy equivalent of root canal.

Mike S.
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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostThu Sep 22, 2011 6:13 pm

The Ritz Bros really needed the right material to click, and probably were better with an audience.

I do enjoy Clark & McCullough though I understand why you might- it's very much a love or hate thing. Bobby Clark is more like a conglomeration of comic bits than a realized personality but I have to admire his rapid fire skill and timing. Again they're the kind of team that probably really caught fire in front of an audience.

Even if you don't like then you've got to admit the story of their career is the stuff a biopic could be made of.
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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostFri Sep 23, 2011 7:43 am

FrankFay wrote:I do enjoy Clark & McCullough though I understand why you might- it's very much a love or hate thing. Bobby Clark is more like a conglomeration of comic bits than a realized personality but I have to admire his rapid fire skill and timing. Again they're the kind of team that probably really caught fire in front of an audience.

Even if you don't like then you've got to admit the story of their career is the stuff a biopic could be made of.


LOVE Clark & McCullough!! And I'm usually watching McCullough more than Clark...he's a funny guy too!
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syd

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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostSat Sep 24, 2011 8:49 am

[quote="FrankFay"][quote="syd"]If animated cartoon teams are included
then I will nominate Heckle and Jeckle.

This pair from the Paul Terry cartoon
factory (he proclaimed himself the
Woolworths of the industry) were unfunny
and appallingly repetitious.
.[/quote]


This is the only Heckle & Jeckle cartoon that is really any good:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIpTVU3Ddlo[/youtube][/quote]


What distinguishes the interchangeable crows is that one has
a Brooklyn/Bronx accent and the other speaks like an English butler.
At least Huey, Dewey and Louie had different hat and jersey colors.
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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostSat Sep 24, 2011 5:32 pm

I picked up a $2.99 remainder DVD that paired Invasion of the Bee Girls with something called Invasion of the Star Creatures. Bee Girls wasn't all that bad; as Maltin noted, it is surprisingly sexy, and in a lyrical way.

But Star Creatures is a bird a of different feather. It features the inimitable comedy team of Bob Ball and Frankie Ray, and they are just about the pits. Neither one has any personality, neither one is the least bit funny, neither one can even remember which one of them is supposed to be the smart one and which the dumb one.

The only witty line in the entire enterprise is the come-on from the poster: "Their Mission: Intergalatic Hanky-Panky!" (Cue the Tommy James and the Shondelles single...) Much more in keeping with the level of wit is the abysmal opening credit: "R. I. Diculous presents: An Impossible Picture." Har de har har.

Jim
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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostSat Sep 24, 2011 5:42 pm

For my money, the worst "classic" comedy team was Chaplin and Turpin at Essanay.

Supposedly, they were great buddies off-screen. But on-screen, it was a different matter. Turpin had nothing at that time: he couldn't think up a simple bit of business to fill a lag in a film if his life depended on it (even though he already had some 10 years of film experience plus his prior stage experience). Chaplin was absolutely full of contempt for him as a professional comedian and made it damned clear in his treatment of Turpin. Scene after scene involves Chaplin kicking Turpin, pushing him away, shoving him out of camera range, and leaving him alone in front of the camera in the knowledge that Turpin wouldn't be able to come up with a single bit of schtick to cover his ass.

Chaplin could be a team player, but only with his own team -- Albert Austin, Henry Bergman, and so on. He had no respect for Turpin as an on-screen performer, and had no compunction in mercilessly exposing his inadequacies for audiences to see.

Turpin learned from this brutal experience. In his later films, he was quick to fill lags in the action with little bits of business, trademark mugging, etc. I'll say that much in Turpin's favour: he was a guy who learned and grew.

