Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Homelessness, Hunger and Domestic Violence - the Serious History and Origin of the Pie-in-the-Face Gag



Pastry is the Soul of Wit.
               – “Pies,” J. P. McEvoy, 1919.


A fat man sat on Mary’s Hat.
The crowd just roared with glee.
The movie pie that smites the eye
Gets laughs from sea to sea.

. . .
Banana peels that trip up heels
Oft fill the throng with joy
The wind-swept lid is still a bid
For grins from man and boy.

 – “Funny   Stuff,” La Monte Waldron, 1922.



Some things are naturally funny; like the misfortune of others.  Banana peels, and orange peels before them, caused countless injuries and numerous deaths throughout the nineteenth century.  Banana peel (and orange peel) humor dates back to about 1800; banana peel comedy on film dates to at least 1905.

But some things need to be learned.  A pie in the face is not a natural act; but it is funny.  Its place in the comic lexicon dates back to Saint Patrick’s Day, 1898 when Mabel Fenton, as Yvonne Grandpiano, threw a pie (variously described as a “piece of pie,”[i] a “thick custard pie,”[ii] or “a lemon meringue pie” [iii]) into the face of Charles J. Ross, as Eric von Roeshad, on opening night of the burlesque musical, “The Con-Curers,” a spoof of the melodramatic hit, “The Conquerers.” 

And, just as banana peel humor masks the real dangers of banana peels, the source of the humor of the original pie gag lay in its association with the real dangers of sexual assault.  Early pie-in-the-face humor on film also made light of domestic violence, homelessness and hunger.


(For an even earlier (1709) literary, comedic pie in the face, see my Pie-in-the-Face Update)

The First Pie

Paul Potter’s melodrama, The Conquerors, produced by his presumed life-partner[iv] Charles Frohmann (who went down with the Lusitania), caused a sensation upon its debut in New York City on January 4, 1898.  The dramatic centerpiece of the play was a graphic (for the time) double-rape of the heroine, Yvonne de Grandpre. 

The action takes place at the close of the Franco-Prussian War.  Lieutenant Eric von Rodeck brings a group of Prussian officers (the “conquerors” of the title) to a castle owned by Yvonne’s brother, the Baron of Grandpre.:

[Lieutenant von Rodeck has ]scoured the country for a number of low women, politely described on the program as dancing girls.  These are assigned, like so much merchandise, one to every man, and before the daughters of the house the riotous feasting begins.  The eldest of the two girls, Yvonne, finally protests and is grossly insulted by von Rodeck. 

She picks up a glass of wine and throws it in his face, thus ending the act.

The Times (Washington DC), January 9, 1898, part 2, page 12.

In the spoof, “The Con-Curers,” the wine is replaced by a pie.  That’s why it was funny.  But the pie-metaphor does not stop there. 

In the second act of “The Conquerors,” Rodeck seeks his revenge; trapping Yvonne in a mill and forces himself on her, in what was apparently a fairly graphic and realistic portrayal for the time.  Rodeck leaves in shame at the mention of his sister; but Yvonne’s troubles are not over.  The miller, Jean Baudin, enters – and forces himself on her.  Rodeck, feeling guilty, returns and kills the miller in mid-act.  But Rodeck’s troubles are not over.  When Yvonne recovers from her rape-induced unconscioussness, she assesses the situation and determines that the Rodeck must have killed Baudin when he (Baudin) came to save her.  She swears her revenge on Rodeck – and later stabs him, intending to kill him.  But all’s well that ends well; Yvonne has a change of heart; she falls in love with “her despoiler,” he survives, and apparently they lived happily ever after.

In the “Con-Curers,” on the other hand, the bad-guy does not force himself on her – “he attempts to have revenge by forcing Yvonne to eat the pie;”[v] “a pie of her own deadly baking.”[vi] And instead of Jean Baudin being killed by a repentent rapist,  Jean Badun (“Bad One” – get it?) is desperately hungry and chokes Yvonne to get possession of the deadly pie; whereupon he immediately drops dead of food poisoning.  Now, that’s funny(?).

