Tag Archives: biggest stars

Roscoe ”Fatty” Arbuckle

Roscoe Arbuckle 4

Roscoe Conkling “Fatty” Arbuckle (March 24, 1887 – June 29, 1933) was an American silent film actor, comedian, director, and screenwriter.

Starting at the Selig Polyscope Company he eventually moved to Keystone Studios, where he worked with Mabel Normand and Harold Lloyd. He mentored Charlie Chaplin and discovered Buster Keaton and Bob Hope. Arbuckle was one of the most popular silent stars of the 1910s, and soon became one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, signing a contract in 1920 with Paramount Pictures for US$1 million (equivalent to approximately $14,000,000 in 2017 dollars[1]).

Between November 1921 and April 1922, Arbuckle was the defendant in three widely publicized trials for the rape and manslaughter of actress Virginia Rappe. Rappe had fallen ill at a party hosted by Arbuckle at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco in September 1921; she died four days later. Arbuckle was accused by Rappe’s acquaintance of raping and accidentally killing Rappe. After the first two trials, which resulted in hung juries, Arbuckle was acquitted in the third trial and received a formal written statement of apology from the jury.

Roscoe Arbuckle 2

Roscoe Arbuckle Trial – Chicago Herald Examiner Newspaper Coverage

Despite Arbuckle’s acquittal, the scandal has mostly overshadowed his legacy as a pioneering comedian. Following the trials, his films were banned and he was publicly ostracized. Although the ban on his films was lifted within a year, Arbuckle only worked sparingly through the 1920s. He later worked as a film director under the alias William Goodrich. He was finally able to return to acting, making short two-reel comedies in 1932 for Warner Bros.

He died in his sleep of a heart attack in 1933 at age 46, reportedly on the same day he signed a contract with Warner Brothers to make a feature film.[2]

Roscoe Arbuckle 5


Early life

Roscoe Conkling Arbuckle was born on March 24, 1887 in Smith Center, Kansas, one of nine children of Mary E. “Mollie” Gordon (d. February 19, 1898) and William Goodrich Arbuckle.[3] He weighed in excess of 13 lb (5.9 kg) at birth and, as both parents had slim builds, his father believed the child was not his. Consequently, he named the baby after a politician (and notorious philanderer) whom he despised, Republican senator Roscoe Conkling of New York. The birth was traumatic for Mollie and resulted in chronic health problems that contributed to her death 12 years later.[4] When Arbuckle was nearly two his family moved to Santa Ana, California.[5]

Roscoe Arbuckle 7

Young Roscoe Arbuckle

Arbuckle had a “wonderful” singing voice and was extremely agile. At the age of eight, with his mother’s encouragement, he first performed on stage with Frank Bacon’s company during their stopover in Santa Ana.[5]

Arbuckle enjoyed performing and continued on until his mother’s death in 1899 when he was 12.

Roscoe Arbuckle 6

Young Roscoe Arbuckle in his stage performance outfit 

His father, who had always treated him harshly,[6] now refused to support him and Arbuckle got work doing odd jobs in a hotel. Arbuckle was in the habit of singing while he worked and was overheard by a customer who was a professional singer.

The customer invited him to perform in an amateur talent show. The show consisted of the audience judging acts by clapping or jeering with bad acts pulled off the stage by a shepherd’s crook. Arbuckle sang, danced, and did some clowning around, but did not impress the audience. He saw the crook emerge from the wings and to avoid it somersaulted into the orchestra pit in obvious panic. The audience went wild, and he not only won the competition but began a career in vaudeville.[4]

Roscoe Arbuckle 8

Roscoe Arbuckle – from vaudeville to motion pictures


In 1904, Sid Grauman invited Arbuckle to sing in his new Unique Theater in San Francisco, beginning a long friendship between the two.[7][8] He then joined the Pantages Theatre Group touring the West Coast of the United States and in 1906 played the Orpheum Theater in Portland, Oregon in a vaudeville troupe organized by Leon Errol. Arbuckle became the main act and the group took their show on tour.[9]

Roscoe Arbuckle 9

The Pantages Theatre Group at the Savoy Theatre, Palace Grand Theatre, Yukon

On August 6, 1908, Arbuckle married Minta Durfee (1889–1975), the daughter of Charles Warren Durfee and Flora Adkins.

Durfee starred in many early comedy films, often with Arbuckle.[10][11] They made a strange couple, as Minta was short and petite while Arbuckle tipped the scales at 300 lbs.[4] Arbuckle then joined the Morosco Burbank Stock vaudeville company and went on a tour of China and Japan returning in early 1909.[12]

Roscoe Arbuckle 66

Roscoe Arbuckle and Minta Durfee in a promotional photo for an early Mack Sennett film

Roscoe Arbuckle 11

Roscoe Arbuckle and Minta Durfee in Fatty’s Chance Acquaintance (Roscoe Arbuckle, 1915)

Arbuckle began his film career with the Selig Polyscope Company in July 1909 when he appeared in Ben’s Kid.

Arbuckle appeared sporadically in Selig one-reelers until 1913, moved briefly to Universal Pictures and became a star in producer-director Mack Sennett‘s Keystone Cops comedies (However, according to the Motion Picture Studio Directory for 1919 and 1921, Arbuckle began his screen career with Keystone in 1913 as an extra for $3 a day (equivalent to approximately $74 in 2017 dollars[1]), working his way up through the acting ranks to become a lead player and director.)

Keystone Cops

Roscoe Arbuckle in Mack Sennett’s Keystone Cops

Although his large size was undoubtedly part of his comedic appeal Arbuckle was self-conscious about his weight and refused to use it to get “cheap” laughs. For example, he would not allow himself to be stuck in a doorway or chair.[citation needed]

Arbuckle was a talented singer. After famed operatic tenor Enrico Caruso heard him sing, he urged the comedian to “…give up this nonsense you do for a living, with training you could become the second greatest singer in the world.”[13]

Roscoe Arbuckle 13

Roscoe Arbuckle in Mack Sennett’s Keystone Cops

Screen comedian


Despite his physical size, Arbuckle was remarkably agile and acrobatic. Director Mack Sennett, when recounting his first meeting with Arbuckle, noted that he “skipped up the stairs as lightly as Fred Astaire“; and, “without warning went into a feather light step, clapped his hands and did a backward somersault as graceful as a girl tumbler”.

His comedies are noted as rollicking and fast-paced, have many chase scenes, and feature sight gags. Arbuckle was fond of the “pie in the face“, a comedy cliché that has come to symbolize silent-film-era comedy itself. The earliest known pie thrown in film was in the June 1913 Keystone one-reeler A Noise from the Deep, starring Arbuckle and frequent screen partner Mabel Normand.

Roscoe Arbuckle 14

Roscoe Arbuckle and Mabel Normand in A Noise from the Deep (Mack Sennett, 1913)

Roscoe Arbuckle 15

Roscoe Arbuckle and Mabel Normand in  Fatty’s Wine Party (Roscoe Arbuckle, 1914)

In 1914, Paramount Pictures made the then-unheard-of offer of US$1,000-a-day plus 25% of all profits and complete artistic control to make movies with Arbuckle and Normand. The movies were so lucrative and popular that in 1918 they offered Arbuckle a three-year, $3 million contract (equivalent to about $49,000,000 in 2017 dollars[1]).[14]

Roscoe Arbuckle 16

Roscoe Arbuckle and Mabel Normand in Fatty and Mabel Adrift (Roscoe Arbuckle, 1916)

By 1916, Arbuckle was experiencing serious health problems. An infection that developed on his leg became a carbuncle so severe that doctors considered amputation. Although Arbuckle was able to keep his leg, he became addicted to the pain killer morphine.

Following his recovery, Arbuckle started his own film company, Comique, in partnership with Joseph Schenck. Although Comique produced some of the best short pictures of the silent era, in 1918 Arbuckle transferred his controlling interest in the company to Buster Keaton and accepted Paramount’s $3 million offer to make up to 18 feature films over three years.[4]

Roscoe Arbuckle 19

Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton in Good Night, Nurse! (Roscoe Arbuckle, 1918)

Roscoe Arbuckle 18

Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton in Coney Island (Roscoe Arbuckle, 1917)

Roscoe Arbuckle 17

Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton in The Garage (Roscoe Arbuckle, 1920)

Arbuckle disliked his screen nickname. “Fatty” had also been Arbuckle’s nickname since school; “It was inevitable”, he said. He weighed 185lb (13st 3lb, 84kg) when he was 12. Fans also called Roscoe “The Prince of Whales” and “The Balloonatic”.

However, the name Fatty identifies the character that Arbuckle portrayed on-screen (usually a naive hayseed)—not Arbuckle himself. When Arbuckle portrayed a female, the character was named “Miss Fatty”, as in the film Miss Fatty’s Seaside Lovers.

Arbuckle discouraged anyone from addressing him as “Fatty” off-screen, and when they did so his usual response was, “I’ve got a name, you know.”[15]

Roscoe Arbuckle 20

Roscoe Arbuckle in Miss Fatty’s Seaside Lovers (Roscoe Arbuckle, 1915)


This 1922 Vanity Fair caricature by Ralph Barton[16] shows the famous people who, he imagined, left work each day in Hollywood; use cursor to identify individual figures.

On September 5, 1921, Arbuckle took a break from his hectic film schedule and, despite suffering from second-degree burns to both buttocks from an accident on set, drove to San Francisco with two friends, Lowell Sherman and Fred Fishback.

