Here’s a new book that looks fascinating. CHASE! A Tribute to the Keystone Cops is a compendium of writing about the Keystone Cops by a collection of great silent comedy writers, edited by Lon & Debra Davis.
Though the humour of the Keystone films may seem primitive today, the impact and influence of the Cops was enormous. Authority had never been shown to be so incompetent as a subject of comedy before this, in the stuffy Edwardian era of polite manners. Early film comedy was as rebellious, in its way, as rock and roll later was, and the Cops were at the forefront of comic anarchy. They represent the alternative comedy movement of their day!
Even those who know little about silent comedy probably have some vague notion of the Keystone cops. Yet, despite the fact that they are such icons, this is surprisingly the first book devoted solely to them. Over the years, false rumours have become taken as fact, misinformation has been perpetrated and films have been mislabelled. Who were the cops? How did they originate? What films did they appear in?
CHASE! answers these questions and many more. The book’s contributors include silent-era historians of the first rank, including Joe Adamson, John Bengtson, Lon Davis, Rob Farr, Paul E. Gierucki, Sam Gill, Michael J. Hayde, Rob King, Chris Seguin, Randy Skretvedt, Lea Stans, Brent E. Walker, Marc Wanamaker, and Mark Pruett (see the image of the contents page below for details of the contents). The book promises over 300 seldom-seen photos, press book illustrations, lobby cards, and trade ads and bios of 56 performers who appeared as cops over the years.
The book is available from Bear Manor Media, and also through Amazon and other online retailers. All the proceeds are being donated to film preservation, so there’s no excuse not to! I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into this one. Here’s the link, and the back cover and contents pages are below.