Dr. Rich Edwards

Daily Dose of Doozy #4: Amusing Attractions: Harold Lloyd

106 posts in this topic

I’m not sure I agree that everyone in 1920 felt that “everything about the city seemed fresh and enthralling.” I was always under the impression that people went to Coney Island to escape the city for the day.

 

From Wikipedia: “When the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company electrified the steam railroads and connected Brooklyn to Manhattan via the Brooklyn Bridge at the beginning of the twentieth century, Coney Island turned rapidly from a resort to an accessible location for day-trippers seeking to escape the summer heat in New York City’s tenements. In 1915, the Sea Beach Line was upgraded to a subway line, followed by the other former excursion roads, and the opening of the New West End Terminal in 1919 ushered in Coney Island’s busiest era. Since the 1920s, all property north of the boardwalk and south of Surf Avenue was zoned for amusement and recreational use only, with some large lots of property north of Surf also zoned for amusements only.
1. In what ways does Lloyd use the settings, amusements, and attractions of Coney Island in pursuit of creating original slapstick gags? Be specific.

Lloyd goes from one amusement ride to another and showcases each one. In the roundabout ride, “The Boy” and “The Girl” join with everyone else, and each one, including “The Boy,” gets snipped by the lobster. Right after the roundabout ride (the first ride), “The Boy” and “The Girl” are running to try to keep up with the drum and one of them loses all their peanuts. At first, I thought the pinwheel between scenes was going to represent one or both characters getting sick, but no, it was just a way to show the passage of time. I wonder what 1920 audiences thought about this transition device.

 

I just loved the fact that “The Boy” and “The Girl” stop for food several times and overeat. In fact, “The Girl” gives up after the second oversize portion! At the “Test Your Lungs” exhibit (after all that eating), it looks like “The Boy” is paying for all that overeating, but no—once again, the audience is fooled. And I couldn’t tell from the clip, but did Lloyd use product placement when he took out that box of candy (was that a box of Cracker Jacks?!)  at the “Test Your Lungs” exhibit?

 

By the way, this clip must have started in the middle of Lloyd’s series of gags because I never did figure out how he managed to acquire the lobster in his pocket or the impression of fence slats on the back of his suit. Lloyd seems to be a master at sustaining a narrative thread and finding all the gags he can within that thread.
2. Do you agree or disagree with Schickel’s assessment of Lloyd as more “real” or “freer” of “exaggeration and stylization” than Chaplin or Keaton? Why or why not?

I’m not sure about this one. The only thing that seemed exaggerated about Keaton, to me, was his ability to keep his stone face. Keaton used everyday physical objects to showcase his talents and his comedy, much like Lloyd did. Chaplin’s Tramp wore an exaggerated costume, but I don’t see these details as being enough of a difference among the three comedians. Each one had his unique onscreen persona.
3. In watching this clip, what contributions do you see that Lloyd added to the history of slapstick comedy?

Lloyd took a location and created a series of gags that stuck with location and with the narrative. I haven’t seen the entire film (Speedy), but that’s the impression that I got from watching the short clip. This clip really kept me chuckling, by the way.

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Much like in a Woody Allen film, Lloyd uses New York as a backdrop for his comedy and the result is some of the most comprehensive and animated footage of New York streets and attractions of the period.  Every form of transportation in the city is displayed while he performs his harrowing driving and narrow escapes (using film footage in the background – probably a first) and we see all kinds of characters from working class folks to unscrupulous railroad magnets, street gangs, a Baseball hero and Civil War Veterans.  How symbolic that a dying breed of civil war vets dressed in football uniforms and armed with horseshoes fight to prevent a swindle by the railway men and help save a horse car that is destined to become obsolete.

