Ted Okuda (born December 8, 1953) is an American non-fiction author and film historian. He has many books and magazine features to his credit, under his own name and in collaboration with others.
Okuda's long-held interest in movie comedies led to his first book, The Columbia Comedy Shorts (1986, with Edward Watz)an in-depth account of Columbia Pictures' short-subject department, detailing the production of two-reel comedies starring The Three Stooges, Buster Keaton, Andy Clyde, Charley Chase, and Gus Schilling & Richard Lane, among many others. Since the book's first publication in 1986, Okuda has explored other areas of popular culture, including science fiction, children's television, and silent films.
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. is an American film studio, production company and film distributor that is a member of the Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, a division of Sony Entertainment's Sony Pictures subsidiary of the Japanese multinational conglomerate Sony Corporation.
The Three Stooges were an American vaudeville and comedy team active from 1922 until 1970, best known for their 190 short subject films by Columbia Pictures that have been regularly airing on television since 1958. Their hallmark was physical farce and slapstick. Six stooges appeared over the act's run : Moe Howard and Larry Fine were mainstays throughout the ensemble's nearly fifty-year run and the pivotal "third Stooge" was played by Shemp Howard, Curly Howard, Shemp Howard again, Joe Besser, and Curly Joe DeRita.
Joseph Frank Keaton, known professionally as Buster Keaton, was an American actor, comedian, film director, producer, screenwriter, and stunt performer. He was best known for his silent films, in which his trademark was physical comedy with a consistently stoic, deadpan expression which earned him the nickname "The Great Stone Face". Critic Roger Ebert wrote of Keaton's "extraordinary period from 1920 to 1929" when he "worked without interruption" on a series of films that make him "the greatest actor-director in the history of the movies". His career declined afterward with a loss of artistic independence when he was hired by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, his wife divorced him, and he descended into alcoholism. He recovered in the 1940s, remarried, and revived his career to a degree as an honored comic performer for the rest of his life, earning an Academy Honorary Award.
Okuda's other books include Dorothy Lee: The Life and Films of the Wheeler and Woolsey Girl (2013, with Jamie Brotherton),Stan Without Ollie: The Stan Laurel Solo Films (2012, with James L. Neibaur), Chicago TV Horror Movie Shows (2007, with Mark Yurkiw), The Soundies Book: A Revised and Expanded Guide (2007, with Scott MacGillivray), Charlie Chaplin at Keystone and Essanay (2005, with David Maska), The Golden Age of Chicago Children's Television (2004, with Jack Mulqueen), and The Jerry Lewis Films (1995, with Neibaur). He also contributed chapters to the books Science Fiction America (edited by David J. Hogan) and Guilty Pleasures of the Horror Film (edited by Gary and Susan Svehla), and wrote the foreword for MacGillivray's Castle Films: A Hobbyist's Guide. His articles, interviews, and reviews have appeared in such publications as Filmfax, Classic Images, Cult Movies, Classic Film Collector, The Big Reel, and Movie Collectors World.
Dorothy Lee was an American actress and comedian during the 1930s. She appeared in 28 films, usually appearing alongside the Wheeler & Woolsey comedy team.
Stan Laurel was an English comic actor, writer, and film director who was part of the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy. He appeared with his comedy partner Oliver Hardy in 107 short films, feature films, and cameo roles.
Soundies were three-minute American musical 16mm films, produced in New York City, Chicago, and Hollywood, between 1940 and 1946, each containing a song, dance and/or band or orchestral number.
He has also appeared on television, usually with popular movie host and Stooge expert Rich Koz.
Rich Koz is an American actor and broadcaster best known as horror-movie host Svengoolie. Out of costume, he is also the host of the syndicated The Three Stooges Stooge-a-Palooza program.
Laurel and Hardy were a comedy duo act during the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema. The team was composed of Englishman Stan Laurel (1890–1965) and American Oliver Hardy (1892–1957). They became well known during the late 1920s to the mid-1940s for their slapstick comedy, with Laurel playing the clumsy and childlike friend of the pompous bully Hardy. The duo's signature tune is known variously as "The Cuckoo Song", "Ku-Ku", or "The Dance of the Cuckoos". It was played over the opening credits of their films and has become as emblematic of the duo as their bowler hats.
The Essanay Film Manufacturing Company was an American motion picture studio. The studio was founded in 1907 and based in Chicago, and later had an additional film lot in Niles Canyon, California. It is best known today for its series of Charlie Chaplin comedies of 1915. In the 1920s, after it merged with other studios, it was absorbed into Warner Brothers.
Keystone Studios was an early film studio founded in Edendale, California on July 4, 1912 as the Keystone Pictures Studio by Mack Sennett with backing from actor-writer Adam Kessel (1866–1946) and Charles O. Baumann (1874–1931), owners of the New York Motion Picture Company. The company, referred to at its office as The Keystone Film Co., filmed in and around Glendale and Silver Lake, Los Angeles for several years, and its films were distributed by the Mutual Film Corporation between 1912 and 1915.