Jim
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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostSat Sep 24, 2011 10:30 pm

Hello Jim,
Should we really consider Turpin and Chaplin a team?
"The Champion," and "Burlesque on Carmen," and Broncho Billy's "His Regeneration," they are definitely not teamed.
Even "His New Job" they're obviously rivals, not a "team".
You should note that Ben was just a player in the films, not even a co-star, simply a stock player.
In "A Night Out" I'd say yes, they are a team or were teamed. In this film they are friends, and also rivals.
Turpin also has more screen time in "A Night Out".
But these were all Chaplin's films, from inception to finish; do you think he wanted to put much focus on another player? Surely with Edna Purviance, of course, but not another comic.
Turpin did have a good share of screen time in "A Night Out", and took quite a beating from CC's rough-house antics.
The audiences saw this and loved it; many sympathized, laughed, and took notice of Turpin. He was on his way...
...On his way out of Chaplin's company.
Charlie saw Turpin, his reliable and professional stock player as competition and let him go with good wishes for success.
When they arrived at Niles, Ben was reacquainted with old friends, and he was always the sociable one. CC was a more private man, hard-working for what he wanted.
Chaplin may have saw Turpin as meek and mild, a loser perhaps, and a threat or competition to his success. Chaplin was a young and an assertive go-getter and a businessman. And he had every right, CC was a big success by 1915. Ben on the other hand was humble, 45 years old and a trouper of 25 years when he met Chaplin in 1915. Ben had taken all the knocks, been dealt some rough times and tough blows. He got by and was content with life and each new day.
Following the Chaplin comedies, Ben proved he could carry a film in a load of Essanay comedies. Charlie was in actuality Turpin's biggest supporter. Ben was one of CC's favorite comics. And Ben always acknowledged his debt to CC a number of times. He learned a lot from Chaplin. Charlie gave Ben the opportunity and even helped Ben with a pay raise at Essanay. When CC left for Mutual, it was he who recommended Ben to Samuel S. Hutchinson for Mutual's Vogue Comedies.
Having seen many of the Vogue comedies and knowing of Ben from the Chaplin comedies, Mack Sennett wanted Turpin.
You know the rest.
In 1939 Chaplin was brainstorming on his next picture, "The Great Dictator", and Ben was to have played in the film. About this time Turpin suffered a stroke and soon died on July 1st, 1940 at age 70 (he would have been 71 Sept 19th). Chester Conklin filled the role for their old friend.

SteveR (gee, did I answer the question??? LOL)
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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostSun Sep 25, 2011 5:21 am

There were so many mediocre comedy teams!

Here are my votes:

The Wiere Brothers? You usually have to listen and watch closely to find any comedy!
Olsen & Johnson--Ole Olsen was too silly, Chic Johnson didn't help.
(Tommy)Noonan & (Peter)Marshall--saw a sequence of theirs in STARLIFT and it was painful! They were good performers separately!
Gus Schilling and Richard Lane--why Columbia ever made a shorts series with them is a mystery to me!
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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostSun Sep 25, 2011 5:33 am

Marr&Colton wrote:There were so many mediocre comedy teams!

Here are my votes:

The Wiere Brothers? You usually have to listen and watch closely to find any comedy!


Their dancing and acrobatics in this clip are quite good

Eric Stott
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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostSun Sep 25, 2011 7:34 am

I always figured Chic Johnson was the sillier one. Ole wasn't terribly comedic a personality.

:P
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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostSun Sep 25, 2011 10:18 am

Were the Rat Pack films supposed to be funny?
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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostSun Sep 25, 2011 1:17 pm

Turpinutz wrote:Hello Jim,
Should we really consider Turpin and Chaplin a team?


Hi Steve!

By coincidence, I'm re-reading your old Slapstick magazines these days! I'm up to issue #8 (somehow I missed getting #3, but other than that, I've got the full set of 10). Did you ever revive it?

