Sorry for the late entry. Can only speak for myself, but my first exposure where the Robert Youngson films: "When Comedy Was King," and "The Golden Age of Comedy." My dad brought me to the cinima to see those, and they were packed with men, grandpas and kid of all ages. I liked everything, the zippy bango music, sound effects and clever narration. The sight gags were the best of the best all tightly edited. I vividly remember Snum Pollard using his magnet car and wondered if was possible.
The stars were Laurel and Hardy, just to see something my father hadn't seen in over 30 years got my attention. I liked L&H as good friends, then read anything I could about them. T.V. was introducing me to "Little Rascals," and the Columbia shorts as well. They were funny and sexy too. On contemporary t.v. there was not a Chistine McIintre on any of those "Father Knows Best," Ozzie and Harriot, June Beaver. et al. There was something sexy and funny going on in the theatres.
This changes when Fractured Flickers came on. It was hilarious; tightly edited, funny sight gags, and those voices. Then in college, rediscovered the Marx Bros. and and W.C. and Buster.
I got to develop my taste. First the Hal Roach music, then identification of actors. Same for the rest of the other series. Then in the late 1960's. Nothing on t.v. I found out the Marx Bros. with the intellectual set in college.
So, to answer your question. I would try and expose kids to watch some of these on the big screen. I brought Tommy Butch Bond with me one and made it an occasion. They related to him. Then we played a "silent" Big Business. Those kids just screamed.
Thanks for the question, I've got your book as well. And I spent 30 years in law enforcement.