Charles J. Ross and Mabel Fenton - First Pie-in-the-Face Recipient and Thrower

Contemporary reviewers, at least, thought so.  Part of the genius of the spoof was that all of the naughty bits had been removed – and replaced with an innocent custard (or lemon meringue) pie:

Nothing short of ingenuity could devise a way to ridicule [The Conquerers] without going further away from propriety than Mr. Potter did.  To make the insulted heroine swat the hero in the face with a custard pie in the supper scene instead of throwing a glass of wine, and to have his dreadful plan of vengeance at the inn consist of compelling her to eat a pie of her own deadly baking, was something like a stroke of genius in joking.  Her frenzied appeals for mercy, his relenting after she has fainted, the stealing of the pie by the voracious landlord, and its instantly fatal effect upon him, are such good travesty of the original as to deserve a rating as literature.  And the best of it is that not so much as an insinuation of indecency is given.  In the process of burlesquing “The Conquerors” it was cleaned so thoroughly that, in this version, it might be performed without offence at a Sunday school entertainment.  Like most of the matter at this theatre, the “Con-Curers” was somewhat raw in the first performance and had to be baked over to some extent.  In this instance, the dough had been more expertly mixed and kneaded than usual, however, and their improvement has been made principally by Comedians Weber, Fields, and Bernard in their caricatures of German army officers. 

The Sun (New York), April 11, 1898, page 5.

But not everyone loved the show:

A burlesque on “The Conquerors,” called “The Con-Curers,” is being presented at Weber & Fields’s Music Hall.  It is vulgar and inane from start to finish and the only attraction in it is a lot of pretty girls in tights.

The Times (Washington DC), March 27, 1898, page 7.

The fact that actors, Lou Weber and Joe Weber, were a well-known “Dutch” comedy act[vii] (mimicking or mocking the speech patterns of German immigrants) lent an additional layer of comedy to their role as Prussian officers.  They also owned the theater where the play was staged.

The original and the spoof were both success in New York City and on the road; the touring company of “The Con-Curers following close behind the touring company of “The Conquerers” – but about two weeks behind at each stop, so that the audience would get the references.[viii] 

The Con-Curers endured for a time; there are notices of performances at far-flung places from 1898 through 1903.  Tens of thousands of people could have seen the pie-in-the-face gag in its original form across the entire United States, spreading awareness and appreciation of the pie gag – and ensuring its longevity.


The pie in the face’s long life may also be attributed to regular and frequent imitation on vaudeville and in burlesque.  Although Weber & Fields were “Dutch” (or German) comics, the pie-in-the-face gag was picked up by other “ethnic” comedians.  In 1902, a Catholic newspaper lamenting the various Irish stereotypes on stage described a typical, “Burlesque Irishman”:

The reasons why this type is objectionable to the more sensitive members of the same race are plain.  He is ridiculous in appearance; his idea of wit and humor is to hit his partner over the head with a custard pie or to beat him with a slap stick; he is the butt for endless jokes and tricks; there is nothing about him which is in any degree admirable.

Inter-Mountain Catholic (Salt Lake City, Utah), September 13, 1902, page 1.

By 1906, a pie in the face was a staple of vaudeville shtick, generally. In response to a negative review in the trade-magazine, Variety, vaudeville comedian, Fred Ray, of Ray and Wood, wrote a letter to the editors, defending his low style of slapstick humor:

If you would stand outside a vaudeville theatre and look at the people as they leave, you would never run down this class of comedy that I am trying to handle.  Any audience is a fair sample; a bucket of suds on the head; sit on fly paper; a loaded slapstick and slap a custard pie.  The average will laugh and applaud.  Then you are working all the time.

Give them clean, clever wit and humor; then you please one in a hundred, and, God help you, the Actors’ Fund will soon put another slab on its lot.  Starved to death.  Wishing you continued success, I remain Fred Ray.

Variety, Volume 1, Number 6,  January 20, 1906, page 11.

But despite the bit’s apparent ubiquity, the originators were not forgotten.  Years later, long after the a pie in the face had become an established comedy staple in the movies, and at a time when Weber and Fields were still performing and making films together, they were recognized as the originators of the pie-in-the-face gag:

To the world at large the mention of Weber and Fields means years and years of delightful, vigorous, enthusiastic comedy – a national institution.  To the stage the name means even more.  They were, in truth, the originators of the pie-throwing gag.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 7, 1925, page E3.



The pie-gag still endures.