The storyline is suspended when the couple goes off to Coney Island – another opportunity for Lloyd to showcase New York and the park’s exhilarating amusements and more notably to pause and display his antics.  Here we see Speedy carefree, “drifting” through life, unaware as he gets caught up in one mishap after another; totally by chance .  The guy who cares so much about his treasured suit of clothes gets sprayed in the face at the precise moment he simply walks by a water fountain, is so preoccupied by the misconstrued “spots” on his suit that he is unaware that he has leaned against wet painted fence posts , inadvertently attracts the affections of a stray dog despite his best efforts to get rid of him, unawares, lands a crab in his pocket and then reeks havoc on a balloon man, lifts ladies scarves and skirts and also pinches a few in the process.  Another best is at the arcade where he accidently smacks a man eating an ice-cream cone and ends up winning a prize when a ball thrown at him in retaliation hits the target.  Next when Speedy runs out of money and in a simple gesture of frustration he removes his hat, someone drops change into it … he is a victim of a series of mishaps and leads a charmed existence at the same time. 

All these little mishaps and recoveries occur abruptly and authentically; not in the highly stylized or exaggerated way as with Chaplin and Keaton.  But when the storyline resumes in the city, Speedy uses his wits and daring to overcome obstacles and help Pops get his due.  We move from “life happens” to taking the bull by the horns.

Thanks to Lloyd for the historical footage of a modern era and using “new” techniques like adding film footage in the background to heighten the action (also for the sarcasm in lines like “Where did you learn to drive – I didn’t it’s a gift” and “If I ever wanted to commit suicide I’d call you”).

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Considering what I've seen of Harold Lloyd as compared to Keaton and Chaplin, Lloyd seems to be more of a 'straight man' who inadvertently becomes a victim of circumstance, and he uses the Coney Island settings to present a string of new circumstances.  Repeatedly, things happen to Lloyd and set him up for some kind of payoff.  He is passive in these situations, whereas Chaplin and Keaton were both actively setting the gags in motion.  

 

I do agree with Schickel's assessment of Lloyd as freer of exaggeration.  The fact that Lloyd is a 'straight man' gives us little insight into what may happen next.  The gags are somehow more of a surprise because Lloyd's appearance  - no baggy pants or stony face or other atypical dress or features - offers no clues to how he'll act or what he'll do.  I think this lack of visible clownishness may help the audience identify more with Lloyd, and this is a new twist. 

 

What I noticed that seems to be genuinely new to slapstick in this clip is that Lloyd has used the camera placement to set up a gag - the close-in camera work leads us to believe that Lloyd is paying for his overeating, and then the camera pulls back to reveal he's huffing and puffing on a lung test.  This is a new element to the comedy: the camera is contributing to the gag, not just simply recording the protagonist's pratfalls from a fixed location.

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1.     In what ways does Lloyd use the settings, amusements, and attractions of Coney Island in pursuit of creating original slapstick gags? Be specific.

 

Lloyd supports the premise of being an everyman, average kind of guy we can all relate to as we see him taking his girl to Coney Island, which serves as a background to one physical gag after another.  Starting with the crab in his clothes venturing out & pinching bystanders as he and his girl are enjoying the various activities of the fun park.  Inevitably he physically pays the price for the rouge crabs menacing attacks.  Once the crab has played out it’s Lloyd’s own exaggerated moves preparing to throw a ball that hits another character in the face. Unintentional and without malice Lloyds common man with glasses encounters continuous slapstick episodes in this clip all within the theme of Coney Island, the prefect backdrop for a comedy of events.

 

2.     Do you agree or disagree with Schickel's assessment of Lloyd as more "real" or "freer" of "exaggeration and stylization" than Chaplin or Keaton? Why or why not?

 

I would agree with Schickel that Lloyd seems to be real in his actions and without the exaggeration of the more physical/athletic Keaton and less stylised than the well defined little tramp character of Chaplin’s.  Lloyd seems to just glide through his scenes doing normal actions that most people could relate to as opposed to extraordinary circumstances (falling houses, hurricanes, antagonizing policemen), which makes him the more common man.

 

3.     In watching this clip, what contributions do you see that Lloyd added to the history of slapstick comedy?

 

Making use of everyday situations and backgrounds as opposed to elaborate sets would be one contribution taken from this clip.  Another would be simple props (the crab’s claw) and to rely more on Lloyd’s character dealing with everyday situations.   

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1. In what ways does Lloyd use the settings, amusements, and attractions of Coney Island in pursuit of creating original slapstick gags? Be specific.