Lowell Sherman 1

Lowell Sherman

Fread Fishbach 1

Fred Fishbach (on the left) with Fred Hibbard and Edith Roberts

The three checked into three rooms at the St. Francis Hotel: 1219 for Arbuckle and Fishback to share, 1221 for Sherman, and 1220 designated as a party room.

Several women were invited to the suite. During the carousing, a 26-year-old aspiring actress named Virginia Rappe was found seriously ill in room 1219 and was examined by the hotel doctor, who concluded her symptoms were mostly caused by intoxication, and gave her morphine to calm her. Rappe was not hospitalized until two days after the incident.[2]

Virginia Rappe 1

Virginia Rappe

Virginia Rappe 2

Virginia Rappe

Virginia Rappe 3

Virginia Rappe

Virginia Rappe 4

 Suite 1221 of St. Francis Hotel shortly after Arbuckle’s party

Virginia Rappe suffered from chronic cystitis,[17] a condition that liquor irritated dramatically. Her heavy drinking habits and the poor quality of the era’s bootleg alcohol could leave her in severe physical distress.

She developed a reputation for over-imbibing at parties, then drunkenly tearing at her clothes from the resulting physical pain. But by the time of the St. Francis Hotel party, her reproductive health was a greater concern. Despite reports trying to paint her in a bad light, the autopsy revealed she never had any abortion nor was pregnant.

At the hospital, Rappe’s companion at the party, Bambina Maude Delmont, told Rappe’s doctor that Arbuckle had raped her friend.

Roscoe Arbuckle 21

Roscoe Arbuckle Trial

Roscoe Arbuckle 22

Roscoe Arbuckle Trial

Roscoe Arbuckle 23

Police photos of Roscoe Arbuckle

The doctor examined Rappe but found no evidence of rape. Rappe died one day after her hospitalization of peritonitis, caused by a ruptured bladder. Delmont then told police that Arbuckle raped Rappe, and the police concluded that the impact Arbuckle’s overweight body had on Rappe eventually caused her bladder to rupture.[2]

Rappe’s manager Al Semnacker (at a later press conference) accused Arbuckle of using a piece of ice to simulate sex with her, which led to the injuries.[18] By the time the story was reported in newspapers, the object had evolved into being a Coca-Cola or champagne bottle, instead of a piece of ice. In fact, witnesses testified that Arbuckle rubbed the ice on Rappe’s stomach to ease her abdominal pain. Arbuckle denied any wrongdoing. Delmont later made a statement incriminating Arbuckle to the police in an attempt to extort money from Arbuckle’s attorneys.[19]

Roscoe Arbuckle 24

Newspaper coverage of the Arbuckle trial

Roscoe Arbuckle 25

Newspaper coverage of the Arbuckle trial

Roscoe Arbuckle 26

Newspaper coverage of the Arbuckle trial

Arbuckle’s trial was a major media event; William Randolph Hearst‘s nationwide newspaper chain exploited the situation with exaggerated and sensationalized stories.

The story was fueled by yellow journalism, with the newspapers portraying him as a gross lecher who used his weight to overpower innocent girls. Hearst was gratified by the profits he accrued during the Arbuckle scandal, and later said that it had “sold more newspapers than any event since the sinking of the Lusitania.[20]Morality groups called for Arbuckle to be sentenced to death. The resulting scandal destroyed Arbuckle’s career and his personal life.

Roscoe Arbuckle 27

Newspaper coverage of the Arbuckle trial and sensationalist reporting

Arbuckle was regarded by those who knew him closely as a good-natured man who was shy with women; he has been described as “the most chaste man in pictures”.[4] However, studio executives, fearing negative publicity by association, ordered Arbuckle’s industry friends and fellow actors (whose careers they controlled) not to publicly speak up for him.

Charlie Chaplin, who was in Britain at the time, told reporters that he could not (and would not) believe Roscoe Arbuckle had anything to do with Virginia Rappe’s death; having known Arbuckle since they both worked at Keystone in 1914, Chaplin “knew Roscoe to be a genial, easy-going type who would not harm a fly.”[21]

Roscoe Arbuckle 28

Roscoe Arbuckle and Charles Chaplin

Roscoe Arbuckle 29

Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton

Buster Keaton reportedly did make one public statement in support of Arbuckle’s innocence which earned him a mild reprimand from the studio where he worked.

Film actor William S. Hart, who had never met or worked with Arbuckle, made a number of damaging public statements in which he presumed that Arbuckle was guilty. Arbuckle later wrote a premise for a film parodying Hart as a thief, bully, and wife beater, which Keaton purchased from him.

The following year in 1922, Keaton co-wrote, directed and starred in The Frozen North, the resulting film, and as a result, Hart refused to speak to Keaton for many years.[22][23]

William S Hart 1

William S Hart

Buster Keaton 1

Buster Keaton in The Frozen North (Edward F Cline and Buster Keaton, 1922)


The prosecutor, San Francisco District Attorney Matthew Brady, an intensely ambitious man who planned to run for governor, made public pronouncements of Arbuckle’s guilt and pressured witnesses to make false statements. Brady at first used Delmont as his star witness during the indictment hearing.[2]

The defense had also obtained a letter from Delmont admitting to a plan to extort payment from Arbuckle. In view of Delmont’s constantly changing story, her testimony would have ended any chance of going to trial.

Ultimately, the judge found no evidence of rape. After hearing testimony from one of the party guests, Zey Prevon, that Rappe told her “Roscoe hurt me” on her deathbed, the judge decided that Arbuckle could be charged with first-degree murder. Brady had originally planned to seek the death penalty. The charge was later reduced to manslaughter.[2]

Roscoe Arbuckle 33


First trial

On September 17, 1921, Arbuckle was arrested and arraigned on the charges of manslaughter, but arranged bail after nearly three weeks in jail.

The trial began November 14, 1921, in the city courthouse in San Francisco.[2] Arbuckle’s defense lawyer was Gavin McNab, a professional and competent local attorney that Arbuckle hired as his lead defense counsel.

The principal witness was Ms. Zey Prevon, a guest at the party.[24] At the beginning of the trial Arbuckle told his already-estranged wife, Minta Durfee, that he did not harm Rappe; she believed him and appeared regularly in the courtroom to support him. Public feeling was so negative that she was later shot at while entering the courthouse.[20]

Brady’s first witnesses during the trial included Betty Campbell, a model, who attended the September 5 party and testified that she saw Arbuckle with a smile on his face hours after the alleged rape occurred; Grace Hultson, a local hospital nurse who testified it was very likely that Arbuckle raped Rappe and bruised her body in the process; and Dr. Edward Heinrich, a local criminologist who claimed he found Arbuckle’s fingerprints smeared with Rappe’s blood on room 1219’s bathroom door.

Roscoe Arbuckle 34

Dr. Arthur Beardslee, the hotel doctor who had examined Rappe, testified that an external force seemed to have damaged the bladder. During cross-examination, Betty Campbell, however, revealed that Brady threatened to charge her with perjury if she did not testify against Arbuckle. Dr. Heinrich’s claim to have found fingerprints was cast into doubt after McNab produced the St. Francis hotel maid, who testified that she had cleaned the room before the investigation even took place and did not find any blood on the bathroom door.

Dr. Beardslee admitted that Rappe had never mentioned being assaulted while he was treating her. McNab was furthermore able to get Nurse Hultson to admit that the rupture of Rappe’s bladder could very well have been a result of cancer, and that the bruises on her body could also have been a result of the heavy jewelry she was wearing that evening.[2] During the defense stage of the trial, McNab called various pathology experts who testified that although Rappe’s bladder had ruptured, there was evidence of chronic inflammation and no evidence of any pathological changes preceding the rupture; in other words, there was no external cause for the rupture.[citation needed]

Roscoe Arbuckle 35

Roscoe Arbuckle and his defence team in the Courtroom

On November 28, Arbuckle testified as the defense’s final witness. Arbuckle was simple, direct, and unflustered in both direct and cross examination. In his testimony, Arbuckle claimed that Rappe (whom he testified that he had known for five or six years) came into the party room (1220) around noon that day, and that some time afterward Mae Taub (daughter-in-law of Billy Sunday) asked him for a ride into town, so he went to his room (1219) to change his clothes and discovered Rappe in the bathroom vomiting in the toilet.

Arbuckle then claimed Rappe told him she felt ill and asked to lie down, and that he carried her into the bedroom and asked a few of the party guests to help treat her. When Arbuckle and a few of the guests re-entered the room, they found Rappe on the floor near the bed tearing at her clothing and going into violent convulsions. To calm Rappe down, they placed her in a bathtub of cool water. Arbuckle and Fischbach then took her to room 1227 and called the hotel manager and doctor. After the doctor declared that Rappe was just drunk, Arbuckle then drove Taub to town.

Roscoe Arbuckle 38

During the whole trial, the prosecution presented medical descriptions of Rappe’s bladder as evidence that she had an illness. In his testimony, Arbuckle denied he had any knowledge of Rappe’s illness. During cross-examination, Assistant District Attorney Leo Friedman aggressively grilled Arbuckle over the fact that he refused to call a doctor when he found Rappe sick, and argued that he refused to do so because he knew of Rappe’s illness and saw a perfect opportunity to rape and kill her.

Arbuckle calmly maintained that he never physically hurt or sexually assaulted Rappe in any way during the September 5 party, and he also claimed that he never made any inappropriate sexual advances against any woman in his life. After over two weeks of testimony with 60 prosecution and defense witnesses, including 18 doctors who testified about Rappe’s illness, the defense rested. On December 4, 1921, the jury returned five days later deadlocked after nearly 44 hours of deliberation with a 10–2 not guilty verdict, and a mistrial was declared.[2]

Arbuckle’s attorneys later concentrated their attention on one woman named Helen Hubbard who had told jurors that she would vote guilty “until hell freezes over”. She refused to look at the exhibits or read the trial transcripts, having made up her mind in the courtroom. Hubbard’s husband was a lawyer who did business with the D.A.’s office,[25] and expressed surprise that she was not challenged when selected for the jury pool.