All you say is true: Chaplin and Turpin appeared together in a number of films but probably should not be considered a "team". I've read in numerous Chaplin biographies that Essanay foisted Turpin on Chaplin and insisted Ben had to be given ample screen time in their films together -- they (Essanay) hoped to create a team out of them (probably they figured it would be cheaper than having two stars in separate films). Chaplin never wanted even a sidekick, let alone a partner, and he made that clear on-screen. Poor Ben didn't appear to know how to respond to that kind of treatment. I find the Essanays painful to watch because of that fact alone.

As I said in my previous post, they were supposed to have been great friends off-screen, a point you substantiate. Chaplin became an entirely different animal once the cameras were rolling.

So, when is your Turpin bio being published? Judging from Slapstick!, you must have been working on it for about 15 years by now. I've managed to save up enough money to buy a first edition by now, so you don't need to delay it any longer! :D

Jim
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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostSun Sep 25, 2011 10:50 pm

Hi Jim,
I'm curious where you read the Turpin & Chaplin business. It's not really true at all.
Turpin was one of the Essanay's reliable players by 1915, but the "star" was for people like Wallace Beery.
Ben was just a second or third-banana with a lot of experience who was not doing much at the time Chaplin arrived.
Charlie, in need of a company of players, took a liking to Ben, put him to work and was happy with the results.
Turpin developed "his look" under CC; Ben never wore the mustache we associate with him.
And Ben never really mugged much, nor exploited his eyes and face until CC encouraged it. Ben learned from the master!
But it was a rough road working with such a perfectionist as Chaplin. Ben was grateful Charlie brought him and his wife out to Niles. Moving was nothing new, the Turpin's (Ben & wife Carrie) soon loved California.

Yes, I only took Slapstick! to ten issues and handed it over to Cole Johnson who continued with the help of our friend Dave Stevenson of Looser Than Loose. Since then they've put out a few issues over the last I don't know how long it's been(!). I don't even know if they're still doing it (I'm so out of touch with stuff! LOL).

The Turpin book is done and finito, it's just hung up with BearManor Media, the books potential publisher.
I've found a lot more additional biographical things, genealogical things, new illustrations, and what-not since the magazine serialization. In all, about 250 pages worth of Turpin. Did you know he was related to that famous highway robber, Dick Turpin? April Fool! No, he wasn't, just joking, but I've traced his roots nearly that far back. But there's a lot of interesting stuff, funny stories, much in Ben's own words, some long-forgotten and some never known information. Ben has been neglected too long and I'm long overdue with this book! I'm sorry it's taken so long! 40 years of my collecting and researching, finally put together in a biography that's taken me nearly three years to assemble. Did the whole thing myself, from front cover to back: typesetting, scanning, layout, proofreading, writing, indexing, cover design, etc. Just like the old days of Slapstick! mag. Thanks for your interest, Jim, and it's good to run into you again!

yer pal, SteveR

Image
Here's a little sample of the inside:
http://www.claudia-sassen.net/Larrygallery/welcome.html
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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostMon Sep 26, 2011 4:49 pm

Steve-
I'm sure many of us are impressed with the job you've done, and how you've kept "your wriggly eyes on the prize" over the years. It's a shame Bernard can't be here for the tribute. Are there any Turpin family members still alive, who might appreciate it. Sorry to get off topic, folks.
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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostMon Sep 26, 2011 5:10 pm

Steve, I think it was Glenn Mitchell. He definitely claimed Turpin and Chaplin didn't get along, which -- as you have pointed out -- is contrary to what nearly everyone else has written, including Chaplin himself. That's why his comments stick in my notoriously porous memory.

Might also have been Kalton Lahue in one of his innumerable books.

I thought the comments might also have been made by Kenneth Lynn and/or Joyce Milton in their angry anti-Chaplin books, but I'm probably wrong about that. Parker Tyler? Julian Smith? Not Theodore Huff, at least not in the strange reprint version I have of his biography. (I say "strange" because it was apparently a "copy" of a first edition in the "library" of an individual, yet it has a hardcover and elaborate typeface that could only have come from a reputable publisher, and they didn't have photocopiers in the year this version was produced.)

