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Previous Announcements

One of the questions most frequently asked: is there a recording of Mabel's voice? This in fact came up just the other day in a silent film group on Face Book. For those then who also would like to know, below is the answer I gave:

Aside from a reported wax cylinder that has LONG since gone missing from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences library, no one to my knowledge knows of there being such a recording. However the following are some contemporary testimonials regarding how she sounded:

"The Normand speaking voice, which we have all been wondering about, is pretty and a little throaty, but not very flexible which is hardly to be wondered at..."
~"M. H.", from Washington Times, Sept. 8, 1925.

"If Mr. Woods ever finds a play for the comedic talents of the throaty Normand, it will not be 'The Little Mouse.' Indeed, if he finds a play at all for her. Due time must be allowed, of course, for Miss Normand to forget the studied gaggeries of the Mack Sennett school and for her sudden transition from the lot to the stage."
~Harold Phillips, from Washington Times, Sept. 11, 1925.

ď...'Iím glad Iím to get right back into regular comedy,' said the star in that rich, throaty voice of hers. 'And do you know I shall be particularly glad to make two-reelers again. I believe there is more laughter per foot in the short comedy, and after all laughter is what a screen comic wants, isnít it?'"
~Florence Lawrence, from Los Angeles Examiner, March 14, 1926.

"And until near the end passers-by often paused on Camden Drive in the lovely suburb of Los Angeles where so many picture celebrities live, to listen to the throaty voice of Mabel Normand, rising to the swing of an exquisite ballad or romping madly through a rakish song learned about the ribald studios of Hollywood."
~Sidney Sutherland, from MADCAP MABEL NORMAND -- The True Story of a Great Comedienne, Liberty [magazine], Sept. 6, 1930.

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Hardly news coming from me is the re-surfacing/discovery of "Mabel's Adventures" (1912) by the Niles Essanay Film Museum this July 2020. If you don't already know about it, here is is:

["Mabel's Adventures and Useful Sheep - "Lost" Keystone Split Reel PREMIERE!"]

Also, for fun, I snipped a very rare clip, with frame rate slowed down, from Nigel Dreiner's accompanying mini-documentary at:

["Now THAT'S Mabel! :)"- w/ Raymond Hitchcock.]

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Eighth edition now available in paperback at:

Or in Kindle format at:

Note. If you buy the paperback, the Kindle version comes free.

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Courtesy of the Nederland Film Museum, Amsterdam:

["A Little Hero (1913)" -- with Pepper the (Keystone) cat ]

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Courtesy of the Nederland Film Museum, Amsterdam:

["At Coney Island" - 1912, with Mack Sennett and Ford Sterling]

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This just come in, and a great "find" or in this case re-discovery it is! My usual thanks to Marilyn Slater for bringing this to our attention.

"How Mabel Normand filmed her Safety Last! Moment (Before Harold Lloyd Did)" by John Bengtson.

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Courtesy of Ms. Alison Kathleen Kelly, 7 June 2015.

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On June 25th 1916, the New York Morning Telegraph reported:

"Mabel Normandís second dramatic feature for the Triangle will be a motion picture version of J. M. Barrieís 'The Little Minister.' The Mabel Normand Company has purchased the rights to all of the Barrie stories."

If this report is true, such rights were evidently lost along with numerous other holdings when the Triangle Film Company folded and went under in financial scandal in 1919. In other magazine and newspaper articles (for which, do a search of my Mabel Normand Source Book), Mabel herself expressed a desire to play Lady Babbie in Barrie's acclaimed stage play; including stating, shortly after his slaying, that she would have much liked to have done a film rendering of the same directed by William Desmond Taylor.

Would "The Little Minister" have been a good vehicle for Mabel Normand? Mary Pickford also comes to mind as a viable candidate for the Lady Babbie role. Would it have been possible to turn Barrie's Oscar Wilde-like (i.e., garrulous) comedy of manners into an effective silent film? Well, one can attempt a guess by seeing the charming and funny 1975 BBC version starring Helen Mirren; available on YouTube at:

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(Just when Steve Rydzewski thought he'd got the drop on me.)

The Rear Guard of Saxicolous Wayfarers
of Cinematic Finitude

For which, see:


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