 

Lloyd was the first cinematic nerd. His set us as the everyman really works since Lloyd cultivated that image perfectly. He uses coney Island to establish a place for the gags to happen and the location filming helped bring the jokes to the front. His use of physical comedy was smarter and more sublime.

 

 

2. Do you agree or disagree with Schickel's assessment of Lloyd as more "real" or "freer" of "exaggeration and stylization" than Chaplin or Keaton? Why or why not?

 

Yes, lloyd was a more sophisticated comedy that used finer strokes than the bold general ones of Chaplin and Keaton. There halo was a sense of more cerebral humor here. 

 

3. In watching this clip, what contributions do you see that Lloyd added to the history of slapstick comedy?

 

 

He used the camera as a tool for the gag. he incorporated motion in the foreground and background. he also had an air of the present to him in that he looked like a regular person o that time. This idea of the comic being an average guy is essential in comedy now.

 

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I'm not getting the emails. Is there any way to remedy this?

 

Yes, you should start to receive them in your email starting next Monday. If you don't receive them by email, each one of them is available at the Canvas.net course site under the "Daily Dose of Doozy" button on the main menu. 

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Where else but at an amusement park can everyone be a slapstick comedian!  Mishaps are bound to happen.  The crab in his pocket is a silly gag that leads to trouble and he doesn't know why.  The lady assumes he was getting fresh with her, ergo the hit on the head.  The spinning wheel scene is wonderful.  I noted the set-up- the carousel in the background is gallantly going round with the people enjoying the ride, whereas the spinning wheel goes around creating utter chaos and fun for the riders.  Leave it to the crab to allow Speedy to remain as the last one.  All the junk food consumed is a clever set-up to the scene following; we think he's getting sick and he's just a huffing' and a puffin' in the "test your lung" attraction.  Very clever.

 

I would have to agree.  By "real" I'm guessing that Lloyd, in this particular setting, is the average person who happens to have silly and ridiculous things happening to him and the exaggeration is presented in a slick and perfect manner.  This leads me to believe that each of these great comedians watched and more importantly studied the routines and learned what new things to create, rather than outdoing each other.

 

​As stated above his contributions to the art of slapstick was creating newer situations that would be exaggeratedly funny and would be a respected figure in the genre, especially by his colleagues.

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Sadly, some of the best commentary--revealing great insights--about DD 1, 2, 3 and the the Breakdowns are coming in at the last minute and I do recommend that everyone go back and find them...

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The settings were used in different ways to make different kinds of gags. In the rotating room, the lobster gooses everyone one by one until they all fly off. In the next gag, the attraction (breath tester) becomes the punch line in a reveal where we think he is vomiting. In the last gag he succeeds through accident. I think it's the different ways he can get jokes out of the setting is clever.

 

Lloyd's character is more low key, than Chaplin's Tramp. The gags seemed to be ordinary situations in which humorous things happen. In Chaplin's comedy, The Tramp seems more active in his gags. In a dog's life we saw Chaplin avoiding police, sneaking the food, these are things in which he is actively doing something. The three examples in the Lloyd short show things happening TO him (lobster goose or the guy trying to hit him with the baseball). As for Keaton, the exaggeration doesn't come from the character, which is stonefaced, but from the outrageous situations. The latter can be true of Lloyd too, as his famous clock gag.

 

Lloyd added a different type of slapstick comedy to the active, confrontational style of Chaplin, and Keaton's man being overwhelmed by situation.

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1. In what ways does Lloyd use the settings, amusements, and attractions of Coney Island in pursuit of creating original slapstick gags? Be specific.

I see Lloyd using the setting as a more integrated part of the gag. More a "natural" part of the setting.


2. Do you agree or disagree with Schickel's assessment of Lloyd as more "real" or "freer" of "exaggeration and stylization" than Chaplin or Keaton? Why or why not?

He does seem more free in his movements and have a way of showing his actions in a way that Keaton or Chaplin didn't have in a the past. As stated above - in a more natural way.


3. In watching this clip, what contributions do you see that Lloyd added to the history of slapstick comedy?

I think he was the natural progression of comedy. To me, he feels more like today's comedians. A little more modern.

