Tuesday, July 17th, 2018
Heavy Laughter in Lean Years
Hal Roach Studios’ Depression-Era Comedy Shorts
Curated by Adam Williams
Doors at 7:00 PM, Screening at 7:30 PM
@ The Mini Microcinema - 1329 Main St.
Producer Hal Roach’s life was the quintessential American success story, a restless youth who winded his way from sea to shining sea taking on numerous odd jobs, including prospecting for gold and working as an extra in cowboy movies, before ultimately setting up shop as an independent producer at the ripe old age of 23. His entrepreneurial spirit and freedom from the burgeoning major studios shines brightest in his two-reel comedies spanning the tail end of the silent era and into the early days of the talkies, concurrent to the harshest years of the Great Depression. In this time at The Lot of Fun, as his Culver City studio was known, Laurel was paired with Hardy, there was no rival to Our Gang, and hapless Charley Chase embarrassed himself in every conceivable situation. Lesser known to today’s audiences, but equally delightful, was the Jewish comedy of Max Davidson (and his feckless “son” Spec O’Donnell) and the female comedians Thelma Todd, Anita Garvin, ZaSu Pitts, Patsy Kelly, and Dayton, Ohio-born Marion “Peanuts” Byron. This mad cast provided the funhouse mirror reflection to a nation in despair and left an indelible impression on the American cultural landscape. Just for laughs, we present a carefully-curated collection of Roach’s cockamamie canon made between 1929 and 1932. (90 minutes)
Free with $5 suggested donation.