Throwing Pies in Film
In the summer of 2015, in the wake of the rediscovery of the lost second-reel to Laurel and Hardy’s pie-fight classic, “The Battle of the Century,” an article in the New York Times dated the first thrown pie in the face “to the Mack Sennett era, probably to a 1913 Fatty Arbuckle short called ‘A Noise From the Deep.’” [ix]  A contemporary account of the film detailed the silliness:

“A Noise from the Deep” (Keystone), July 17. – This is one of the screamingly funny concoctions which made this company famous as a purveyor of nonsense.  It begins with throwing pies and then Mabel and her lover go bicycling.  Mabel falls into the lake and the lover flees for help.  The fat boy, Bob, saves her.  This is but the beginning of the fun.  A hose is employed to gurgle in the water which makes everyone think Mabel is still in the lake.  The police force come to the rescue on bucking bronchos.  Very funny and free from coarseness of any kind.

The Moving Picture World, Volume 17, Number 4, July 16, 1913, page 430.

But while “A Noise from the Deep” may have been an early pie-fight, it was not the first.  More than one year earlier, in March 1912, Majestic’s film, “Keep Quiet,” featured a custard pie in the face. 

Cultures clash and sparks (and a pie) fly when a husband and wife each independently hire new cooks –a Chinese man and an Irish woman:  

The Irish and Chinese combination don’t get along well and create a lot of disturbance which finally ends with Bridget throwing a custard pie in John’s face.

The Moving Picture World, Volume 11, Number 13, March 30, 1912, page 1204.



A comment from November 1912 suggests that Mack Sennett and his Keystone Cops may have been associated with pie fights even before 1913:

To learn that a burglar or holdup man may be repulsed by throwing a custard pie in his face is a distinct advance in knowledge.  If possible, however, the pie should be hot.

Goodwin’s Weekly (Salt Lake City), November 2, 1912, page 4.

In 1909, Ben Turpin’s film, “Mr. Flip,” may have featured a pie in the face.  But the images may be ambiguous; the waitress hits him in the face with a plate of food, but it is unclear whether it is a pie.  Judge for yourself; through the miracle of YouTube you can see the erstwhile pie 3:25 of this clip. 
But regardless of whether you buy “Mr. Flip’s” plate of food as a pie or not, a pie – or at least a pie crust – was used as a weapon on film one month before “Mr. Flip’s” release in May, 1909.[x]  A pie – or at least pie crust – was used as a weapon to fend off an unwanted suitor in “Lady Helen’s Escapade,” starring Florence Lawrence, the “Biograph Girl,” arguably the world’s first movie star. 
The plot involves a bored little rich girl who takes a menial job to get some excitement; she finds love with a musician and unwanted advances in the kitchen:

The scene in the kitchen, where Lady Helen, disguised as a domestic, has many encounters with the cookery utensils which she does not know how to use, and the viands she does not know how to cook, was full of delicate humor; and her attack on a too persistent suitor with for weapon the pie crust she is making, provoked much laughter.  Indeed, the various phases of the story linger in the memory, a rare thing for us to say of a moving picture, and we are so pleased with this exquisite production that we want all the patrons of moving picture theaters to participate in our enjoyment of it.

The Moving Picture World, Volume 4, Number 17, April 24, 1909, page 515.

The Keystone Cops and their antics became so popular within just a few years that they would have an effect on at least one boy’s career aspirations:

When I grow up I’m going to be a policeman,” said little Bobby, “and if you don’t look out I’ll arrest you.” 

“You won’t do any such a thing,” retorted Johnny.  “I’m going to be a moving picture actor, and if you try to arrest me I’ll throw a custard pie in your face.”

The Herald (New Orleans, Louisiana), April 12, 1917, page 5.

In real life, however, pies were no laughing matter – they were a case for the divorce courts and reflection of homelessness and hunger. 

But that did not make them any less funny (some might say that is precisely what makes them funny).


Domestic Violence and Pies



In 1904, a pie in the face made headlines in San Francisco as the centerpiece of a suit for divorce.

A. J. McLaughlin is an aggrieved husband and he wants to divorce from his wife, Carrie. . . . The climax of her alleged cruelty . . . was not reached until April of this year.  In that month she poured the contents of a coffee pot, including the grounds, over his head and threw a lemon cream pie into his face.

The San Francisco Call, July 24, 1904, page 28.

The story appeared less than nine months after “The Con-Curers” played to packed houses in San Francisco – just a coincidence? Hmmmm?  Perhaps life was imitating art.

Town Talk (San Francisco), Volume 12, Number 578, September 26, 1903, page 26.