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1. Using the amusement park as his set up is genius. It's a common thread for most people. Comedy doesn't work unless we can relate to the situation and most everyone has had the pleasure of going to the park. Lloyd's success at the park is due to the unwitting situations. He's not normally a winner, right? He's like the rest of us, at least that's what we think. No one wins except by freak accident at an amusement park. They're rigged, true? He wins the spinning contest? Well, there's a crab in his pocket. He wins the doll for his girl? Of course the angry guy knocks down the cans. And which of us can relate to the oversized gluttony of amusement park food? Giant cones of cotton candy, beer and fritters, loads of deep-fried corn dogs. We've all been there.

 

2. I agree that he is freer. There is less schtick to his slapstick. He doesn't wear the stone face or the tramp garb. He is the every man. It is the ordinary circumstances that we relate to, shared experiences even across 9 decades that pulls both Lloyd and us, the viewers, together.

 

3. I think Lloyd adds a certain type of fulfillment in his slapstick. He finds the funny in the common man experiencing dream situations. Success at the amusement park in front of someone you're trying to impress. The brush with fame when someone famous walks into your business and how, instead of cool and collected, we'd all probably make fools of ourselves in the process. He looks like he's enjoying his life and I think we find joy in those things amusing.

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1. In what ways does Lloyd use the settings, amusements, and attractions of Coney Island in pursuit of creating original slapstick gags? Be specific.

Once again I saw expectations being broken. When the girl beats Harold’s back after a lot of eating we tend to imagine he is not OK and is throwing up, when he is actually “testing his lungs”. Also, when he punches a man in the face while throwing a ball at the cans, we have this very funny moment, because it is only through the man’s rage that he earns the prize to the girl.

Other amusements and attractions were already used. We have the strength bar with the hammer used in a gag in 1917’s Coney Island, and the rotating floor, I believe, was seen also in Lonesome, made the same year as Speedy. They are funny in themselves – there is nothing that makes them especially funny in a gag.

2. Do you agree or disagree with Schickel's assessment of Lloyd as more "real" or "freer" of "exaggeration and stylization" than Chaplin or Keaton? Why or why not?

I wholeheartedly agree. I love Harold’s boy next door persona in his post-Lonesome Luke days. He is believable, modern and often goes by his own name on the screen. I even wrote about his “adorable nerd” persona in my blog earlier this year:

 

http://criticaretro.blogspot.com/2016/06/harold-lloyd-um-adoravel-nerd.html

3. In watching this clip, what contributions do you see that Lloyd added to the history of slapstick comedy?

He is more relatable than Chaplin and Keaton (and Ben Turpin’s Rodney St. Clair). He is just like one of us, and it’s impossible not to love him. 

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1. In what ways does Lloyd use the settings, amusements, and attractions of Coney Island in pursuit of creating original slapstick gags? Be specific.

Lloyd using the setting of the amusment park to showcase a average guy on a date. The rides were props needed to do the gag or slapstick. Just like the lobster. Only the average guy here has things happen to him that could happen to anyone. He over does too much food and goes on far to many carnival rides. He's not good on rides.  You get the impression if not for the lobster in his pocket they would not have gone on the spinning wheel. The set up is the lobster pinching the lady and his having to buy the tickets after putting his hand out to steady himself after being hit. Then the lobster pinches everyone till he wins the game. And then when the girl is patting his back we assume the joke is that he's vomiting but no, he's involved with a carnival game to test his lungs. And finally the Carnival game. Hit the bottles. Win a prize. But of course our guy is not up to that and wins anyway due to the gag.

 

2. Do you agree or disagree with Schickel's assessment of Lloyd as more "real" or "freer" of "exaggeration and stylization" than Chaplin or Keaton? Why or why not?

Style advanced with ongoing improvement in cinematography. The improved use of camera and lighting added to what was seen. I think Lloyds style was different than Chaplin or Keaton. They all three were everyman. Keaton and Llody both used real physical stunts in their comedy. Lloyd had the luxury of better plots. 


3. In watching this clip, what contributions do you see that Lloyd added to the history of slapstick comedy?

The ability to (this is going to sound strange) be himself, i.e. the person he was playing, without over the antics of Chaplin and Keaton. I guess he ushered in modern comedy with out the vauderbilt backdrop.

