As I Was Saying Before I Was So Rudely Interrupted......

Richard M Roberts
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Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 6:30 pm

As I Was Saying Before I Was So Rudely Interrupted......

Postby Richard M Roberts » Mon Jun 01, 2009 5:44 pm

I still think Mary Tyler Moore’s terrific……….

The irony being that she will probably never be mentioned again on this website.

Well, wasn’t that a fun kettle of fish a few weeks ago? I wasn’t going to bring it up again, but since the spineless weasel who runs Silent has decided to delete the whole thread, one might just want to recap for posterity and offer as an explanation for the creation of this newsgroup. Here `tis:

Sometime around Monday, May 4th of this year, it was brought to my attention by Paul Gierucki that I had been banned from the newsgroup Silent, apparently because I had told James Neibaur that he was wrong about Mary Tyler Moore. Finding this a bit odd, especially since I’ve been telling Jim Neibaur that he’s wrong for years, I tried to inquire as to what I had done to offend. I had never been given any reprimand for my behavior, either on or off the group, before my banning. I had no idea that my admittedly opinionated and gregarious prose had ruffled enough feathers to cause such a act, and felt this was a bit unfair.

But the nice thing was that almost immediately, a majority of the denizens of that newsgroup began to very vocally defend me, putting their names to their defenses. It was also interesting that the few people who were complaining about me were ones hiding behind silly-ass non-de-plumes, until they were shamed into admitting their real names. This car wreck went on for four or five days, during which time Sal (or whatever his real name is, interestingly he was one of the few who never revealed his true identity) contacted me, offering to let me back on the group if he could edit my material. I told him that I don’t allow the people who PAY me for my words to edit them, so I certainly wasn’t going to let an anonymous stranger do so.

Finally, a couple of old nemeses with some very old axes still grinding saw the fact that I was not there to defend myself and used that fact as a chance to try to take some cheap and somewhat slanderous shots at me rather than get on with their lives until I did make a dramatic return and counter them! TA-DA! Nobody stops the elusive Pimpernel! There I did say a couple of things that needed to be said, only one of which I want to repeat here, since the thread on was deleted. This has needed to be said somewhere for some time, just to stop some folk who have made false claims regarding it. Here `tis again:

“Oh yes, and one more thing, there are no “co-founders” of Slapsticon. The original 2003 Slapsticon, as well as the complete idea of putting on Slapsticon, was the responsibility of one man and one man only, Robert Farr. Bruce Lawton, Dave Stevenson, the Johnson Brothers, and Myself were contributors, but that whole first shebang was programmed, arranged, financially hustled, and managed by Robert Farr, who also put the program book together all by himself. He had both help and grief from the above named, and a lot of hard working volunteers, but it is he and he alone who has earned the credit “Founding Father”, and among some very big egos (including my own) , he does not get enough, nor seek enough credit.”

So finally, the whole “AN OPEN LETTER TO RICHARD M ROBERTS” thread was locked by Sal, ending with Paul Gierucki saying something about fists to noses, and about a week later, after the whole thread had beaten hit records for the site going beyond 4000-plus, Sal deleted the entire thing, which has earned my calling him a spineless weasel, I don’t know how this can even be considered offensive since I have no idea who he actually is. I don’t think he was protecting me, hey, there were a hell of a lot of nice words said about me, by the right people no less, but now the so-important civility of Silent has been preserved, and ain’t it been so exiting there ever since……..

Which brings us to this new newsgroup, and the reason for its existence. From the first day of what has now been termed the “four-day carwreck” on, we in the Silent Comedy Mafia began talking. It hit us that we had been sharing freely of our research and opinions on a site over which we had no control, run by a stranger who remained in the shadows, and who could fold the site and run any time he felt like it. And, in fact, it was my lovely and wonderful friend, Ms Linda M. Shah, the Chairman of Slapsticon and former LOC archivist who wisely pointed out that basically, Silent had been hijacked by the Silent Comedy Mafia into something that its creators really did not intend. They really wanted to just talk about how nice it would be to have dinner with Charlie Chaplin, or who is number four in the non-existent hierarchy of comedians, or the recent classic “What movie-star do you most resemble?” . So we all get on there and go on and on about Billy Franey and Lloyd Hamilton. The light bulb came on and we all realized that we needed our own site, and had been just too darn lazy to do it. This little contretemps woke us up and kicked us in the behind to go forth and create our own place where we can talk about what we want and know, in the way we like.

And so it was done. Welcome to, where the elite meet to eat.

Now, a few words of warning, this is NOT a public forum, it is a private club where members of the general public are allowed to come in, watch the proceedings, and join in the conversation if they dare. But as the published rules say (and I didn’t write these folks, Mr. Gierucki did) THIS MAY NOT BE THE FORUM FOR YOU! The folk here have known each other for years, and like to banter entertainingly, using words that are meant to inform and entertain, not boring academic jargon or other stuffy prose, in a censorship-free zone. It is assumed that any opinion stated is the opinion of the person saying it, as if it could be anyone else (okay, I’ll cop to it, I’ve been using Joe Shlobatkin’s opinions for decades rather than my own). Speaking of opinions, it is also considered here that no one is entitled to anything but an INFORMED opinion, so if you feel like coming on and saying something like “Buster Keaton was really an anti-Catholic Communist” or “Harry Langdon was really in a coma his entire life and was operated on strings and sticks by Frank Capra”, nobody’s going to stop you, but you’re likely to get called on it and have to defend yourself, and if you feel your widdle feelers being hurt by being told you’re wrong, be warned that the complaint department here is handled by yours truly.

And notice that the emoticons have been disabled. We here at have far more faith in the written word as a means of communication. There were no smiley faces in Shakespeare, or the Bible, or any other of the millions and billions of words put to paper over the centuries, and they all got along just fine. If you are the sort who can’t tell the tone without them, you might want to look elsewhere, like the 17 year old Swedish film geek on who seemed to be taking my use of the term “virgin eyes” a bit too personally, better take them out an put them in a glass of water till they feel better or find a group less testing of your sense of humor.

And, here’s the big one, you have to use your real name here. An opinion is not an opinion unless it has a name attached to it, and we all consider it your responsibility to stand by your words. If it’s a deal-breaker, sorry, but we’re only talking about old movies and dead comedians most of the World could care less about here, if you can’t stand by your opinions on that with your name, you aren’t entitled to it.

And note the line in the rules about being allowed entry into this place. We mean it. This ain’t a democracy folk, we started this place for us, and a few of our friends. Most of the rest of you may be welcome but it is on our terms, and we may revoke them if we feel the need. And yes, there will be a few not welcome for various reasons, but those who find themselves in that position might ponder that we actually do this for the protection of their own feelings and selves. Go start your own newsgroup if you don’t like it, it’s easier than you think.

Anyway, we’re really getting all the rough talk out in front first, most likely things will fall into their usual peaceful routine. We hope to bring you some interesting tidbits about the Comedy Film Industry in the coming weeks, but remember we’re still working all the kinks out. In any event, the doors are open, come on in if you have the key. And Welcome.


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