A joke from the following year plays off the same notion of pie as a tool of domestic violence:

Goodman Gonrong gazed at the bilious looking pumpkin pie that had been placed before him by the sweet-faced young wife.
Then he turned and fled.
“Yeller peril!” he gasped. – Chicago Tribune

Omaha Daily Bee (Nebrask), April 14, 1905, page 4.

The image of pies as grounds for divorce must have been common enough in 1908 to inspire the following joke:

On general principles throwing pie into a wife’s face or elsewhere is sufficient cause for divorce, for it is an insult to every good wife’s masterpiece.

The Princeton Union (Princeton, Minnesota), November 19, 1908, page 6.



The sentiments expressed in this joke were echoed in what appear to be reports of an actual incident on Boston in 1909; although it is possible that it was merely a repackaged form of the joke, masking as actual news:

Deserves Censure.

A Boston woman is charged with throwing a pie in her husband’s face.
That’s a fine way to waste pie! –

Cleveland Plain-Dealer. 

The Plymouth Tribune (Plymouth, Indiana), February 25, 1909, page 6.

The report of the Boston pie (Boston cream pie?) went “viral,” at least by early 20th Century standards.  It appeared in numerous newspapers across the entire United States over the course of several weeks. 

A similar report from Pennsylvania appeared several months later.

Wife Smears Pie in Husband’s Face

Sharon, Pa., Nov. 29. – “I don’t care much about being arrested, but just think!  Here’s a whole, good pumpkin pie gone to wreck.”  That is what Joe Mueller said today after his wife had smeared him on the face with the pie and both of them had been arrested, the wife for assault and the husband for surety of the peace.  Both were fined in court.

The Washington (DC) Times, November 29, 1909, page 10.

Whether all of those reports were true, or not, repeated image of pies in the face suggest that pie-in-the-face imagery was well on its way to becoming a comedy staple even before 1909.  Further reports of domestic pies in the face suggest that it may have been more than comedy; it may have been an actual feature in domestic violence incidents:

Joseph Devorshack, a milk dealer of Pasasic, N. J., was fined $50 on a charge of having hit his wife in the face with a hot mince pie.

The Pickens Sentinel (Pickens, South Carolina), November 27, 1913, page 1.

Wm. D. Kruse wants divorce.  Wife threw custard pie in face.

The Day Book (Chicago, Illinois), December 16, 1913, page 7.

These Mad Wags

Because his wife threw a pumpkin pie in his face during the course of an argument on why the Lord made man first, a Missouri man named Piper is now referred to by his friends as the Pied Piper.
          - The Pea Ridge (Ark.) Pod.

Harper’s Weekly, Volume 61, Number 3074, November 20, 1915, page 498. 

As a side note, I find it interesting that many of these reports appeared between Thanksgiving and Christmas; I guess that is when homes were full of pies.

A film about marriage from 1916 stood this convention on its head – with two men throwing pies into each others’ faces instead of their wives’.  The pie-throwing in this film must have been particularly good; the director of pie-throwing was singled out for special mention:


The sub-title of “Married for Revenge” is “Two Old Chumps,” and its application is at once apparent when one views the disheveled appearance of the two principals in the scene.  William W. Farmer is responsible for the scenario of the story, and Allen Curtis directed the pie throwing and other scenes.

The Moving Picture World, Volume 29, August 19, 1916, page 1267.

Pie throwing was featured in a film about divorce in 1917; at a time when cinematic pies in the face were already a tired, old gimmick:

Max Wants a Divorce.

. . . The comedy should be a welcome addition to any program as the slapstick work is not overdone and fits in with the development of the piece.  The fly in the amber is the recurrence of that tiresome but apparently everlasting pie in the face incident.

Variety, March 23, 1917 (Variety Film Reviews 1907-1920, Volume 1, New York, Garland Publishing, Inc., 1983).

It is difficult to assess whether the various reports of domestic pie-violence inspired early pie-throwing in film, or were, themselves, inspired by pie-throwing comedies on film and on stage.  In any case, the image of couples hitting each other with pies was became part of the pie-comedy lexicon.  Humorist, J. P. McEvoy (who is credited with coining the expression, “cut to the chase”) summed up this sort of pie humor in 1919:

Moving pictures have opened up a wonderful new field for the pie industry.  No movie comedy is complete without its case of pies.
The most comical pie, of course, is the custard.