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A couple of other things, maybe under Question 3 -- I was impressed with the timing of the milk bottle booth gag. That man had to enter at just the right time to get smacked in the face, and then when he threw, he had to hit the bottles. I wonder how many takes that took.

 

The rest of the clip seemed to be less staged, just people playing on the rides. This is later in the 1920s, but I don't remember seeing a girl's dress ride up that high in earlier films. She is showing an awful lot of leg and undies. I wonder if that was daring for the day, or had the flapper era really come that far? Some of the action seemed designed just to get her dress to go up, so it seems a little less innocent than Chaplin & Keaton's work.

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The setting of Lloyd's "Speedy"'s Coney Island represented a place anyone might go to for fun and wholesome activities. His date appears happy to be with him & anxious to try everything. He starts with the crab in his pocket and doesn't realize getting slapped & all his fellow passengers on the spinning ride falling off are being grabbed by the crab until he too is a victim of the crab gag.

I think most people could see themselves as Lloyd easier than Chaplin, "being involved in somewhat lawless pursuits like stealing and acting innocent when the cops catch him in the act". But Keaton, while involved in more mundane activities, always seemed to have an over exaggeration of his response to it like getting a piano into his his and all the trouble that ensued.

Lloyd could take an experience that anyone one of us could have and add a little gag ( the crab) and our experience would be as a direct result of it. No crab no gag.

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I’m not sure I agree that everyone in 1920 felt that “everything about the city seemed fresh and enthralling.” I was always under the impression that people went to Coney Island to escape the city for the day.

 

From Wikipedia: “When the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company electrified the steam railroads and connected Brooklyn to Manhattan via the Brooklyn Bridge at the beginning of the twentieth century, Coney Island turned rapidly from a resort to an accessible location for day-trippers seeking to escape the summer heat in New York City’s tenements. In 1915, the Sea Beach Line was upgraded to a subway line, followed by the other former excursion roads, and the opening of the New West End Terminal in 1919 ushered in Coney Island’s busiest era. Since the 1920s, all property north of the boardwalk and south of Surf Avenue was zoned for amusement and recreational use only, with some large lots of property north of Surf also zoned for amusements only.

1. In what ways does Lloyd use the settings, amusements, and attractions of Coney Island in pursuit of creating original slapstick gags? Be specific.

Lloyd goes from one amusement ride to another and showcases each one. In the roundabout ride, “The Boy” and “The Girl” join with everyone else, and each one, including “The Boy,” gets snipped by the lobster. Right after the roundabout ride (the first ride), “The Boy” and “The Girl” are running to try to keep up with the drum and one of them loses all their peanuts. At first, I thought the pinwheel between scenes was going to represent one or both characters getting sick, but no, it was just a way to show the passage of time. I wonder what 1920 audiences thought about this transition device.

 

I just loved the fact that “The Boy” and “The Girl” stop for food several times and overeat. In fact, “The Girl” gives up after the second oversize portion! At the “Test Your Lungs” exhibit (after all that eating), it looks like “The Boy” is paying for all that overeating, but no—once again, the audience is fooled. And I couldn’t tell from the clip, but did Lloyd use product placement when he took out that box of candy (was that a box of Cracker Jacks?!)  at the “Test Your Lungs” exhibit?

 

By the way, this clip must have started in the middle of Lloyd’s series of gags because I never did figure out how he managed to acquire the lobster in his pocket or the impression of fence slats on the back of his suit. Lloyd seems to be a master at sustaining a narrative thread and finding all the gags he can within that thread.

2. Do you agree or disagree with Schickel’s assessment of Lloyd as more “real” or “freer” of “exaggeration and stylization” than Chaplin or Keaton? Why or why not?

I’m not sure about this one. The only thing that seemed exaggerated about Keaton, to me, was his ability to keep his stone face. Keaton used everyday physical objects to showcase his talents and his comedy, much like Lloyd did. Chaplin’s Tramp wore an exaggerated costume, but I don’t see these details as being enough of a difference among the three comedians. Each one had his unique onscreen persona.

