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February 10, 2010 > Mid-winter Comedy Festival

Mid-winter Comedy Festival

Submitted By the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum

Niles will be filled with gaggles of giggles and loads of laughter from February 12th - 14th when the Edison Theater and the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum once again present the Mid-Winter Comedy Film Festival. Hosted and curated by noted film collector/historian Richard M Roberts, the event showcases the Great Kings of Silent Comedy such as Buster Keaton, and Laurel and Hardy, as well as giving a look at some of the many other comedy greats less-well-remembered but also terrific like Charley Chase, Harry Langdon, Raymond Griffith, Lloyd Hamilton, and Lupino Lane.

Friday evening kicks off with a talkie comedy program that will give audiences a rare opportunity to hear the voices as well as see the comedy of comics like Harry Langdon and Lloyd Hamilton, as well as enjoy the talkie work of comics like Buster Keaton, who sings and dances in one of his best talkie shorts, Grand Slam Opera (1936), and Charley Chase, who plays a hilariously obnoxious sports fan in the classic 1940 comedy The Heckler.

Saturday afternoon will showcase rare films featuring comics like Al St John, who demolishes a ritzy dinner party in the 1920 short, The Paperhangers, and comediennes Alice Howell, who proves she is a waitress extraordinaire in Cinderella Cinders (1920) and the scintillating Frances Lee, looking very lovely and funny as she models some Nifty Numbers (1928).

Sunday is Valentines Day, and Love is in the air during our special program featuring comedies that examine different aspects of affairs of the heart. Mabel Normand stars in the rare 1926 Cinderella comedy Raggedy Rose, co-directed by Stan Laurel, and then Laurel and his partner Oliver Hardy engage in their perennial battle with their respective spouses in We Faw Down (1928).

Supplying the music for the silent comedies will be a couple of fine accompanists: top silent film composer and arranger Dr Phillip C. Carli from the Eastman House in Rochester, New York, and Frederick Hodges, brilliant ragtime pianist and film accompanist who lives locally.

A complete program schedule can be found at A complete pass for the festival costs $49.00, which includes a free copy of the events program book. Individual program sessions may be attended for a $10.00 donation. Send check or money order for advance registrations to: Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum and Edison Theater, 37417 Niles Blvd., Fremont.

For more information, please call (510) 494-1411 (leave message) or email

The Niles Mid-Winter Comedy Festival
Friday to Sunday
February 12-14
Niles Edison Theatre
37417 Niles Blvd., Fremont
(510) 494-1411
A complete pass for the festival: $49
Individual program sessions: $10 donation.

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