Karl Erik Tore Johansson, better known by the stage name Tor Johnson, was a Swedish professional wrestler and actor. As an actor, Johnson appeared in many B-movies, including some famously directed by Ed Wood. In professional wrestling, Johnson was billed as Swedish Angel and Super Swedish Angel and became a one-time MWA World Heavyweight Champion.
Making a Living is the first film starring Charlie Chaplin. It premiered on February 2, 1914. Chaplin plays Edgar English, a lady-charming swindler who runs afoul of the Keystone Kops. It was written and directed by Henry Lehrman.
Twenty Minutes of Love is a 1914 American comedy silent film made by Keystone Studios. The film is widely reported as Charlie Chaplin's directorial debut; some sources name Joseph Maddern as the director, but generally credit Chaplin as the creative force.
Svengoolie is a hosted horror movie show in the U.S. The show's title is taken from the name of the character host. The show is a long-running local program in the Chicago area and in recent years expanded nationally, airing Saturday nights on MeTV.
The Gorilla is a 1939 American horror comedy film starring the Ritz Brothers, Anita Louise, Art Miles, Lionel Atwill, Bela Lugosi, and Patsy Kelly. It was based on a play of the same name by Ralph Spence.
A Burlesque on Carmen is Charlie Chaplin's thirteenth film for Essanay Studios, originally released as Carmen on December 18, 1915. Chaplin played the leading man and Edna Purviance played Carmen. The film is a parody of Cecil B. DeMille's Carmen 1915, which was itself an interpretation of the popular novella Carmen by Prosper Mérimée.
Leo White was a German-born English-American film and stage actor who appeared as a character actor in many Charlie Chaplin films.
Triple Trouble is a two-reel American silent comedy film that was released in 1918. It starred Charlie Chaplin, Edna Purviance, and Leo White. This film was not an official Chaplin film, even though it has many Chaplin directed scenes; it was edited together out of outtakes and newly shot footage by the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company, with Leo White as director for the new scenes. Since Chaplin did not have legal control over the films made during his time with Essanay, he could not prevent its release.
Duck Soup is a silent comedy short film starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy prior to their official billing as the duo Laurel and Hardy. The team appeared in a total of 107 films between 1921 and 1951.
Flying Elephants is a two-reel silent film from 1928 directed by Frank Butler and produced by Hal Roach. It stars Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy as a pair of battling cavemen.
Leave 'Em Laughing is a 1928 two-reel silent film starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Produced by the Hal Roach Studios, it was shot in October, 1927 and released January 28, 1928 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
The Chicago film industry is a central hub for motion picture production and exhibition that was established before Hollywood became the undisputed capital of film making. In the early 1900s, Chicago boasted the greatest number of production companies and filmmakers. Essanay Studios founded by George K. Spoor was one of the earliest successful studios to produce movies in Chicago, employing stars such as Charlie Chaplin and Gloria Swanson. Actor and co-founder of Essanay Studios, Broncho Billy Anderson gave birth to the western genre. Early film companies such as Essanay Studios produced multiple silent films every week and rented viewing equipment to showcase the latest cinematography to the public. This rental culture gave birth to the popularity of Nickelodeons up until the Great Depression. However, due to the high demand for motion pictures during this time, a black market for films and equipment developed. The Motion Picture Patents Company, established in 1909 as a conglomerate of the major studios, sought to eliminate all illegal use of patented film equipment. As a result, independent ventures entered the film scene. Independents drove the film industry to the west to avoid legal trouble with the trust of major film companies united under the Motion Picture Patents Company. The west offered fairer weather and scenery that better accommodated film making. Not until the 1980s and early 21st century has Chicago experienced a film production revival. Blockbusters, such as Blues Brothers, Sixteen Candles, and The Dark Knight, have rejuvenated the Chicago film scene. In the 21st century, Chicago further experienced a film revival due to a tax bill the state of Illinois passed to give filmmakers a 30% tax break on production costs.
Charlie Chaplin (1889–1977) was an English actor, comedian, and filmmaker whose work in motion pictures spanned from 1914 until 1967. During his early years in film, he became established as a worldwide cinematic idol renowned for his tramp persona. In the 1910s and 1920s, he was considered the most famous person on the planet.
Ethelreda Leopold was an American film actress. She appeared in approximately 65 films between 1934 and 1972. She also appeared in commercials.
Olives and Their Oil is a 1914 educational short film about the production of olive oil. The film was released by Keystone Studios on February 7, 1914, on a split reel with the Charlie Chaplin comedy Kid Auto Races at Venice.
Invisible Invaders is a 1959 science fiction film starring John Agar, Jean Byron, John Carradine and Philip Tonge. It was produced by Robert E. Kent, directed by Edward L. Cahn and written by Samuel Newman.