Tuesday, March 9, 2010

More six degrees of separation: Mack Sennett

Speaking of six degrees of cinematic separation - I just finished writing about a fantastic new book about Mack Sennett. It's called Mack Sennett's Fun Factory, and it's by Brent E. Walker. The book was recently published by McFarland.

What caught my attention were the handful Mack Sennett regulars who were also associated with Louise Brooks through an appearance in one or more of her films. Of course, familiars Ford Sterling and Wallace Beery come to mind. Each of them were in two films with Brooks. 

Also, the mustached Chester Conklin was in A Social Celebrity (1926), while the lovely Natalie Kingston (pictured right) was in A Girl in Every Port (1928). One fact I was amazed to find out is that Kingston was the great granddaughter of General Vallejo, for whom the city of Vallejo, California is named. That's not far from where I live! Kingston grew up there.

And as well, Sennett standout Roscoe Fatty Arbuckle directed Brooks in Windy Riley Goes Hollywood (1931), a short made for Educational when both Brooks and Arbuckle were on the way down in their respective careers. Another Sennett associate is James Abbe, the acclaimed photographer who took a handful of fantastic photographs of Louise Brooks at the time she was in Paris filming Prix de Beaute (1930). Later in life, Abbe ended up as the TV critic for the Oakland Tribune newspaper. Some day, somebody should publish his memoirs. He lead an incredible life.

2 comments:

  1. when one considers how short Louise's career really was the number of well known/legendary people she worked with is pretty amazing! from Fatty to John Wayne and many points in between!

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  2. Thanks Thomas, and having stumbled upon a number of James Abbe's Oakland Tribune columns with their interesting anecdotes, it would be great to see his memoirs in print. Several writers who worked for Sennett were also newspapermen at various times--including Reed Heustis who also later worked for the Oakland Tribune for a number of years.

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