Welcome to THE LOST LAUGH, a website and blog dedicated to the classic clowns of (roughly) the 1910s -1950s. You’ll find a selection of articles, rare photos and film clips from these great stars of silent comedy, sound shorts, music hall, radio, and so on. In the words of The Kinks, “God save Donald Duck, Vaudeville and Variety”.
As well as the classics -Chaplin, Keaton, Laurel & Hardy, etc – I’m fascinated by the fringes of the industry. Neglected and forgotten performers, who brushed greatness but whose names have not endured. Many of these now seem dated; some of them do not transcend cultural barriers. Some were of dubious value in the first place! But, amongst them, were some perfect fools, magical acrobats, superb pantomimists, skilled filmmakers and witty wordsmiths who still can provide so much entertainment. Charley Chase, Lupino Lane, Lloyd Hamilton, Harry Langdon, Will Hay, George Formby, Mabel Normand, Dan Leno, Clark and McCullough, Alice Howell, Jack Hulbert, Roscoe Arbuckle, Anita Garvin, Charley Bowers, Max Linder, Poodles Hanneford, Walter Forde…. the list goes on.
There are three basic elements to this site:
- This blog, which I update semi-regularly with articles, film clips, photos and the like.
- A more in-depth reference guide to classic comedy performers, people like those listed above. These are permanent web pages accessed through the menus at the top of the page. I’m slowly adding to these and hope to have a comprehensive guide to the comedians of this era one day.
- THE LOST LAUGH MAGAZINE (formerly MOVIE NIGHT) is a free ezine started in 2011 that goes into even greater detail and contains exclusive material not reproduced on the site. It’s produced roughly once or twice a year (depending on what other projects I have going on) and features exclusive articles and photos, as well as contributions from guest writers. You can access back issues here – if you’d like to subscribe and have new issues sent direct to your email inbox, you can find more info on how to do that inside the magazines.
Thanks for reading. I hope you find some new favourite films and performers while you’re here!
Matthew Ross, March 2020.