Roscoe Arbuckle 39

Roscoe Arbuckle Trial – Newspaper Coverage

While much attention was paid to Hubbard after the trial, some other jury members felt Arbuckle was guilty but not beyond a reasonable doubt, and various jurors joined Hubbard in voting to convict, including – repeatedly at the end – Thomas Kilkenny.

Arbuckle researcher Joan Myers describes the political climate and the media attention to the presence of women on juries (which had only been legal for four years at the time), and how Arbuckle’s defense immediately singled out Hubbard as a villain; Myers also records Hubbard’s account of the jury foreman August Fritze’s attempts to bully her into changing her vote. While Hubbard offered explanations on her vote whenever challenged, Kilkenny remained silent and quickly faded from the media spotlight after the trial ended.[26]

Second trial

The second trial began January 11, 1922, with a new jury, but with the same legal defense and prosecution as well as the same presiding judge.

The same evidence was presented, but this time one of the witnesses, Zey Prevon, testified that Brady had forced her to lie. Another witness who testified during the first trial, a former security guard named Jesse Norgard, who worked at Culver Studios where Arbuckle worked, testified that Arbuckle had once shown up at the studio and offered him a cash bribe in exchange for the key to Rappe’s dressing room. The comedian supposedly said he wanted it to play a joke on the actress. Norgard said he refused to give him the key.

Roscoe Arbuckle 36

Roscoe Arbuckle Trial – Second Trial Jury

During cross-examination, Norgard’s testimony was called into question when he was revealed to be an ex-convict who was currently charged with sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl, and who was also looking for a sentence reduction from Brady in exchange for his testimony. Further, in contrast to the first trial, Rappe’s history of promiscuity and heavy drinking was detailed. The second trial also discredited some major evidence such as the identification of Arbuckle’s fingerprints on the hotel bedroom door: Heinrich took back his earlier testimony from the first trial and testified that the fingerprint evidence was likely faked. The defense was so convinced of an acquittal that Arbuckle was not called to testify. Arbuckle’s lawyer, McNab, made no closing argument to the jury. However, some jurors interpreted the refusal to let Arbuckle testify as a sign of guilt. After over 40 hours of deliberation, the jury returned February 3, deadlocked with a 10–2 not guilty verdict, resulting in another mistrial.[2]

Third trial

By the time of the third trial, Arbuckle’s films had been banned, and newspapers had been filled for the past seven months with stories of alleged Hollywood orgies, murder, and sexual perversion. Delmont was touring the country giving one-woman shows as “The woman who signed the murder charge against Arbuckle”, and lecturing on the evils of Hollywood.

Roscoe Arbuckle 37

Roscoe Arbuckle Trial – Third Trial

The third trial began March 13, 1922, and this time the defense took no chances. McNab took an aggressive defense, completely tearing apart the prosecution’s case with long and aggressive examination and cross-examination of each witness. McNab also managed to get in still more evidence about Virginia Rappe’s lurid past and medical history. Another hole in the prosecution’s case was opened because Zey Prevon, a key witness, was out of the country after fleeing police custody and unable to testify.[2]

As in the first trial, Arbuckle testified as the final witness and again maintained his denials in his heartfelt testimony about his version of the events at the hotel party. During closing statements, McNab reviewed how flawed the case was against Arbuckle from the very start and how District Attorney Brady fell for the outlandish charges of Maude Delmont, whom McNab described as “the complaining witness who never witnessed”.

Roscoe Arbuckle 40

The jury began deliberations April 12, and took only six minutes to return with a unanimous not guilty verdict—five of those minutes were spent writing a formal statement of apology to Arbuckle for putting him through the ordeal; a dramatic move in American justice. The jury statement as read by the jury foreman stated:

Acquittal is not enough for Roscoe Arbuckle. We feel that a great injustice has been done him. We feel also that it was only our plain duty to give him this exoneration, under the evidence, for there was not the slightest proof adduced to connect him in any way with the commission of a crime. He was manly throughout the case and told a straightforward story on the witness stand, which we all believed. The happening at the hotel was an unfortunate affair for which Arbuckle, so the evidence shows, was in no way responsible. We wish him success and hope that the American people will take the judgment of fourteen men and woman who have sat listening for thirty-one days to evidence, that Roscoe Arbuckle is entirely innocent and free from all blame.

Roscoe Arbuckle 41

Roscoe Arbuckle in Court

After the reading of the apology statement, the jury foreman personally handed the statement to Arbuckle who kept it as a treasured memento for the rest of his life. Then, one by one, the entire 12-person jury plus the two jury alternates walked up to Arbuckle’s defense table where they shook his hand and/or embraced and personally apologized to him. The entire jury even proudly posed in a photo op with Arbuckle for photographers after the verdict and apology.

Some experts later concluded that Rappe’s bladder might also have ruptured as a result of an abortion she might have had a short time before the September 5 party. Rappe’s organs had been destroyed and it was now impossible to test for pregnancy. Because alcohol was consumed at the party, Arbuckle was forced to plead guilty to one count of violating the Volstead Act, and had to pay a $500 fine. At the time of his acquittal, Arbuckle owed over $700,000 (equivalent to approximately $10,200,000 in 2017 dollars[1]) in legal fees to his attorneys for the three criminal trials, and he was forced to sell his house and all of his cars to pay some of the debt.[2]

The scandal and trials had greatly damaged his popularity among the general public, and in spite of the acquittal and the apology, his reputation was not restored, and the effects of the scandal continued. Will H. Hays, who served as the head of the newly formed Motion Pictures Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA) Hollywood censor board, cited Arbuckle as an example of the poor morals in Hollywood. On April 18, 1922, six days after Arbuckle’s acquittal, Hays banned Roscoe Arbuckle from ever working in U.S. movies again. He had also requested that all showings and bookings of Arbuckle films be cancelled, and exhibitors complied.

Will Hays  3.jpg

Will Hays – On April 18, 1922, six days after Arbuckle’s acquittal, Hays banned Roscoe Arbuckle from ever working in U.S. movies again

In December of the same year, under public pressure, Hays elected to lift the ban. However, Arbuckle was still unable to secure work as an actor.[2] Most exhibitors still declined to show Arbuckle’s films, several of which now have no copies known to have survived intact.

One of Arbuckle’s feature-length films known to survive is Leap Year, which Paramount declined to release in the United States due to the scandal.[27] It was eventually released in Europe.[28] With Arbuckle’s films now banned, in March 1922, Buster Keaton signed an agreement to give Arbuckle 35 percent of all future profits from his company, Buster Keaton Productions, to ease his financial situation.[23]

Roscoe Arbuckle 43

Roscoe Arbuckle in Leap Year (James Cruze/Roscoe Arbuckle, 1924)

Similar concurrent scandals

Although it was regarded as Hollywood’s first major scandal,[2] the Arbuckle case was one of five major Paramount-related scandals of the period. In 1920, silent film actress Olive Thomas died after accidentally drinking mercury bichloride, which her husband, matinee idol Jack Pickford, had been using as a topical treatment for syphilis; there were rumors that it had been a suicide.[29]

Olive Thomas 1

Olive Thomas

Jack Pickford 1

Jack Pickford

In February 1922, the murder of director William Desmond Taylor severely damaged the careers of actresses Mary Miles Minter and former Arbuckle screen partner Mabel Normand. In 1923, actor/director Wallace Reid‘s dependency on morphine resulted in his death.[30] In 1924, actor/writer/director Thomas H. Ince died mysteriously, aboard William Randolph Hearst’s yacht.[31]

William Desmond Taylor 1William Desmond Hurst

Mary Miles Minter  5.jpg

Mary Miles Minter

Mabel Normand 1.jpg

Mabel Normand

Wallace Reid 1

Wallace Reid

Thomas H Ince 1

Thomas H Ince


After the trials, Hollywood shunned Arbuckle, and he could no longer find work. A secondary effect, for archive history, was the determined destruction of copies of films starring Arbuckle.[32]

In November 1923, Minta Durfee filed for divorce, charging grounds of desertion.[33] The divorce was granted the following January.[34]

Minta Durfee 1

Minta Durfee, Roscoe Arbuckle’s first wife

They had been separated since 1921, though Durfee always claimed he was the nicest man in the world and that they were still friends.[35] After a brief reconciliation, Durfee again filed for divorce, this time while in Paris, in December 1924.[36]

Arbuckle married Doris Deane on May 16, 1925.[37]

Roscoe Arbuckle 46

Roscoe Arbuckle and Doris Deane wedding ceremony

Arbuckle tried returning to filmmaking, but industry resistance to distributing his pictures continued to linger after his acquittal.

He retreated into alcoholism. In the words of his first wife, “Roscoe only seemed to find solace and comfort in a bottle”. Buster Keaton attempted to help Arbuckle by giving him work on his films. Arbuckle wrote the story for a Keaton short called Daydreams (1922).

Daydreams  1.jpg

Daydreams (Edward S Cline/Buster Keaton, 1922)

Arbuckle allegedly co-directed scenes in Keaton’s Sherlock, Jr. (1924), but it is unclear how much of this footage remained in the film’s final cut.