Anyway, looking forward to your book's eventual release. Put me down for an author's autographed copy!


Jim
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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostMon Sep 26, 2011 5:57 pm

Steve has been working on his Turpin book for years, and has sent me, Joe Moore and Rob Farr pages of it to look at and I can indeed state that is is going to be a terrific book, not only well researched with all sorts of new information, but beautifully laid out by Steve as well, with lots and lots of rare and great photos. I look very forward to seeing this in print, and heartily congratulate Steve for persevering in getting it done.


RICHARD M ROBERTS
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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostMon Sep 26, 2011 6:10 pm

(I say "strange" because it was apparently a "copy" of a first edition in the "library" of an individual, yet it has a hardcover and elaborate typeface that could only have come from a reputable publisher, and they didn't have photocopiers in the year this version was produced.)


That's not unusual; if a publisher reprints something but doesn't have the plates, they'll rephotograph a clean copy. I heard someone saying once they often check with the author's mother if still living, because of the frequency with which they turn up an unread first edition that way....
“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier
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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostMon Sep 26, 2011 6:55 pm

WOW! I'm near speechless; my fingers are numb!
Thank you Richard for your super nice words, as well as Joe and Rob, and Jim and Mike. Thank you gentlemen! I've been shown a lot of support over the years and have met and known many good and generous friends over time. The book itself will finally be available in the near future and I hope it will find a home on every shelf.

Mike: Ben's grand-nephew is still around and about 85 years old, in Florida with his wife of 63 years. He'll probably outlive his grandmother (Ben's sister Ernestine), who lived to be 101. He told me he was gonna hang around at least until I finish the book. LOL I just met him nearly three years ago after my long-time search for descendants.

and Jim: Thanks for listing your sources, most of which I honestly never consulted (perhaps a good thing? LOL)

Don't know what else to say, except thank you guys, you're support is better than suspenders and a belt of corn whiskey.
It's getting dark and I gotta come out of the cornfield, thanks friends. Here's looking at you!

SteveR
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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostThu Sep 29, 2011 8:56 am

Mike Gebert wrote:
(I say "strange" because it was apparently a "copy" of a first edition in the "library" of an individual, yet it has a hardcover and elaborate typeface that could only have come from a reputable publisher, and they didn't have photocopiers in the year this version was produced.)


That's not unusual; if a publisher reprints something but doesn't have the plates, they'll rephotograph a clean copy. I heard someone saying once they often check with the author's mother if still living, because of the frequency with which they turn up an unread first edition that way....


Wow ... I've been in publishing since I was five years old (when I produced the poetry pages in my school's newsletter), and have over 10,000 volumes in my collection, and the Huff book is the only one I've ever come across with that kind of notation.

Proof positive you're never too old, or been in the business too long, to learn something new. Thanks, Mike!


Jim
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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostThu Sep 29, 2011 8:58 am

Steve: Never mind the suspenders, pass that belt!

Jim
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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostWed Nov 02, 2011 12:33 am

My least favorite comedy team:-
*The Wiere Brothers
*Laurel and Hardy
*Gus Schilling and Richard Lane
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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostWed Nov 02, 2011 9:56 am

yashawn wrote:My least favorite comedy team:-
*The Wiere Brothers
*Laurel and Hardy
*Gus Schilling and Richard Lane


I'd venture to say that your post is the first time Laurel and Hardy were ever mentioned in the same sentence with the Wiere Brothers and Schilling & Lane. Kind of like saying my least favorite prop comics are Gallagher, Buster Keaton and Carrot Top.
Rob Farr
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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostThu Nov 03, 2011 7:09 am

Yeah! Laurel & Hardy! What were they all about?!

:roll:
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Re: Least Favorite Comedy Team?

PostThu Nov 03, 2011 12:23 pm

Cheech & Kumar...they were the worst.
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