Walter Lantz in comedy shorts?

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Louie Despres
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Walter Lantz in comedy shorts?

Postby Louie Despres » Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:37 pm

Profiles in History has an auction coming up in May and one of their lots is described as such:

Collection of six (6) gelatin silver 8 in. x 10 in. stills featuring Walter Lantz, presumably for Mack Sennett two-reel shorts which he appeared in briefly. After moving to Hollywood in 1927, Lantz worked for director Frank Capra as well as a gag writer for the Mack Sennett comedies and Lantz is featured in all of the photographs together with other actors. A rare collection of photographs from early in his career.

I had never heard this information before. They gave us 4 of the stills to preview. Anyone recognize anybody else in them or give some definite info??:

Image
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Robert Arkus
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Re: Walter Lantz in comedy shorts?

Postby Robert Arkus » Fri Apr 22, 2011 8:46 pm

These are great stills ... I don't know about Lantz working for Sennett, but I know he worked for Bray and did a seies of comedies with animated characters incorporated into the live action called Dinky Doodles. These stills look like they're from one of the Bray comedies in the late twenties with Tiny Ward and Marny Shaw.

Steve Massa
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Re: Walter Lantz in comedy shorts?

Postby Steve Massa » Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:49 am

Hi guys -- These shots are from the Bray live-action two-reeler BARNYARD RIVALS ('28) in which Lantz is the comedy star. As Rob mentioned the other two leads are Tiny Ward and Marny Shaw. Lantz and Tiny Ward are rivals for Ms. Shaw's favor, and the climax of the film is an auto race with the winner going to get her hand. There are a number of animation gags in the short, such as musical notes coming in Lantz's window in the morning and going into his ear to wake him up, etc.

I know that Lantz did some animation effects for Sennett in the mid 1920s, but I'm not sure if he appeared on camera there. Brent can correct me on that. -- Steve

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Re: Walter Lantz in comedy shorts?

Postby Louie Despres » Sat Apr 23, 2011 11:36 am

Thanks for the info Steve, does the film survive?

Steve Massa
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Re: Walter Lantz in comedy shorts?

Postby Steve Massa » Sat Apr 23, 2011 11:47 am

Yes, and in fact it was Mr. Arkus who gave me a copy on video five or so years ago.

Steve Rydzewski
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Re: Walter Lantz in comedy shorts?

Postby Steve Rydzewski » Sat Apr 23, 2011 12:56 pm

Hello Folks....
Lantz did work for Sennett in 1927/28 but as a gagwriter, not an animator.
Unless someone can dig up actual quotes that he did indeed animate at Sennett, as far as I know, he did not.
And it is possible that he appeared in some Sennett shorts 'tho I've never noticed him in any of the extant films.

SteveR

Steve Massa
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Re: Walter Lantz in comedy shorts?

Postby Steve Massa » Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:18 pm

I know this is a symptom of my obssessive nature, but here's a Lantz quote from Joe Adamson's book THE WALTER LANTZ STORY (pages 66 & 67) about the Sennett feature THE GOOD-BYE KISS ('28):

"Mack Sennett was doing this feature, a World War I story, where they had soldiers in trenches and they were scratching, from the cooties in their shirts. Sennett wanted to show this huge cootie going across the battlefield, and when the soldiers saw this they would all drop their guns and run out of the trenches.

"The Old Man asked me if I could do this shot. I said "Yeah. Just give me the film of the scared soldiers, and on cue have then throwing up their rifles and running off into the distance." Looking at me dubiously, he said okay.

"So they gave me the shot and I animated this cootie, which was just about a black dot with six legs walking across the screen. It took me about fifty drawings and one afternoon to make this silly little scene. But I couldn't just do a cootie walking acrosss the screen, it was nothing. I had a captain look at the scene through his binoculars, and I showed the cootie in the binoculars going around the binocular frame - going up one side, sliding down the other.

"Then in their optical department they superimposed this cootie over the shot of the soldiers. By the time I did it and they processed it, it was about a week's work. I ran the film for the gagmen, and they all okayed it."

Steve Rydzewski
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Re: Walter Lantz in comedy shorts?

Postby Steve Rydzewski » Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:11 pm

Nice Steve, and thanks for posting that story!
I never heard anything about Lantz "animating" for Sennett.
Lantz himself told me years ago that he was one of their gagwriters and never did mention having done any animation.
Perhaps Sennett was in desperation for the cootie gag and remembered he had Lantz.
I'm sure Walt would have jumped at the chance to do some drawing! Acting too!
I wonder if any animation info is in the production reports for The Good-Bye Kiss(?).
Just checked Sherk's Sennett book and he lists Lantz only twice, both as collaborative writer of Uncle Tom (Smith Family) and Foolish Husbands (Bevan).
Nothing there for Lantz under Kiss.
Want now go check Brent's book unless Mr. Walker is out there...

SteveR

Jim Kerkhoff
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Re: Walter Lantz in comedy shorts?

Postby Jim Kerkhoff » Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:01 pm

Where else but here at Silent Comedy Mafia would you get such fascinating "in the weeds" tidbits about obscure facets of silent comedy history! This puts Woody Woodpecker in a whole new light for me! I absolutely love it! Thanks

Jim K

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Re: Walter Lantz in comedy shorts?

Postby Richard M Roberts » Sun Apr 24, 2011 9:22 pm

Steve Rydzewski wrote:Nice Steve, and thanks for posting that story!
I never heard anything about Lantz "animating" for Sennett.
Lantz himself told me years ago that he was one of their gagwriters and never did mention having done any animation.
Perhaps Sennett was in desperation for the cootie gag and remembered he had Lantz.
I'm sure Walt would have jumped at the chance to do some drawing! Acting too!
I wonder if any animation info is in the production reports for The Good-Bye Kiss(?).
Just checked Sherk's Sennett book and he lists Lantz only twice, both as collaborative writer of Uncle Tom (Smith Family) and Foolish Husbands (Bevan).
Nothing there for Lantz under Kiss.
Want now go check Brent's book unless Mr. Walker is out there...

SteveR



My question is, if Lantz didn't do any animation at Sennett, who did do the nice little animated gags you see in films like GOOSELAND (1925) or the animated playing card in A HAREM KNIGHT (1926)?

RICHARD M ROBERTS


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