In 1925, Carter Dehaven made the short Character Studies. Arbuckle appeared alongside Buster Keaton, Harold LloydRudolph ValentinoDouglas Fairbanks, and Jackie Coogan.[38]

Character Studies 1

Character Studies (Carter Dehaven,1926)

The same year, in Photoplays August issue, James R. Quirk wrote “I would like to see Roscoe Arbuckle make a comeback to the screen.” He also said “The American nation prides itself upon its spirit of fair play. We like the whole world to look upon America as the place where every man gets a square deal. Are you sure Roscoe Arbuckle is getting one today? I’m not.”[39]

William Goodrich pseudonym

Eventually, Arbuckle worked as a director under the alias William Goodrich. According to author David Yallop in The Day the Laughter Stopped (a biography of Arbuckle with special attention to the scandal and its aftermath), Arbuckle’s father’s full name was William Goodrich Arbuckle.

Another tale credited Keaton, an inveterate punster, with suggesting that Arbuckle become a director under the alias “Will B. Good”. The pun being too obvious, Arbuckle adopted the more formal pseudonym “William Goodrich”.[40] Keaton himself told this story during a recorded interview with Kevin Brownlow in the 1960s.[41]

Roscoe Arbuckle 47

Roscoe Arbuckle as William Goodrich

Between 1924 and 1932, Arbuckle directed a number of comedy shorts under the pseudonym for Educational Pictures, which featured lesser-known comics of the day. Louise Brooks, who played the ingenue in Windy Riley Goes Hollywood (1931), told Kevin Brownlow of her experiences in working with Arbuckle:

He made no attempt to direct this picture. He just sat in his director’s chair like a dead man. He had been very nice and sweetly dead ever since the scandal that ruined his career. But it was such an amazing thing for me to come in to make this broken-down picture, and to find my director was the great Roscoe Arbuckle. Oh, I thought he was magnificent in films. He was a wonderful dancer—a wonderful ballroom dancer, in his heyday. It was like floating in the arms of a huge doughnut—really delightful.[20]

Roscoe Arbuckle 48

Windy Riley Goes Hollywood (William Goodrich – Roscoe Arbuckle, 1931)

Among the more visible directorial projects under the Goodrich pseudonym was the Eddie Cantor feature Special Delivery (1927), which was released by Paramount and co-starred William Powell and Jobyna Ralston. His highest-profile project was arguably The Red Mill, also released in 1927, a Marion Davies vehicle.

Roscoe Arbuckle 49

Special Delivery (William Goodrich – Roscoe Arbuckle, 1927)

Red Mill 1

The Red Mill (William Goodrich – Roscoe Arbuckle, 1927)

Second divorce and third marriage

In 1929, Doris Deane sued for divorce in Los Angeles, charging desertion and cruelty.[42]

On June 21, 1931, Roscoe married Addie Oakley Dukes McPhail (later Addie Oakley Sheldon, 1905–2003) in Erie, Pennsylvania.[43]

Roscoe Arbuckle 50

Roscoe Arbuckle and Addie McPhail after their wedding ceremony

Brief comeback and death

In 1932, Arbuckle signed a contract with Warner Bros. to star under his own name in a series of six two-reel comedies, to be filmed at the Vitagraph studios in Brooklyn.

These six short films constitute the only recordings of his voice. Silent-film comedian Al St. John (Arbuckle’s nephew) and actors Lionel Stander and Shemp Howard appeared with Arbuckle. The films were very successful in America,[43] although when Warner Bros. attempted to release the first one (Hey, Pop!) in the United Kingdom, the British Board of Film Censors cited the 10-year-old scandal and refused to grant an exhibition certificate.[44]

Roscoe Arbuckle 51

Hey, Pop! (Alfred J.Goulding, 1932)

On June 28, 1933, Arbuckle had finished filming the last of the two-reelers (four of which had already been released). The next day he signed a contract with Warners to star in a feature-length film.[45] That night he went out with friends to celebrate his first wedding anniversary and the new Warner contract when he reportedly said: “This is the best day of my life.”

He suffered a heart attack later that night and died in his sleep.[9] He was 46. His widow Addie requested that his body be cremated as that was Arbuckle’s wish.[46]

Roscoe Arbuckle 32

Roscoe Arbuckle’s death report

Roscoe Arbuckle 52


Many of Arbuckle’s films, including the feature Life of the Party (1920), survive only as worn prints with foreign-language inter-titles. Little or no effort was made to preserve original negatives and prints during Hollywood’s first two decades.

Roscoe Arbuckle 53

The Life of the Party (Joseph Henabery, 1920)

By the early 21st century, some of Arbuckle’s short subjects (particularly those co-starring Chaplin or Keaton) had been restored, released on DVD, and even screened theatrically. Arbuckle’s early influence on American slapstick comedy is widely recognised.[47]

For his contributions to the film industry, Arbuckle has a motion pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 6701 Hollywood Boulevard.[48]

Roscoe Arbuckle 54

Roscoe Arbuckle – Walk of Fame

In popular culture

The James Ivory film The Wild Party (1975) has been repeatedly but incorrectly cited as a film dramatization of the Arbuckle–Rappe scandal.

In fact it is loosely based on the 1926 poem by Joseph Moncure March.[49] In this film, James Coco portrays a heavy-set silent-film comedian named Jolly Grimm whose career is on the skids, but who is desperately planning a comeback.

Raquel Welch portrays his mistress, who ultimately goads him into shooting her. This film was loosely based on the misconceptions surrounding the Arbuckle scandal, yet it bears almost no resemblance to the documented facts of the case.[50]

Wild Party 1

The Wild Party (James Ivory, 1975)

In Ken Russell‘s 1977 biopic ValentinoRudolph Nureyev as a pre-movie star Rudolph Valentino dances in a nightclub before a grossly overweight, obnoxious, and hedonistic celebrity called “Mr. Fatty” (played by William Hootkins), a caricature of Arbuckle rooted in the public view of him created in popular press coverage of the Rappe rape trial.

In the scene, Valentino picks up starlet (Jean Acker played by Carol Kane) off a table in which she is sitting in front of Fatty and dances with her, enraging the spoiled star, who becomes apoplectic.[51]

Valentino 1

Valentino (Ken Russel, 1977)

The caricature of Arbuckle as a boor continued to be promulgated in the seventies by film writers such as Kenneth Anger in his seminal work Hollywood Babylon.

In an episode of the Mathnet segment of the children’s public-television television series Square One Television (Season 2, Episode 1, “The Case of the Willing Parrot,” presented in five sections over the course of a week of the overall show), fictitious deceased celebrity Roscoe “Fatty” Tissue was written as a parody of Arbuckle.

Before his death in 1997, comedian Chris Farley expressed interest in starring as Arbuckle in a biography film. According to the 2008 biography The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts, Farley and screenwriter David Mamet agreed to work together on what would have been Farley’s first dramatic role.[52]

In 2007, director Kevin Connor planned a film, The Life of the Party, based on Arbuckle’s life. It was to star Chris Kattan and Preston Lacy.[53] However the project was shelved.[54] Like Farley, comedians John Belushi and John Candy also considered playing Arbuckle, but each of them died before a biopic was made. Farley’s film was signed with Vince Vaughn as his co-star.[55]

In 2005, jazz trumpet player Dave Douglas released the album “Keystone”, dedicated to the work of Roscoe Arbuckle. It contains a DVD which features the movie Fatty and Mabel Adrift (1916/ Keystone – Triangle), starring Roscoe Arbuckle, Mable Normand, Al St. John, and Luke the Dog.

Roscoe Arbuckle 55

Dave Douglas, Keystone (2005)

In April and May 2006, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City mounted a 56-film, month-long retrospective of all of Arbuckle’s known surviving work, running the entire series twice.[56]

Arbuckle is the subject of a 2004 novel titled I, Fatty by author Jerry StahlThe Day the Laughter Stopped by David Yallop and Frame-Up! The Untold Story of Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle by Andy Edmonds are other books on Arbuckle’s life.[57] The 1963 novel, Scandal in Eden by Garet Rogers,[58] is a fictionalized version of the Arbuckle scandal.

Roscoe Arbuckle 56

The Day the Laughter Stopped (David Yallop, 1976)

Fatty Arbuckle’s was an American-themed restaurant chain in the UK prominent during the 1980s and named after Arbuckle.

Stoneface, a 2012 play by Vanessa Claire Stewart about Buster Keaton, depicts Keaton’s and Arbuckle’s friendship and professional relationship.

Arbuckle is played by actor Brett Ashy in the motion picture Return to Babylon (2013).

The scandal is described during the climax of the film Middle Man.


