Monday, March 15, 2010

A little more on Mack Sennett

This blog has been on something of a Mack Sennett kick of late . . . . there have been posts about the recently released Mack Sennett's Fun Factory, by Brent E. Walker, and the 2009 release The Fun Factory: The Keystone Film Company and the Emergence of Mass Culture, by Rob King. Each are very different books, and each is worth checking out.

Another book we want to call your attention to is The Keystone Krowd, by Stuart Oderman. It was released by BearManor Media in late 2007 / early 2008. The book's subtitle is "Mack, Mabel, the Kops and the Girls (1908-1915)."

It is an informal, anecdotal, and personal history of the greatest comedy studio of the silent film era. What makes it special is that Oderman knew a few of the individuals and accompanied some of films of which he writes. The publisher describes this book as "a document of the twilight years of many of Sennett's innovators, who were still able to recall their early days when filmmaking was in its infancy. Come read their last opportunity to leave their impressions of themselves and their times from a golden era."

Oderman, of course, is best known as a pianist and silent film accompanist. His career as a musician has lasted more than 50 years, many of which have been spent as the silent film accompanist at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He is also the author of a handful of other books about early film including Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle: A Biography Of The Silent Film Comedian, 1887-1933. That title was released by McFarland in softcover in 2005, and is partly based on Oderman's friendship with Minta Durfee, Arbuckle's first wife

There should be a copy or two available of each of Stuart Oderman and Mack Sennett-related books at the book table at this summer's San Francisco Silent Film Festival. Otherwise, copies of Oderman's The Keystone Krowd are available on-line or through better independent bookstores.

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