3. In watching this clip, what contributions do you see that Lloyd added to the history of slapstick comedy?

Lloyd took a location and created a series of gags that stuck with location and with the narrative. I haven’t seen the entire film (Speedy), but that’s the impression that I got from watching the short clip. This clip really kept me chuckling, by the way.

Marianne, thank you for expanding City Island beyond just the location of the short film. Knowing that the patrons at the amusement park may have come from the other four boroughs, makes Coney Island (for me anyway) another character in the film. Your research and you wishing to share it with the class, is appreciated here.

 

I am learning as much from these discussion as I am in the course.

So with that in mind, thank you again and to all who continue to share their experiences.

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1. Lloyd used Coney Island as one giant prop. The bit with the crab and roundabout ride throwing people around was quite inventive.

2. I agree with Schickel. As I mentioned above, Lloyd used Coney Island as a prop and all of the gags looked like something that really could happen but still have the comic exaggeration of slapstick.

3, Lloyd shows ten continued progression and development of silent filmmaking and comedy. Techniques and gags became more elaborate and sophisticated but still hilarious.

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Unfortunately I missed Daily Dose 1, 2, and 3.  However I do happen to own the entire collection of Harold Lloyd, so I will make my comments based on what I recall.  My favorite movie genre is silent movies mainly because it takes real talent to get the intended message across without the use of the spoken word and limited use of props.  I also read recently an article that I bumped in to on the internet that Harold Lloyd had 2-3 missing fingers on one of his hands, that he always wore a prosthesis or a glove to hide that from the audience, he performed all his stunts, and I can say some of them are truly amazing like him climbing a multi-storied building in Safety Last. 

 

Mr Lloyd in this particular movie used the entire Coney Island as his stage w/very limited use of props.  In this short clip, the crab is his only prop which proves anyone can make a silent movie on a limited budget; just be sure you have the talent to come up with stunts and be able to effectively pull them off. 

 

I have not viewed every movie in the Harold Lloyd collection that I own, but one included was his first talkie.  I was hugely disappointed when the movie started up.  I felt let down; however, it turned out to be one of his funniest, Cat's Paw; reminds me of Chicago politics! 

 

 

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Thanks to Lloyd for the historical footage of a modern era and using “new” techniques like adding film footage in the background to heighten the action (also for the sarcasm in lines like “Where did you learn to drive – I didn’t it’s a gift” and “If I ever wanted to commit suicide I’d call you”).

 

I watched Speedy earlier today and noticed these lines, too. So funny. So with this Harold Lloyd film, we now have slapstick and some verbal/written wit to go with it.

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While a montage is used as a means of storytelling, Lloyd does not use heavily shortened excerpts spliced together to show the time enjoyed by he and his wife at the amusement park. He does, however, give a certain amount of attention to the rides within the park. Lloyd's tendency is to show both main characters on the rides at full length. This approach to the narrative of the Coney Island clip easily heightens Lloyd's intended gags.

 

The first ride, which has Lloyd and Jane on a metal platform spinning in a circle alongside other park goers, is used to maximum effect. The audience witnesses multiple people being tossed left and right as the ride spins out of control. Seemingly unbeknownst to Lloyd, the ride has an assistant in the tossing of passenger bodies generated through a series of pinches. A crab has taken refuge within Lloyd's jacket pocket, and surfaces at the most inopportune moments for Lloyd resulting in a couple of gags which his character never knew occurred.

 

My favorite gag of the entire clip is Lloyd's gluttonous appetite. We see him gorge on a few of the amusement park's concessions, followed by a quick transition to Lloyd's back filling the frame. He appears to be vomiting, his body in a heaving motion as Jane gently rubs his back. The camera pulls back revealing a "test your lung," sign for a game, Lloyd turns facing forward and is shown blowing into a nozzle. He then pops what appear to be chocolate covered pieces of candy into his mouth and continues on to the rest of the park.

 

I concur with the more "real" and "freer" of "exaggeration and stylization" sentiments of Lloyd in comparison to Chaplin and Keaton. I believe both statements compliment him perfectly. Neither Chaplin nor Keaton presented realistic styles in their comedic routines. It's unlikely to be challenging and then evading authoritative figures on a daily basis in a comedic fashion, and the plausibility of a home's facade falling exactly in favor of sparing one's life is next to impossible.

