Welcome to THE LOST LAUGH, a website and blog dedicated to the classic clowns of (roughly) the 1910s -1950s.
My name is Matthew Ross, and I’ve had a passion for silent and early sound comedy since I first saw Laurel and Hardy on TV when I was four years old. From there my interest spread to the other greats like Chaplin, Keaton and the Marx Brothers, and kept on growing. As well as the classics, 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, Wanda Wiley, Poodles Hanneford, Gale Henry, Walter Forde…. the list goes on. THE LOST LAUGH is my tribute to those performers.
On this site, you’ll find a selection of articles, research, rare photos and film clips from these great and forgotten stars of silent comedy, sound shorts, music hall, radio, and so on. There are three basic elements to the 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 a labour of love, 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!