Roscoe Arbuckle 1


Roscoe Arbuckle 57


Roscoe Arbuckle, Fatty
Roscoe Arbuckle, Fatty
Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle

Vitagraph shorts

See also


  1. Jump up to:a b c d Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. “Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–”. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  2. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l m Noe, Denise. “Fatty Arbuckle and the Death of Virginia Rappe”Crime Library at truTV. Archived from the original on September 17, 2008. Retrieved July 3, 2008.
  3. Jump up^ “Year: 1900; Census Place: Santa Clara, Santa Clara, California; Roll: 111; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0077; FHL microfilm: 1240111”Ancestry.com. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  4. Jump up to:a b c d e Ellis, Chris & Julie (April 10, 2005). The Mammoth Book of Celebrity Murder: Murder played out in the spotlight of maximum publicity. Constable & Robertson. ISBN 978-0786715688. Retrieved 2015-01-30. (Subscription required (help)).
  5. Jump up to:a b Lowrey, Carolyn (1920). The First One Hundred Noted Men and Women of the Screen. New York: Moffat, Yard & Co. p. 6. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  6. Jump up^ “Roscoe Always Jolly But Weak: Stepmother”. San Jose: The Evening News. September 12, 1921. pp. 1–2. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  7. Jump up^ Saperstein, Susan. “Grauman’s Theaters”. San Jose, California Guides. Retrieved June 5, 2011.
  8. Jump up^ “She Must Use 7 Mirrors”The Evening News. January 31, 1905. p. 3. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  9. Jump up to:a b “Dies in His Sleep. Film Comedian, Central Figure in Coast Tragedy in 1921, Long Barred From Screen. On Eve of his Comeback. Succumbs at 46 After He and Wife Had Celebrated Their First Wedding Anniversary”The New York Times. June 30, 1933. Retrieved January 30, 2015. (Subscription required (help)). Roscoe C. (Fatty) Arbuckle, film comedian, died of a heart attack at 3 o’clock … Roscoe Conkling Arbuckle was born at Smith Centre, Kansas, on March 24, 1887.
  10. Jump up^ “Minta Durfee, actress, 85, Dies; Former Wife of Fatty Arbuckle”The New York Times. September 12, 1975. Retrieved January 30, 2015. (Subscription required (help)). Minta Durfee, the actress who was married to Roscoe (Fatty) Arbuckle and became Charlie Chaplin’s first motionpicture leading lady, died Tuesday in Woodland Hills, a Los Angeles suburb.
  11. Jump up^ Del Olmo, Frank (September 12, 1975). “Fatty Arbuckle’s First Wife Dies”Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 3, 2008.
  12. Jump up^ Long, Bruce (April 1995). “Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle”Taylorology. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  13. Jump up^ Nichols, Peter M. (April 13, 2001). “HOME VIDEO; Arbuckle Shorts, Fresh and Frisky”The New York Times. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  14. Jump up^ Rosenberg, Jennifer. “Fatty Arbuckle Scandal”About.com. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  15. Jump up^ “Interesting facts about Roscoe Arbuckle”. Arbucklemania. Retrieved January 30, 2015Alice Lake called him Arbie. To Mabel Normand he was Big Otto, after an elephant in the Selig Studio Zoo near Keystone. Buster Keaton called him Chief. Fred Mace called him Crab. And for some unexplained reason fellow comic Charlie Murray referred to him as My Child the Fat. His three wives always called him Roscoe
  16. Jump up^ “When the Five O’Clock Whistle Blows in Hollywood”Vanity Fair. September 1922. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  17. Jump up^ “Testify Regarding Early Life of Virginia Rappe”The Lewiston Daily Sun. October 31, 1921. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  18. Jump up^ Hopkins, Ernest J. (September 25, 1921). “Miss Rappe’s Manager Tells Worst He Knows of Arbuckle”The Pittsburgh Press. p. 3. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  19. Jump up^ Sheerin, Jude (September 4, 2011). “‘Fatty’ Arbuckle and Hollywood’s first scandal”BBC News. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  20. Jump up to:a b c Felix, Wanda (Fall 1995). “Fatty”The Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy and the Humanities (4). Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  21. Jump up^ Chaplin, Charles: My Autobiography, p. 270 (Simon and Schuster, 1964).
  22. Jump up^ Neibaur, James (2013). Buster Keaton’s Silent Shorts: 1920–1923Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 185–186. ISBN 978-0810887411. (Subscription required (help)).
  23. Jump up to:a b Meade, Marion (August 22, 1997). Buster Keaton: Cut to the Chase. Chapter 12 “Cops”: DaCapo Press. ISBN 978-0306808029. (Subscription required (help)).
  24. Jump up^ Daily Mirror headlines, October 1, 1921
  25. Jump up^ Fine, Gary Allen (April 1, 2001). Difficult Reputations: Collective Memories of the Evil, Inept, and Controversial. University of Chicago Press. p. 151. ISBN 978-0226249414.
  26. Jump up^ Myers, Joan (March 18, 2009). “The Case of the Vanishing Juror”Feminism 3.0. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  27. Jump up^ Oderman 2005, p. 199.
  28. Jump up^ Edmonds, Andy (January 1991). Frame-Up!: The Untold Story of Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle. William Morrow & Co. p. 302. ISBN 978-0688091293. (Subscription required (help)).
  29. Jump up^ Whitfield, Eileen (August 31, 2007). Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywood. University Press of Kentucky. p. 224. ISBN 978-0813191799. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  30. Jump up^ Braudy, Leo (March 15, 2011). The Hollywood Sign: Fantasy and Reality of an American Icon. Yale University Press. p. 62. ISBN 978-0300156607. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  31. Jump up^ Mikkelson, Barbara (August 18, 2007). “Give Louella An Ince; She’ll Take A Column”Snopes.com. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  32. Jump up^ Humphreys, Sally; Humphreys, Geraint (February 1, 2011). Century of Scandal. Haynes Publishing. ISBN 978-1-844259-50-2.
  33. Jump up^ “Milestones: November 12, 1923”Time. November 12, 1923. Retrieved January 30, 2015. (Subscription required (help)).
  34. Jump up^ “Milestones: January 7, 1924”Time. January 7, 1924. Retrieved January 30,2015. (Subscription required (help)).
  35. Jump up^ “Excerpts of Interview with Minta Durfee Arbuckle by Don Schneider and Stephen Normand”The Movie Museum. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  36. Jump up^ “Milestones: December 8, 1924”Time. June 29, 1931. Retrieved January 30,2015.
  37. Jump up^ Donnelley, Paul (2003). Fade to Black: A Book of Movie Obituaries. Music Sales Group. p. 37. ISBN 978-1849382465. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  38. Jump up^ Leider, Emily W. (May 6, 2003). Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 198. ISBN 978-0374282394. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  39. Jump up^ Quirk, James R. (August 1925). “Speaking of Pictures”Photoplay. New York: Photoplay Publishing Company. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
  40. Jump up^ Oderman 2005, p. 201.
  41. Jump up^ Sweeney, Kevin W. (2007). Buster Keaton Interviews. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. pp. 192–193. ISBN 1578069637.
  42. Jump up^ “Milestones September 8, 1929”Time. September 30, 1929. Retrieved January 30, 2015Sued for Divorce. By Mrs. Doris Deane Arbuckle minor cinemactress, Roscoe Conkling (“Fatty”) Arbuckle, onetime cinema funnyman; at Los Angeles; for the second time. Grounds: desertion, cruelty.
  43. Jump up to:a b Oderman 2005 p.212
  44. Jump up^ Liebman, Roy (1998). From Silents To Sound: A Biographical Encyclopedia Of Performers Who Made the Transition To Talking Pictures. McFarland. p. 5. ISBN 978-0786403820. (Subscription required (help)).
  45. Jump up^ “Arbuckle, Star Film Comedian, Dies in Sleep”St. Petersburg TimesAssociated Press. July 1, 1933. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  46. Jump up^ Chermak, Steven M.; Bailey, Frankie Y., eds. (October 30, 2007). Crimes and Trials of the Century: From the Black Sox scandal to the Attica prison riots, Volume 1. Glenwood. p. 69. ISBN 978-0313341106.
  47. Jump up^ Eagan, Daniel (November 26, 2011). “More on Fatty Arbuckle: His Films and His Legacy”Smithsonian. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  48. Jump up^ King, Susan; Welkos, Robert (April 12, 2001). “Hollywood Star Walk: Roscoe Arbuckle”Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  49. Jump up^ Long, Robert Emmet (December 11, 2006). James Ivory in Conversation: How Merchant Ivory Makes Its Movies. University of California Press. p. 126. ISBN 978-0520249998.
  50. Jump up^ Mayo, Mike (February 1, 2008). American Murder: Criminals, Crimes and the Media. Visible Ink Press. p. 12. ISBN 978-1578591916. Retrieved January 30,2015.
  51. Jump up^ “Valentino. 1977. Rudolph Nureyev Dances”. YouTube. Retrieved December 24,2014.
  52. Jump up^ Farley, Tom; Colby, Tanner (May 6, 2008). The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts. Penguin. p. 262. ISBN 978-1616804589. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  53. Jump up^ King, Susan (November 15, 2007). “Screening Room”Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  54. Jump up^ Schanie, Andrew (2010). Movie Confidential: Sex, Scandal, Murder and Mayhem in the Film Industry. Clerisy Press. p. 19. ISBN 978-1578603541.
  55. Jump up^ Bovsun, Mara (September 1, 2012). “Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle, acquitted for murder of Virginia Rappe in 1922, never recovered from all the bad press”Daily News. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  56. Jump up^ “Rediscovering Roscoe: The Careers of “Fatty” Arbuckle”. moma.org.
  57. Jump up^ Paulus, Tom; King, Rob, eds. (April 21, 2010). Slapstick Comedy. Routledge. p. 86. ISBN 978-0415801799.
  58. Jump up^ Rogers, Garet (1963). Scandal in Eden. Dial Press. Retrieved May 15, 2015.

