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The Early Sound Slapstick Short and Depression-Era Mass Culture

Rob King

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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Theater, Ballett


A free ebook version of this title is available through Luminos, University of California Press’s Open Access publishing program. Visit to learn more.
Hokum! is the first book to take a comprehensive view of short-subject slapstick comedy in the early sound era. Challenging the received wisdom that sound destroyed the slapstick tradition, author Rob King explores the slapstick short’s Depression-era development against a backdrop of changes in film industry practice, comedic tastes, and moviegoing culture. Each chapter is grounded in case studies of comedians and comic teams, including the Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, and Robert Benchley. The book also examines how the past legacy of silent-era slapstick was subsequently reimagined as part of a nostalgic mythology of Hollywood’s youth.

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history of comedy, depression era film, 1920 american comedy, film industry, stage slang comedy, film and tv, cinematography, robert benchley, history of film, silent era slapstick, comedy films, comic movies, hokum, 20th century comedy teams, 20th century comedians, early 20th century cinema, popular culture, three stooges, early sound era, early sound slapstick, media studies, film studies, laurel and hardy, comedy movies, slapstick