Canadian History for Kids!
Sketches of Canada for September 23rd!
The king of comedy…a Canadian? Well in the 1910′s he sure was!
Mack Sennett releases his first Keystone comedy on September 23, 1912. This Canadian History for Kids, Sketches of Canada, looks at the life of Mack Sennett.
Born on Jan. 17, 1880 in Danville, Quebec, Sennett was raised the son of Irish immigrant farmers who moved the family to Connecticut when he was 17. They lived for a time in Northampton, Maryland where the young Sennett had his first taste of vaudeville.
After an encounter with fellow Canadian Marie Dressler, the young Sennett was introduced to producer David Belasco and he soon had a new career on the vaudeville stage.
This Canadian History for Kids article continues in New York when he met the film producer-director D.W. Griffith, for whom he played a lot of roles at the famed Biograph Company. He played sleuth Sherlock Holmes a number of times, but often he played in comedies.
Sennett had set up his own Keystone Studios in Hollywood. Comedies were cranked out at production-line speed, with several produced in one day from an outline prepared under Sennett’s supervision.
Once dubbed “The King of Comedy,” he introduced the world to such stars as Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle and Mabel Normand.
From 1912-17, Keystone became noted for the Sennett Bathing Beauties and the zany antics of the Keystone Kops, a group of anonymous police officers who fumbled their way through chases.
While he made many titles throughout the 1920s, most notably “The Extra Girl” (1923) with Normand, Sennett’s films were destroyed by distributor Warner Bros. and no longer exist.
He received an honorary Oscar in 1938 and appeared onscreen in several documentaries and compilation films. His Keystone Kops re-emerged in “Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Kops”. Five years later, Sennett died on Nov. 5, 1960 in Woodland Hills, CA. He was 80 years old.
And that’s this week Canadian History for Kids Sketches of Canada!