In movies the comedy reaches a happy perfection when the comedian throws a ripe custard pie into the nearest lady’s face.  If the lady happens to be his mother, then the comedy is even more inspired, and consequently the laughter is heartier.
One ordinary pie is good for at least three laughs, and a ripe, juicy custard produces even more.  When you consider that more than one hundred pies are used in the average two-reel comedy, you begin to understand the importance of the pie industry.

As the saying goes: Pastry is the soul of wit.

“Pies,” J. P. McEvoy, The Evening World (New York), June 9, 1919, Final Edition, page 16.


Homelessness and Hunger

Domestic pie throwing incidents may have inspired spousal-abuse pie throwing comedy; hunger may have inspired cops-and-robbers pie-throwing.  Pie stealing was a common theme in early American film.  Pies were frequently stolen from a windowsill or back porch when set out to cool.  In some films, the culprits were young boys; in others, homeless “tramps” or “bums” looking for a square meal.  It is easy to imagine an early cops-and-robbers pie-fight growing out of a stolen-pie scenario.

Even the first pie-in-the-face alluded to hungry bums stealing pies.  The hungry villain, Jean Badun, who assaulted Yvonne to get at her deadly pie, was also known as “Bumface.”[xi]

The earliest known pie-in-the-face film, in fact, involved a pie in the face as punishment for stealing a pie.  Film historian, Anthony Balducci, identified the earliest known incident of a pie in the face on film in the 1905 comedy, “The Coal Strike.” A charwoman is so angered by a small boy who stole a pie that she rubbed the pie in his face.[xii] Substitute Keystone Cop for charwoman – and you’ve got a winning formula.

Two other early pie-stealing stories involve pie thieves framing innocent bystanders.  The description of first of these films also typifies a type of casual racism that passed for humor at the time:

Circumstantial Evidence. – Who ate the ‘possum pie? Is the problem, and the evidence is so strong that any jury in the world would bring in a verdict of guilty, thereby convicting an innocent man and allowing the guilty to escape.

Old Uncle Mose Jackson is seen entering his cabin with a very fine ‘possum which he has captured, and he proceeds to make a ‘possum pie and puts it in the oven to cook, and while it is cooking he falls asleep.

A young darkey passing the cabin detects the odor of ‘possum pie, so dear to the colored race, and pushing the door open he discovers Uncle Mose asleep, and further search reveals the pie in the oven, which is now cooked, and Mister Darkey proceeds to eat it.  After finishing the pie, he proceeds to start a false trail, and using the scraps that are left he greases the old man’s face and hands.

The Moving Picture World, Volume 3, Number 22, Novemer 28, 1908, page 435.

The film ends with Uncle Mose believing that he must have eaten his own pie in his sleep.

Similar plot elements were borrowed a few months later in the film, “Caught at last.”  A young boy, Willie, learns about circumstantial evidence from a headline in a newspaper and immediately puts his new learning to the test.  He drinks milk without permission and frames the cat for stealing milk.   He takes some hair from the Irish maid, Bridget, and frames his father, causing a jealous row between his parents:

He then goes out on the back porch, where his mother has just put some freshly baked pies out to cool off.  Willie makes away with them, calls the dog, smears a little pie over its mouth and feet and runs away.

The Moving Picture World, Volume 4, Number 23, June 5, 1909, page 769.

Although many of the films tend to make light of the bums’ starving conditions, at least one of the films brings redemption to the pie thief.  When Tim is wrongfully hounded from his job for protecting the honor of a woman, he finds himself out of work and hungry:

Discouraged and hungry he passes a restaurant.  The sight of the viands in the window emphasizes his already famished condition, so he enters and begs for a bite to eat.  The proprietor coldly waves him away with a refusal, and in abject desperation he seizes a piece of pie and runs, overturning everybody who attempts to hinder him.

The Moving Picture World, Volume 4, Number 17, April 24, 1909, page 524.

During his escape, Tim steals a police uniform from a disarmed policeman; but then, in the guise of a policeman, is asked to save the restaurant owner’s wife from the abusive owner.  A pie-thief with a heart of gold, Tim goes to the rescue and so impresses the police captain with his Moxie that he earns a spot on the force; which enables him to win the heart of the woman for whom he lost his job.

In “Town Hall Tonight,” two down-on-their luck vaudeville performers find themselves stuck in the jay-town of Snakeville, without funds and without food, after the promoter stole all of their proceeds:

The next morning one of them is arrested for stealing a pie from a kitchen window and thrown into jail.

