April 20 is silent comedy star Harold Lloyd's birthday and THE FUTURIST! is going to honor this day by posting a 7 part YouTube presentation of Paul Merton's Silent Clowns documentary shown on the BBC in 2006. According to THE FUTURIST!'s research (not being in Great Britain) it seems British comedian Paul Merton devoted a 4 part series to silent film comedy featuring Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy and Harold Lloyd. It was such a success that Merton published a book to partner with the series. The specials brought the great cinematic comic landmarks of these geniuses to the British public who had, surprisingly, not been overly familiar with ALL of the subjects covered.
If you have about 60 minutes to spare, please watch this excellent documentary and, in parts 5, 6 & 7, you see one of THE FUTURIST!'s favorite short films starring Harold Lloyd entitled NEVER WEAKEN.
THE FUTURIST! became acquainted with Harold Lloyd years and years ago by the good graces of public television. Each week they featured Lloyd short or film on a Saturday night. THE FUTURIST! found these films to be quite satisfying and showed him the power of silent film ... it was as good, if not better, in some cases, than some of the films he was watching at that time. Chaplin was a genius in characterization and pathos and acrobatics. Buster Keaton was the sad faced stoic who weathered and conquered most inanimate objects. THE FUTURIST! loves them as much as Lloyd, but Lloyd's films had air tight perfect narratives seasoned with perfectly timed gags and thrilling stunts. He represented this everyman ... normal looking (a bit of a nerd or snob) who was so easy to relate to for the viewer.
If only comedy was still this innovative and brilliant.