 

Chaplin, having mastered the creation of "The Tramp" and Keaton always "going grand" in his routines are indicative of a somewhat loose restraint. Their brilliant, creative, artistic personas could have essentially been a downfall. And, this could be all due to the very people that handed them star power- their fans. Upon creating a persona/character, an artist can always be expected to provide a continuance of that creation. In other words, they can be pigeonholed by their own expression. Artistic freedom could eventually equate artistic imprisonment. This can be very difficult, if not impossible to rid oneself of.

 

Lloyd, on the other hand, didn't seem to adhere to Chaplin's or Keaton's type of comedy. His appearance is that of a commoner, unlike Chaplin's "The Tramp," he is not dressed to character. He blends with the crowd and is not overt in his comedic actions. He also didn't employ "the grand scale" like Keaton involving houses and pianos. Instead, he had a subtle approach with his comedic endeavors using a typical, every day location, such as an "amuse"ment park in which his gags could likely happen to anyone.

 

As I'm not entirely familiar with Lloyd's work, I cannot state the following with hard conviction; but in using this film clip as evidence, I would knight Lloyd as the subtle slapstick comedic performer. This is a very different, yet highly impactful occurrence within the slapstick comedic era because Lloyd successfully created such an unlikely "character." Slapstick is not known for its use of subtlety, as it was defined by exaggeration, over the top, in your face moments. Therefore, Lloyd's achievement gave a type of expansion within slapstick as an artistic medium.

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1. In what ways does Lloyd use the settings, amusements, and attractions of Coney Island in pursuit of creating original slapstick gags? Be specific.

 

My response: Harold Lloyd's use of the Coney Island amusement park as his playground for gags is the primary way he approaches in creating slapstick material, with the rides and activities serving as the set-up for said gags. The use of the lobster for pinching every other contestant on the spinner without him knowing and picking up the snacks he and his girlfriend drop on the rotating tunnel for example. The last gag in the clip, the bottle game, is when he adds a bit of conflict to the gag when he accidentally hits an ill-mannered passerby who decides to try and throw the ball at Lloyd, but hits the bottles, resulting in a positive outcome.

 

2. Do you agree or disagree with Schickel's assessment of Lloyd as more "real" or "freer" of "exaggeration and stylization" than Chaplin or Keaton? Why or why not?

 

My response: Definitely agree. All three of the actors had their own characters with distinct mannerisms and approach, and Lloyd stuck with a character that can be relatable to a lot of people who've been in similar situations.

 

3. In watching this clip, what contributions do you see that Lloyd added to the history of slapstick comedy?

My response: Lloyd pretty much plays the typical common man out of the main three, and he uses this persona to tackle different predicaments one after the other with such ease, allowing him to be quick to get to the punchline and move onto the next scenario. It pretty much gives us the impression that he is unstoppable.

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I like how Harold does his different gags with objects, animals, people. Yes he is freer, Harold is the common man, the every man making his way in the world as best he can.He is a go-getter & tries his best to succeed! :)

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While I agree with others that Lloyd's character seems more like an "everyman,"  in fact he does find himself in some absurd situations (moreso in some of his other films, I think).  Still, since absurdity happens to all of us, we can identify with the incidents, even as the complications pile on to a ridiculous extent.

 

Here, the Coney Island setting set the stage for "fun" from the get-go; Coney Island is a place people go to have fun.  And Lloyd bounces around the "set" making comedy out of all of its sights and attractions, prompting the greatest possible number of viewers to identify his experience as a "typical day" at the park (hey -- I do that too).

 

The overindulgence scene is funny, but I'm a little bit baffled by the editing.  To me, it would make more sense to show Lloyd over-eating first, then going on all the twisting, turning rides, and then performing the vomit/lung test gag.  But then, I've never been sick at the park, so I don't really know whether the queasiness is caused by too much action followed by too much food, or by too much food followed by too much action.  Maybe an interlacing of the clips (ride/eat/ride/eat) would have made a better set-up for the gag?

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