The Moving Picture World, Volume 10, Number 12, September 30, 1911, page 988.

In the 1912 film, “Apple Pies,” “the good housewives and also the embryo housewives have a spell of baking cakes and pies” for the village church fair.  When one of their pies disappears, they spike another with “sleep sugar,” enabling them to easily find and subdue the four comatose tramps who stole the pie.

Kinetogram, Volume 6, June 15, 1912, page 5.


In “A Green Eyed Monster,” two bums overhear a jealous couple arguing with one another.  They plant suspicious letters for each of them to follow, hoping that they will leave their home unattended so that they can steal a meal – including pie (although the pie wasn’t very good):

Still quarreling they enter the house where they find the kitchen in great disorder, the refrigerator and larder having been robbed of every morsel of food with the following note from the tramps:

“Sorry to have caused any hard feeling between you but we needed a square meal. Kiss and make up.  Wear and Pal. P. S. The pie was sure bum.”

The Kinetogram, Volume 7, Number 5, October 1, 1912, page 5.

In “A Pie Worthwhile,” some tramps steal a pie just looking for a meal, and discover that the pie conceals the payroll.  In “Kidnapping of Dolly,” some young rowdies kidnap a little girl’s favorite doll and demand custard pie as ransom.

What with all of this stealing of pies – and throwing of pies – it is no wonder that the two eventually merged in the Keystone Cops films.


Conclusion

Pie-in-the-face humor dates back to the earliest days of the film industry.  It was a well-established comic-staple by 1913, and a tired old cliché by 1916.  The earliest pie in the face on film may have been in 1905’s, “The Coal Strike.”  Other early pie-in-the-face films include, “Lady Helen’s Escapade” (1909), “Mr. Flip” (1909), “Keep Quiet” (1912); and “A Noise from the Deep” (1913).  Presumably there were many more.

The hungry tramp stealing pies was a common feature of early American film.  The cops-and-robbers pie-fights of the Keystone Cops may have first emerged from a similar common plot element.
Pie-in-the-face humor pre-dates the earliest pie-in-the-face movies.  Much of the early pie-in-the-face “humor” in print made light of what may have been very real cases of domestic abuse.  But even that form of abuse may have been a case of life imitating art; the earliest known instance of a pie thrown on stage pre-dates the various reports of pie-in-the-face abuse I could find.

The very first pie-in-the-face gag may have been thrown by Mabel Fenton, in her role of Yvonne Grandpiano, in Weber & Fields’ production of, “The Con-Curers,” which debuted on St. Patrick’s Day of 1898.  “The Con-Curers” was a spoof of an earlier melodrama, “The Conquerors.”  In the spoof, the pie in the face replaced a glass of wine in the face at the end of Act 1.  Force-feeding Yvonne that pie, and assaulting her to steal her pie, lampooned the forced sex-acts of the second act of “The Conquerors.”

Pie as a comic stand-in for the real thing? – it all came full-circle in American Pie’s classic apple pie scene.  Everything old really is new again.


[i] The New York Clipper, March 26, 1898, page 60.
[ii] The Sun (New York), April 11, 1898, page 5.
[iii] New York Dramatic Mirror, March 26, 1898, page 20.
[iv] Paul Potter is believed to have been Broadway producer, Charles Frohmann’s, lover.
[v] The New York Clipper, March 26, 1898, page 60.
[vi] The Sun (New York), April 11, 1898, page 5.
[vii] Through the miracle of YouTube, you can see a typical one of their acts here; they seem to be a lot like Abbott and Costello.
[viii] The Virginia Enterprise (Virginia, Minnesota), November 18, 1898, page 2 (The shrewd manager of a party traveling with “The Con-Curers” is following Charles Frohman’s company in “The Conquerors” from city to city, but keeping a week or two behind, so that audiences may comprehend the points of the burlesque.).
[ix] The New York Times (online), July 8, 2015 (a version of the article also appeared in print on July 12, 2015, on page AR10 of the New York edition with the headline: In Comedy, Some Weapons Are Sweet); reporting the discovery of the lost-reel from Laurel and Hardy’s pie-fight classic, “The Battle of the Century.”
[x] Moving Picture World, Volume 4, Number 20, May 15, 1909, page 652 (“Mr. Flip” was released May 12, 1909).
[xi] The New York Clipper, March 26, 1898, page 60.
[xii] Anthony Balducci, The Funny Parts, McFarland, 2011, page 9.