Roscoe Arbuckle 59

Further reading

  • Atkins, Ace (2009). Devil’s Garden. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons. ISBN 978-0-399-15536-9.
  • Edmonds, Andy (1991). Frame-Up!: The Untold Story of Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle. New York: William Morrow & Company. ISBN 978-0-688-09129-3.
  • Merritt, Greg (2013). Room 1219: The Life of Fatty Arbuckle, the Mysterious Death of Virginia Rappe, and the Scandal That Changed Hollywood. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. ISBN 978-1-613-74792-6.
  • Neibaur, James L. (December 2006). Arbuckle and Keaton: Their 14 Film Collaborations. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company. ISBN 0-7864-2831-7.
  • Oderman, Stuart (2005). Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle: A Biography of the Silent Film Comedian, 1887–1933. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-899-50872-6.
  • Stahl, Jerry (2004). I, Fatty: A Novel. New York: Bloomsbury USA. ISBN 978-1-582-34247-4.
  • Yallop, David (1976). The Day the Laughter Stopped. New York: St. Martin’s Press. ISBN 978-0-312-18410-0.
  • The New York Times; September 12, 1921; pg. 1. “San Francisco, California; September 11, 1921. “Roscoe (“Fatty”) Arbuckle was arrested late last night on a charge of murder as a result of the death of Virginia Rappe, film actress, after a party in Arbuckle’s rooms at the Hotel St. Francis. Arbuckle is still in jail tonight despite efforts by his lawyers to find some way to obtain his liberty.”
  • The New York Times; September 13, 1921; pg. 1. “San Francisco, California; September 12, 1921. “The Grand Jury met tonight at 7:30 o’clock to hear the testimony of witnesses rounded up by Matthew Brady (District Attorney) of San Francisco to support his demand for the indictment of Roscoe (“Fatty”) Arbuckle for the murder of Miss Virginia Rappe.”
  • Ki LongfellowChina BluesEio Books 2012, ISBN 0-9759255-7-1 Includes historical discussion of the merits of the Arbuckle case.

Roscoe Arbuckle 60

Roscoe Arbuckle 61

Roscoe Arbuckle 62

Roscoe Arbuckle  63.jpg

Roscoe Arbuckle 64

Roscoe Arbuckle 65


Double Harness (1933)

Pre Code Logo 1

Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque

Double Harness (1933)

Double Harness  1.jpg

Director: John Cromwell

Cast: Ann Harding, William Powell, Lucille Browne, Henry Stephenson, Lilian Bond, George Meeker, Reginald Owen, Kay Hammond, Leigh Allen, Irving Bacon, Lila Chevret, Wong Chung, Jean Malin

69 min 

Double Harness 4

Double Harness (1933) is an American Pre-Code film starring Ann Harding and William Powell. It was based on the play of the same name by Edward Poor Montgomery. A young woman maneuvers a lazy playboy into marrying her.

This was one of several films, all produced by Merian C. Cooper at RKO, that were out of distribution for more than 50 years as a result of a legal settlement that gave Cooper complete ownership of the films. Turner Classic Movies eventually acquired the rights to the films.


When spoiled younger sister Valerie Colby (Lucile Browne) becomes engaged to be married to Dennis Moore (George Meeker), a more level-headed Joan (Ann Harding) decides to do the same, not because she is in love, but in order to make something of herself. She chooses unambitious, wealthy playboy John Fletcher (William Powell), who owns a troubled shipping line.

She eventually spends the night in his apartment. To Joan’s annoyance, over the following months, she finds herself falling in love. When John shows no interest in marrying her, Joan forces the issue. She arranges for her father, Colonel Sam Colby (Henry Stephenson), to find them in a compromising position. John graciously agrees to do the honorable thing and marry Joan. However, on their honeymoon cruise, he lets her know that he expects her to grant him a divorce after a decent interval. They settle on six months.

Double Harness 2

Joan prods her husband into taking an interest in his family business. To his surprise, he finds that he enjoys it. As the new Postmaster General (Wallis Clark) is a good friend of her father’s, Joan invites him to dinner, hoping to land a government contract for John’s company.

Meanwhile, Valerie goes into debt due to her extravagant spending habits and borrows from her big sister over and over again. Joan gives Valerie all she can afford without touching John’s money. Finally, she pawns a ring for half the latest sum Valerie needs, but tells her that it is the last time.

Double Harness 3

That same day, John finally realizes that he loves his wife. However, when he goes home, Valerie goes to John behind Joan’s back and cons him into giving her a check. Joan finds out and tears up the check. In her anger, Valerie blurts out how Joan trapped John into marriage.

Disillusioned, he turns to his former paramour, Mrs. Monica Page (Lilian Bond). Joan follows them to Monica’s apartment and confesses all, including the fact that she has fallen in love with him, to no avail. She then tries to salvage her dinner party. To her delight, John shows up and makes it clear that he believes and forgives her.

Double Harness 6


Double Harness 5

Preservation status

This is one of the “lost RKO films” owned by Merian C. Cooper and only re-released in April 2007 when Turner Classic Movies acquired the rights and showed all six films on TCM.

Cooper accused RKO of not paying him all the money contractually due for the films he produced in the 1930s. A settlement was reached in 1946, giving Cooper complete ownership of six RKO titles:

Double Harness 7

According to an interview with a retired RKO executive, shown as a promo on TCM, Cooper withdrew the films, only allowing them to be shown on television in 1955–1956 in New York City.

TCM, which had acquired the rights to the six films after extensive legal negotiations, broadcast them on TCM in April 2007, their first full public exhibition in over 70 years. TCM, in association with the Library of Congress and the Brigham Young University Motion Picture Archive, had searched many film archives throughout the world to find copies of the films in order to create new 35mm prints.[2][3][4]

Double Harness 8


According to RKO records, the film made $10,000 in profit.[1]


  1. Jump up to:a b c Richard Jewel, ‘RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951’, Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol 14 No 1, 1994 p39
  2. Jump up^ Fristoe, Roger. “Rafter Romance” (TCM article)
  3. Jump up^ Osborne, RobertTurner Classic Movies broadcast on April 4 and 11, 2007.
  4. Jump up^ Eder, Bruce “Rafter Romance” (AMG review)

Double Harness 9

Double Harness 10

Film Collectors Corner

Watch Double Harness Now – You Tube Instant Video

Blu Ray

Not released on Blu Ray




Big Pond, The (1930)

Pre Code Logo 1

Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque

The Big Pond (1930)

Big Pond The 1

Director: Hobart Henley

Cast: Maurice Chevalier, Claudette Colbert, George Barbier, Marion Ballou, Andree Corday, Frank Lyon, Nat Pendleton, Elaine Koch

72 min

Big Pond The 3

The Big Pond is a 1930 American Pre-Code romantic comedy film based on a 1928 play of the same name by George Middleton and A.E. Thomas.[1] The film was written by Garrett Fort, Robert Presnell Sr. and Preston Sturges, who provided the dialogue in his first Hollywood assignment, and was directed by Hobart Henley.

The film stars Maurice Chevalier and Claudette Colbert, and features George Barbier, Marion Ballou, and Andrée Corday, and was released by Paramount Pictures.

The Big Pond was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for Maurice Chevalier, and also provided Chevalier with his first American hit song “Livin’ in the Sunlight, Lovin’ in the Moonlight” written by Al Sherman and Al Lewis.[2]

Big Pond The 5


Pierre Mirande (Maurice Chevalier), is a Venetian tour guide from a poor French family who falls in love with Barbara Billings (Claudette Colbert), a wealthy American tourist whose father (George Barbier). Although Barbara loves Pierre as well, her suitor, Ronnie (Frank Lyon) and her father see him as a fortune-hunter. Barbara’s mother (Marion Ballou) persuades her husband to give Pierre a job in his chewing-gum factory in the States. Despite living in a dingy boardinghouse and being given the hardest job in the plant, he manages to captivate his landlady (Andrée Corday) and the maid (Elaine Koch) with his humorous songs. Unfortunately, he falls asleep on the night he is to attend Barbara’s party, and is then fired when he is wrongly accused of spilling rum on some chewing gum samples. He wins back his job, and is promoted as well, when he sells liquor-coated chewing gum as a sales gimmick. Barbara disapproves, and plans to marry Ronnie, but Pierre whisks her away in a speedboat.

Big Pond The 12


Big Pond The 13


Big Pond The 8


The Big Pond and its French language version La grande mare[6] were shot simultaneously at the Paramount Astoria Studios in AstoriaQueensNew York City.[7][8]Maurice Chevalier, Claudette Colbert, Andrée Corday and Nat Pendelton played the same roles in both versions.[6]

Big Pond The 7


Maurice Chevalier was nominated for a 1930 Academy Award for “Best Actor in a Leading Role” for his performance in The Big Pond as well as his performance in The Love Parade (1929).[8]

Big Pond The 4

French version

The French language version of The Big Pond, which was filmed simultaneously with the English version, was called La grande mare. The cast was:

  • Maurice Chevalier as Pierre Mirande
  • Claudette Colbert as Barbara Billings
  • Henry Mortimer as Mr. Billings
  • Maude Allen as Mrs. Billings
  • Andrée Corday as Toinette
  • William B. Williams as Ronnie
  • Nat Pendleton as Pat O’Day
  • Loraine Jaillet as Jennie

Writer Preston Sturges was fluent in French, but additional dialogue was provided by Jacques Bataille-Henri. The technical credits for the two versions are the same, except the editing for the French version was done by Barney Rogan.[6]

Big Pond The 10


Big Pond The 8

Big Pond The 9

Film Collectors Corner

Watch The Big Pond Now – Instant Video on You Tube

Blu Ray

Not released on Blu Ray


White Woman (1933)

Pre Code Logo 1

Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque

White Woman (1933)

White Woman 1

White Woman 4

Director: Stuart Walker

Cast: Carole Lombard, Charles Laughton, Charles Bickford, Kent Taylor,  Percy Kilbride, James Bell, Charles Middleton, Claude King, Ethel Griffies

68 min

White Woman 5

White Woman is a 1933 American pre-Code drama film directed by Stuart Walker and starring Carole LombardCharles Laughton, and Charles Bickford.[1] A young widow remarries and accompanies her husband to his remote jungle rubber plantation. The film was based on the Broadway play Hangman’s Whip by Norman Reilly Raine and Frank Butler.[2]

One of hundreds of Paramount films held in limbo by Universal Studios. Universal gained ownership of Paramount features produced between 1929 and 1949. Paramount remade the film in 1939 as Island of Lost Men, with Anna May WongJ. Carrol Naish and Broderick Crawford in the roles originated by Lombard, Laughton and Bickford. It was directed by Kurt Neumann.[3]

White Woman 3


Judith Denning, a beautiful cafe singer in Malay, has been forced to leave town after town because of gossip that says her husband’s suicide was on account of her infidelity. Upright British lawyer C. M. Chisholm accuses Judith of being a “loose white woman” who is tempting the natives and forces her to leave town by getting her fired.

