Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Robert (Marvin) Cox Interviews

Also, I wanted to post this short documentary created by authors Lon and Debra Davis, about Robert Cox--an Arizona resident whom Lon and Cheryl Lanning profiled in an article in Arizona Magazine just before Cox's death in 1974. It includes interviews and his appearance on To Tell the Truth. As I mentioned in Mack Sennett's Fun Factory, I believe based on photos and his appearance in the 1970's that Robert Cox was indeed in Keystone comedies, and was likely the same person then known as Marvin Cox. While I have to say that I don't necessarily agree with all of the films he claims to have been in (including Bangville Police and Tillie's Punctured Romance), he does seem to have been a Keystone cop as early as late 1913.

Screen Snapshots

I haven't had a chance to update this blog in a while due to other pressing matters, but I wanted to post this Screen Snapshots episode featuring Mack Sennett.

This is Screen Snapshots Series 10, No. 8, released in June 1931, and includes Mack Sennett and Marjorie Beebe relaxing in Palm Springs, along with a host of other stars there and in other locales.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Death Date for Jack Ackroyd

John Edward "Jack" Ackroyd was a diminutive supporting comedian who worked in Mack Sennett Comedies over the course of several years, beginning in 1919 (and returning periodically for freelance roles). Ackroyd's most prominent film role was as Syd Chaplin's sidekick Alf in the 1926 Warner Brothers/Vitaphone feature THE BETTER 'OLE, one of the first films to include a synchronized musical score.

My biography for Jack Ackroyd in Mack Sennett's Fun Factory contained his birthdate and place--January 5 (though it may actually be June 5), 1889 in Bradford, Yorkshire, England--and biographical information on his first forty years. However, I lost his trail after he stopped appearing in "Hollywood" films circa 1930, and I was not able to find death information for him. I presumed that he returned to England, and his death info was contained in information I could not access at the time.

Bill Cappello has just informed me that he turned up death information for Ackroyd in the England Death Index. According to the index, John E. Ackroyd died in October, November or December 1962, at age 73, in Taunton, Somerset, England. Bill also found death information for Florence Ackroyd (who is likely Jack's wife, better known as Flossie), born in 1895 and died January, February or March 1970, in Taunton. Their son William, who was born in Los Angeles on December 26, 1926, died in December 1994, also in Taunton, Somerset. The Ackroyds also had a daughter named Margaret, who was born in 1918/19 in Canada, where the Ackroyds resided before coming to the United States in 1919. Her death date is undetermined.

I have found the passenger list for the ship Brittanic (White Star lines), which arrived in Liverpool (from New York) on September 7, 1931, and likely represents (for the parents at least) their relocation to England. In this registry, John's wife's name is listed as Lily (though with an age matching Flossie), and they were planning to reside in Bradford, Yorkshire.

Also still to be determined is what Jack Ackroyd's activities were, occupationally and otherwise, once he returned to England in 1931. Ackroyd's hometown of Bradford is in the north of England, just west of Leeds. Taunton, where he relocated, is in southwest England between Exeter and Bristol, quite a ways from Bradford. The details on Ackroyd's life after U.S. films likely lies somewhere in Taunton.

Happy Birthday Mack Sennett!

Michael Sinnott (Mack Sennett) was born January 17, 1880, in Richmond, Quebec, Canada--131 years ago today!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mack Sennett's Fun Factory on Best Film Books of 2010!

Thanks to Thomas Gladysz for listing Mack Sennett's Fun Factory on his list of Best Film Books of 2010, alongside such names as Kevin Brownlow, Leonard Maltin and Scott Eyman!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Encinitas Silent Film Festival

This Saturday November 6 at 8pm, I'll be the guest speaker at the Encinitas Silent Film Festival, prior to the evening of Buster Keaton in SHERLOCK JR., THE PLAYHOUSE and BACK STAGE (with Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle). I'll be discussing the local San Diego connections for a number of Mack Sennett and other silent comedians. Robert Israel will be accompanying the films!

It will be a great event, and takes place at the 1928 La Paloma Theater in Encinitas, which has an indirect Mack Sennett connection which I will explain Saturday:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cinecon 46 - Down on the Farm and book signings

I'll be at Cinecon signing and selling copies of Mack Sennett's Fun Factory outside the dealers room at the Hollywood Renaissance in the book-signing area on the following times/days: Thursday 9/2 @5pm, Friday 9/3 @12-noon and Saturday 9/4 @12-noon. I'll also be introducing the 1920 Mack Sennett feature DOWN ON THE FARM on Thursday at 8:55pm. Hope to see you there!