Horace H. Prin, “King of the Jungle,” then offers to marry her. Prin takes Judith to his jungle home on the river, where he has been running a trading outfit for twenty years. Prin’s white management crew consists largely of criminal exiles whose secret pasts he uses as leverage to get them to remain under his ruthless tyranny.

White Woman 6

When Hambly, who runs a station up the river, insists that the poor diet Prin has been feeding the native workers is breeding insurrection among them, Prin has him killed. Overseer David von Elst, who has not seen a white woman in ten years, quickly falls in love with Judith. A month after Judith’s arrival, she and David decide to run away, but when they confront Prin, he refuses to give them a boat and sends David up the river to take Hambly’s place at Gubar.

David, meanwhile, has told Judith he deserted his regiment after natives decapitated his partner and threw his head through David’s window. Since then he has lacked the courage to fight Prin and return to society. Ballister, the new tough overseer, then arrives and immediately asks Judith for a “tumble,” undaunted by Prin’s eccentric tyranny. When two tribal chiefs request the right to deal with other traders, Prin foolishly refuses them, and they prepare for war against him.

The natives kill Connors, one of Prin’s men, and throw his head through David’s window, after which David finally regains his nerve and travels through the dangerous jungle to warn Judith. David and Judith prepare to leave, but Prin drains their boat of gas. Ballister, sympathetic to the lovers, warns them to take another boat. When Prin shoots his pet baby ape, “Duke,” Jakey, Prin’s most faithful white servant, throws his machine guns in the river and leaves with David and Judith. Ballister and Prin play poker and drink as the natives approach, armed with spears. After Ballister is killed, Prin declares he is forever king of the jungle and walks out into the onslaught of spears.

White Woman 9


White Woman 11


  1. Jump up^ The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1931-40 published by The American Film Institute c.1993
  2. Jump up^ Hangman’s Whip, St. James Theatre, February 24, 1933, IBDb.com; accessed August 5, 2015.
  3. Jump up^ The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1931-40 published by The American Film Institute, c. 1993

White Woman 13

White Woman 8

White Woman 12

White Woman 14

White Woman 7

White Woman 15

White Woman 16

White Woman 17

White Woman 18

White Woman 19

White Woman 20

Film Collectors Corner

Watch White Woman Now – Instant Video on You Tube

Blu Ray

Not released on Blu Ray


Topaze (1933)

Pre Code Logo 1

Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque

Topaze (1933)

Topaze 1

Director: Harry D’Abbadie D’Arrast

Cast: John Barrymore, Myrna Loy, Reginald Mason, Jobyna Howland, Jackie Searl, Albert Conti, Frank Reicher, Luis Alberini, Lowden Adams

78 min

Topaze 11

Topaze is a 1933 American Pre-Code film based on the French play of the same name by Marcel Pagnol. Another film version of Topaze, this one made in the original French was also released that year, starring Louis Jouvet in the title role. Subsequently Pagnol himself directed a 1936 adaptation.


Prof. Auguste A. Topaze (John Barrymore), an honest, naive chemist and schoolteacher at the –  Stegg Academy in Paris, loses his job when he refuses to accede to a demand by the Baroness de La Tour-La Tour to alter the grades of her bratty son, Charlemagne.

Topaze 5

On the same day, Friday the 13th, Topaze calls on the Baron de La Tour-La Tour’s mistress, Coco (Myrna Loy), who is looking for a tutor for her sister’s son, Alphonse, and had gotten Topaze’s name from La Tour. Upon meeting and listening to the sincere remarks of Topaze, the baron, head of the La Tour Chemical Works, decides to employ him as a scientific front for his phony curative water.

After an encounter at a cafe, where the Baron narrowly avoids a scene with his wife by calling Coco “Madame Topaze”, Coco reveals the true nature of her relation to the Baron to the naive Professor. When they arrive late back to Coco’s apartment, the Baron is jealous, but soon realizes Topaze is entirely innocent.

Topaze 6

Unaware that the water, “Sparkling Topaze,” which is being sold all over Paris, does not contain the medicinal formula he invented for it, Topaze is shocked when Dr. Bomb (who had turned down the “honor” of having the fradulent water named for him) shows up, demanding 100,000 francs from the Baron or he will expose the fradulent product. But the Baron blackmails him in return with information about his previous identity, and Bomb is dragged out.

After confirming for himself, in the lab and in a local restaurant, that “Sparkling Topaze” is in fact phony, a dazed Topaze returns to Coco’s apartment the next morning, where Coco fusses over him. At first, he is ready to be arrested, but the men who are shown in are instead a delegation from the Bureau of Awards and Merits, who award him the Academic Palms. All are friends and business associates of the Baron, and the scales begin to fall from Professor Topaze’s eyes.

Topaze 7

His naivete thoroughly destroyed, declaring “Topaze lies dead in an alley”, Topaze decides to fight back by becoming more corrupt than his mentors. He remakes his image and, with Bomb as his assistant, he opens his own office, where he makes dignitaries wait to see him. One is Dr. Stegg, who now wants Topaze to preside at the graduation at the school. Topaze succeeds in blackmailing the Baron into a partnership in his company with a complete account of his relationship with Coco, which he threatens to show to the Baroness, whose name the shares in the company are in.

At the Stegg Academy graduation, Topaze, who has also garnered the romantic attention of Coco, is to distribute the prize, which he is told is to go to his former nemesis, Charlemagne de La Tour-La Tour. He gives a little speech about his experiences in the great world, that honesty isn’t always rewarded and that villainy often receives more applause than virtue. Declaring that he will not reward wrongdoers, he shows up Charlemagne’s ignorance relative to all his classmates, then awards the prize to them instead.

He is last seen escorting Coco into the cinema.

Topaze 8


Topaze 2


Topaze won the 1933 National Board of Review Award for Best Film.

Mordaunt Hall said “[I]t is an agreeable and effective film, and Mr. Barrymore lends no little artistry to the rôle of the benign Professor Auguste Topaze, a part played with rare skill on the stage by Frank Morgan.”[1]

In 1935, a planned reissue was rejected by Joseph Breen as the Production Code was now being strictly enforced and the relationship between Coco and Philippe lacked compensating moral values.[2]


Topaze 4


  1. Jump up^ New York Times review by Mordaunt Hall
  2. Jump up^ The Dame in the Kimono by Leonard Leff and Jerold Simmons (Weidenfeld and Nicolson: 1990)

Topaze 7

Topaze 9

Topaze 12

Topaze 10

Film Collectors Corner

Watch Topaze Now – Instant Video on You Tube

Blu Ray

Not released on Blu Ray



Not released on DVD


Ten Cents a Dance (1931)

Pre Code Logo 1

Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque

Ten Cents a Dance (1931)

Ten Cents a Dance 1

Ten Cents a Dance 3

Directors: Lionel Barrymore, Edward Buzzell

Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Ricardo Cortez, Monroe Owsley, Sally Blane, Blanche Friderici, Phyllis Crane, Olive Tell, Victor Potel, Al Hill, Jack Byron

75 min

Ten Cents a Dance 2

Ten Cents a Dance is a 1931 American pre-Code romance-drama film directed by Lionel Barrymore and starring Barbara Stanwyck as a married taxi dancer who falls in love with one of her customers. The film was inspired by the popular song of the same name, which is sung over the title sequence.[1]


A beautiful streetwise taxi dancer named Barbara O’Neill (Barbara Stanwyck) works at a New York City dance hall called Palais de Dance. One of the dance hall’s wealthy patrons, Bradley Carlton (Ricardo Cortez), comes to the hall and gives Barbara $100.

Concerned about her unemployed friend and neighbor Eddie Miller (Monroe Owsley), Barbara asks Bradley to give him a job, and he agrees. That night they have dinner together.

Ten Cents a Dance 5

When Barbara gets home, Eddie is in the process of packing his bags; he can no longer afford to pay his rent. Barbara gives him the $100 she received from Bradley and tells him about his new job. Later, Eddie and Barbara meet in the park and realize that they are in love.

The next night at the dance hall, Barbara receives a gift of a new dress, but is disappointed when she sees that it was sent by Bradley. Eddie arrives at the dance hall and asks Barbara to marry him. Barbara accepts his proposal and soon quits her job.

Five months later, Eddie meets an old friend Ralph Sheridan and his sister Nancy, and does not reveal that he is now married. They play cards together and Eddie loses $240, something he does not tell his wife.

Ten Cents a Dance 18

He claims to be at a convention, but in fact he meets a woman named Nancy. Later, Eddie returns to find the rent and utilities past due because he has spent his pay gambling. Meanwhile, Barbara returns to work at the dance hall, where she sees Bradley occasionally.

Later, Barbara returns home and discovers Eddie packing his bags. Admitting that he stole $5,000 from Bradley’s office safe, he tells her that he lost that money playing the stock market. Barbara is able to talk him into staying, and she visits Bradley and asks him for a $5,000 loan. Bradley agrees because he is in love with her.

Ten Cents a Dance 6

The next morning, Barbara presents the money to Eddie who accepts it immediately. When Eddie returns from work, he and Barbara engage in a jealous fight. Soon after, she packs her belongings and returns to the dance hall, where she is met by Bradley who has two tickets for the Ile de France, where Barbara can obtain a divorce and marry him.

Ten Cents a Dance 7


(Cast list as per AFI‘s database[2])

Ten Cents a Dance 9


  1. Jump up^ Hall, Mordaunt (March 7, 1931). “The $10,000 Kiss. Strange Temperaments. In a Dance Hall. Screen Notes.”The New York Times. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
  2. Jump up^ “Ten Cents a Dance: Detail View”. American Film Institute. Retrieved December 15, 2014.

Ten Cents a Dance 10

Ten Cents a Dance 11

Ten Cents a Dance 12

Ten Cents a Dance 14

Ten Cents a Dance 15

Ten Cents a Dance 16

Ten Cents a Dance 13

Film Collectors Corner

Watch Ten Cents a Dance Now – Instant Video on You Tube

Blu Ray

Not released on Blu Ray


Stolen Jools, The (1931)

Pre Code Logo 1

Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque

The Stolen Jools AKA The Slippery Pearls (1931)

Stolen Jools 1


William C. McGannJohn G. Adolfi…(uncredited)Thomas Atkins…(uncredited)Harold S. Bucquet…(uncredited)Victor Heerman…(uncredited)Russell Mack…(uncredited)


Wallace Beery Wallace Beery
Police Sergeant
Buster Keaton Buster Keaton
Jack Hill Jack Hill
J. Farrell MacDonald J. Farrell MacDonald
Edward G. Robinson Edward G. Robinson
Gangster (as Edward Robinson)
George E. Stone George E. Stone
Eddie Kane Eddie Kane
Inspector Kane
Stan Laurel Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy Oliver Hardy
Police Driver
Allen 'Farina' Hoskins Allen ‘Farina’ Hoskins
Farina (as Farina)
Matthew 'Stymie' Beard Matthew ‘Stymie’ Beard
Stymie (as Stymie)
Norman 'Chubby' Chaney Norman ‘Chubby’ Chaney
Chubby (as Chubby)
Mary Ann Jackson Mary Ann Jackson
Shirley Jean Rickert Shirley Jean Rickert
Shirley Jean
Dorothy DeBorba Dorothy DeBorba
Echo (as Echo)
Bobby 'Wheezer' Hutchins Bobby ‘Wheezer’ Hutchins
Wheezer (as Wheezer)
Pete the Dog Pete the Dog
Pete (as Pete the Pup)
Polly Moran Polly Moran
Norma Shearer’s Maid
Norma Shearer Norma Shearer
Owner of Stolen Jewels
Hedda Hopper Hedda Hopper
Hedda – Norma’s Friend
Joan Crawford Joan Crawford
William Haines William Haines
Bill Haines
Dorothy Lee Dorothy Lee
Autograph Signer
Victor McLaglen Victor McLaglen
Edmund Lowe Edmund Lowe
El Brendel El Brendel
Swedish Waiter
Charles Murray Charles Murray
Kelly (as Charlie Murray)
George Sidney George Sidney
Winnie Lightner Winnie Lightner
Fifi D'Orsay Fifi D’Orsay
Fifi D’Orsay
Warner Baxter Warner Baxter
Irene Dunne Irene Dunne
Irene Dunne
Bert Wheeler Bert Wheeler
Bert Wheeler
Robert Woolsey Robert Woolsey
Robert Woolsey
Richard Dix Richard Dix
Richard Dix
Claudia Dell Claudia Dell
Claudia Dell
Lowell Sherman Lowell Sherman
Movie Director
Eugene Pallette Eugene Pallette
Stuart Erwin Stuart Erwin
Richard 'Skeets' Gallagher Richard ‘Skeets’ Gallagher
Reporter (as Skeets Gallagher)
Gary Cooper Gary Cooper
Newspaper Editor
Wynne Gibson Wynne Gibson
Charles 'Buddy' Rogers Charles ‘Buddy’ Rogers
‘Buddy’ Rogers (as Buddy Rogers)
Maurice Chevalier Maurice Chevalier
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
Loretta Young Loretta Young
Loretta Young
Richard Barthelmess Richard Barthelmess
Richard Barthelmess
Charles Butterworth Charles Butterworth
Claiming to Be Louise Frazenda
Bebe Daniels Bebe Daniels
Mrs. Ben Lyon
Ben Lyon Ben Lyon
Ben Lyon
Barbara Stanwyck Barbara Stanwyck
Mrs. Frank Fay
Frank Fay Frank Fay
Frank Fay
Jack Oakie Jack Oakie
Jack Oakie
Fay Wray Fay Wray
Fay Wray
George 'Gabby' Hayes George ‘Gabby’ Hayes
Projectionist (as George Hayes)
'Little Billy' Rhodes ‘Little Billy’ Rhodes
Film Delivery Boy (as Little Billy)
Mitzi Green Mitzi Green
Little Mitzi – Mystery Solver
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Joe E. Brown Joe E. Brown
Robbery Suspect
Robert Ames Robert Ames
Robert Ames (uncredited)
Bert Lytell Bert Lytell
Bert Lytell (uncredited)

Stolen Jools 3

The Stolen Jools (1931) is a short comedy film produced by the Masquers Club of Hollywood, featuring many cameo appearances by film stars of the day. The stars appeared in the film, distributed by Paramount Pictures, to raise funds for the National Vaudeville Artists Tuberculosis Sanitarium. The UCLA Film and Television Archive entry for this film says—as do the credits—that the film was co-sponsored by Chesterfield cigarettes to support the “fine work” of the NVA sanitarium.

When the film was shown in theaters in 1931, a person would appear after the film to ask the audience for donations. Because the film was made for charity, it has an unusually large cast of actors from various studios in addition to Paramount, such as Warner Bros.RKOMGM, and Hal Roach Studios.

This film was retitled The Slippery Pearls in the United Kingdom. It was thought to have been lost until a print was found in the UK in the 1990s. Another print was later found in the US under the alternative title.

Stolen Jools 2


At the “Screen Stars Annual Ball”, Norma Shearer‘s jewels are stolen. The police must find them and return them to her.

Stolen Jools 5

Cast, as listed in end credits

The Detective
Under the Tree
Couples at Home
In a Movie Scene
The Midget
 Stolen Jools 4

See also


1. Transcribed from the DVD Best of Laurel & Hardy, Volumes 2–3. Brentwood Home Video, 2004.
Stolen Jools 7
Stolen Jools 8
Stolen Jools 9

Film Collectors Corner

Watch The Stolen Jools Now – Instant Video on You Tube 

Blu Ray

Not released on Blu Ray


1776 AKA The Hessian Renegades (1909)

Mary Pickford 1

Mary Pickford Season: FD Cinematheque

1776 AKA The Hessian Renegades (1909)

DW Griffith 2

D W Griffith 

Hessian Renegades The 4


The Hessian Renegades is a 1909 American silent drama film directed by D. W. Griffith.[1]


A young soldier during the American Revolution has the mission to carry a crucial message to General Washington but he is spotted by a group of enemy soldiers called Hessians. He finds refuge with a family, but the enemies soon discover him. After that the family and neighbors plan to find out a way to send the important message.

Hessian Renegades The 3


Hessian Renegades The 2

See also


Lonely Villa, The (1909)

Mary Pickford 1

Mary Pickford Season: FD Cinematheque

Lonely Villa, The (1909)

This is one of the earliest surviving prints from the beginning of Mary Pickford’s career. It is assumed to have been her 9th film.

Director: D W Griffith

Cast: David Miles, Marion Leonard, Mary Pickford, Gladys Egan, Adele DeGarde, Robert Harron, James Kirkwood, Florence Lawrence, Owen Moore, Mack Sennett

8 min

Lonely Villa The 3

The Lonely Villa (1909)

The Lonely Villa is a 1909 American short silent crime drama film directed by D. W. Griffith. The film stars David Miles, Marion Leonard and Mary Pickford in one of her first film roles. It is based on the 1901 French play Au Telephone (At the Telephone) by André de Lorde.[1] A print of The Lonely Villa survives and is currently in the public domain.[2]

Lonely Villa The 2


A group of criminals waits until a wealthy man goes out to break into his house and threaten his wife and daughters. They refuge themselves inside one of the rooms, but the thieves break in. The father finds out what is happening and runs back home to try to save his family.


Lonely Villa The 4

Production notes and release

The Lonely Villa was produced by the Biograph Company and shot in Fort Lee, New Jersey.[3][4] It was released on June 10, 1909 along with another D.W. Griffith split-reel film, A New Trick.[2]

See also

Lonely Villa The 5


  1. Jump up^ Choi, Jinhee; Wada-Marciano, Mitsuyo, eds. (2001). Horror to the Extreme: Changing Boundaries in Asian Cinema. Hong Kong University Press. p. 111. ISBN 962-209-973-4.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b “Progressive Silent Film List: The Lonely Villa”. Silent Era. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
  3. Jump up^ Koszarski, Richard. Fort Lee: The Film Town. John Libbey Publishing. p. 58. ISBN 0-86196-653-8.
  4. Jump up^ “Studios and Films”. Fort Lee Film Commission. Retrieved May 30, 2011.


Lonely Villa The 6