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Smile When the Raindrops Fall: The Story of Charley Chase (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series) [Hardcover]

Brian Anthony , Andy Edmonds
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 36.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

28 Nov 1997 The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series (Book 58)
At the age of ten, Charley Chase was singing and dancing on the street corners of Baltimore. Charley eventually became a local vaudeville attraction, but Baltimore could not contain the ambitious young man. After a brief, but memorable, stint in New York, Chase finally landed in Los Angeles in 1912. His timely arrival coincided with the birth of the film industry, and Charley Chase became a major force in the shaping of motion picture comedy. A human dynamo, Charley's talent and creativity seemed inexhaustible. As a writer/director/actor, Charley started out at Mack Sennett's Keystone Studios. Working with Fatty Arbuckle and Charlie Chaplin, Chase quickly became one of Sennett's top directors. Later, at other studios, he directed, then starred in his own series of funny and inventive two-reelers. Behind the scenes, Charley Chase was instrumental in shaping the careers of both Laurel & Hardy and The Three Stooges. Chase's personal life paralleled his film work. At first he was energetic and optimistic-as was the infant film industry itself. As the movie grew up, Charley got older too. Chase's career, marred by family problems and alcoholism, mirrored the decline of the short film. Includes photographs and a detailed filmography.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scarecrow Press (28 Nov 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810833778
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810833777
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 15 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,614,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

Charley Chase...is one of the great old-time comics who was touched by the cruel hand of genius but whose acceptance among the arbiters of taste was delayed until a half-century after his death. Now there is a biography, written con amor by a pair of excellent researchers whose affection for their subject is evident. American Cinematographer Anthony and Edmonds perform a worthy public service for the film community by showcasing the busy, comic, and poignant life of film writer-director-actor Charley Chase...the pleasant, fluid narrative opts for the personal rather than the scholarly touch...the breadth and depth of personal interviews is staggering. Anthony and Edmonds provide an engaging model for reviving the personal histories of the silent and early sound films eras, making old black-and-white comic images not only accessible but colorful and entertaining. All academic and public film collections. CHOICE ...a fascinating trip through Chase's career. The writing is simple and unadorned, much like the filmaking of Chase himself. The authors have a vast knowledge of Chase's shorts, and they meticulously take us through each year of his career...Unlike many writers, however, Anthony and Edmonds aren't blinded by their subject. Classic Images ...the authors...managed to reveal the full story of Chase through access to the Hal Roach Studio papers and their interviews with Roach himself, Chase's daughters, Jules White, Joe Rock, Ed Bernds, Dorothy Granger, Elwood Ullman, Anita Garvin, Marvin hatley and others who worked with him...photos include many from the Chase family album never before published...I appreciated Chase before I read the book and do so even more now... The Big Reel Charley Chase is America's great unsung comedy talent. It's about time someone devoted an entire book to him! Leonard Maltin Anthony and Edmonds do an excellent job of evoking the worlds in which Chase lived and worked...This is a worthwhile and valuable book. Past Times Author and Charley Chase buff Brian Anthony presents his idol, warts and all...excellent research and dedicated attention to detail...a rich three-dimensional portrait of Chase and his times. The Silents Majority ...diligent research...a complete filmography is included which on its own is a miracle of accomplishment...in addition, the authors have dug deeply into the archives of the film companies where Chase worked and given us a chronology of the movies he made, the dates they were done, even the casts...well-researched and documented...an illuminating study of the man and his times. Four stars. Rapport Now, thanks to the diligent research of these authors, tribute has at last been paid. A complete filmography is included which on its own is a miracle accomplishment...the general movie buff will more than likely taste the fruits of this endeavor. For those who are resourceful enough to read this well-researched and documented story, they'll find themselves with an illuminating study of the man and his times. Rapport, Vol. 20, No. 5 Along with fascinating biographical details, the authors cite specific films for analysis and provide a complet annotated filmography. Film Quarterly ...its cultural value is certain, providing an interesting and entertaining context for a forgotten star. Historical Journal Of Film, Radio, & Television The authors are most successful in making a case for a reexamination of Chase's work. This is a long-needed and most highly recommended book. The Current

About the Author

Brian Anthony is an independent filmmaker and served as writer/producer/director of the award-winning feature film "Victor's Big Score." He is a veteran motion picture historian and film preservationist. Andy Edmonds has worked as a writer, producer, and investigative reporter in the Los Angeles area for the past eighteen years. She has authored five books, including Frame-Up! The Untold Story of Fatty Arbuckle.

Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
"Smile When the Raindrops Fall" is a fascinating and affectionate look at the career of the vastly underrated motion picture comic Charley Chase (1893 - 1940). It's hard to imagine that Chase, whom time has mostly obscured, could be so vividly portrayed. However, through interviews with Chase's family, friends, and associates, the authors ressurect the comic in a biography that lovingly alternates between hilarity and heartbreak. Calling Chase one of the comic greats is no exageration: this brilliantly inventive and prolific figure contributed to over 300 films as writer, director, or actor (sometimes all three) before his untimely death at the age of 46. Chase worked with almost every major name in early film comedy, including Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle, Harold Lloyd, Laurel & Hardy, and the Three Stooges. The reader is taken on a nostalgic tour of silent and early sound comedy, its evolution paralleling the career of one of its pioneers. Excellent photo's and a detailed biography are included. An important piece of Hollywood history has finally been documented, and done justice, in this fine biography.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Honest, interesting and well written 19 Oct 1998
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Charly Chase was a very popular comedian in the 1920's and 30's. He has been mostly forgotten but happilly Brian Anthony and Andy Edmmonds have brought him back to life in this fasinating bio. The authors make the story interesting by revealing behind the scenes activities with true life turmoil. I had heard of Charly Chase for years and seen his name on numerous credit's but didn't relise how talented he was. I'm glad the authors took the time to give Charly his due...
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Was this review helpful to you?
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I have read the manuscript for this book, and must tell you it's a fantastic work. In an effort to update Amazon's Summary, I just want to tell all comedy fans that the publication date is definitely December 15 (Scarecrow guarantees delivery for Christmas); price is $49.95; it's 283 pages and contains over 80 photographs, many loaned from the Chase family's albums. Here's the Scarecrow Press Release: At the age of ten, Charley Chase was singing and dancing on the street corners of Baltimore. After a brief (but memorable) stint in New York, Chase finally landed in Los Angeles in 1912. His timely arrival coincided with the birth of the film industry, and Charley Chase became a major force in the shaping of motion picture comedy. A human dynamo, Charley's talent and creativity seemed inexhaustible. As a writer/director/actor, Charley started out at Mack Sennett's Keystone Studios. Working with Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle and Charlie Chaplin, Chase quickly became one of Sennett's top directors. Later at other studios, he directed and then starred in his ownseries of funny and inventive two-reelers. Behind the scenes, Charley Chase was instrumental in shaping the careers of both Laurel & Hardy and The Three Stooges. Chase's personal life paralleled his film work. At first he was energetic and optimistic -- as was the infant film industry itself. As the movie business grew up, Charley got older, too. Chase's career, marred by family problems and alcoholism, mirrored the decline of the short film. The book includes over 80 marvelous photographs, many never before published, and a detailed filmography. BRIAN ANTHONY is an independent filmmaker and served as writer/producer/director of the award-winning feature film, "Victor's Big Score. Read more ›
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Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and affectionate tribute to a great comic 8 Mar 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"Smile When the Raindrops Fall" is a fascinating and affectionate look at the career of the vastly underrated motion picture comic Charley Chase (1893 - 1940). It's hard to imagine that Chase, whom time has mostly obscured, could be so vividly portrayed. However, through interviews with Chase's family, friends, and associates, the authors ressurect the comic in a biography that lovingly alternates between hilarity and heartbreak. Calling Chase one of the comic greats is no exageration: this brilliantly inventive and prolific figure contributed to over 300 films as writer, director, or actor (sometimes all three) before his untimely death at the age of 46. Chase worked with almost every major name in early film comedy, including Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle, Harold Lloyd, Laurel & Hardy, and the Three Stooges. The reader is taken on a nostalgic tour of silent and early sound comedy, its evolution paralleling the career of one of its pioneers. Excellent photo's and a detailed biography are included. An important piece of Hollywood history has finally been documented, and done justice, in this fine biography.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charley Chase book will be out Dec 15--it's GREAT! 14 Nov 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have read the manuscript for this book, and must tell you it's a fantastic work. In an effort to update Amazon's Summary, I just want to tell all comedy fans that the publication date is definitely December 15 (Scarecrow guarantees delivery for Christmas); price is $49.95; it's 283 pages and contains over 80 photographs, many loaned from the Chase family's albums. Here's the Scarecrow Press Release: At the age of ten, Charley Chase was singing and dancing on the street corners of Baltimore. After a brief (but memorable) stint in New York, Chase finally landed in Los Angeles in 1912. His timely arrival coincided with the birth of the film industry, and Charley Chase became a major force in the shaping of motion picture comedy. A human dynamo, Charley's talent and creativity seemed inexhaustible. As a writer/director/actor, Charley started out at Mack Sennett's Keystone Studios. Working with Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle and Charlie Chaplin, Chase quickly became one of Sennett's top directors. Later at other studios, he directed and then starred in his ownseries of funny and inventive two-reelers. Behind the scenes, Charley Chase was instrumental in shaping the careers of both Laurel & Hardy and The Three Stooges. Chase's personal life paralleled his film work. At first he was energetic and optimistic -- as was the infant film industry itself. As the movie business grew up, Charley got older, too. Chase's career, marred by family problems and alcoholism, mirrored the decline of the short film. The book includes over 80 marvelous photographs, many never before published, and a detailed filmography. BRIAN ANTHONY is an independent filmmaker and served as writer/producer/director of the award-winning feature film, "Victor's Big Score." He is a veteran motion picture historian and film preservationist. ANDY EDMONDS has worked as a writer, producer, and investigative reporter in the Los Angeles area for the past eighteen years. She has authored five books, including FRAME UP! THE UNTOLD STORY OF "FATTY" ARBUCKLE. "Charley Chase is America's great unsung comedy talent. It's about time someone devoted an entire book to him!" --Leonard Maltin
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just a great comic performer 5 Jan 2001
By Bruce Calvert - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Until this book appeared, there wasn't much information available on Charley except in Leonard Maltin's book on sound shorts. This great book will illustrates the life of both Charley (Parrott) Chase and his brother James Parrott. Their lives were intertwined, and when one of them had problems it certainly affected the other. While Chase always had a jolly face on, this book illustrates both his triumphs and his failures. Chase worked with many great comics like Charlie Chaplin, Roscoe Arbuckle, Laurel & Hardy, Thelma Todd and the Three Stooges. Chase also directed and/or supervised many good comedies where he did not appear on-screen. There is a very detailed filmography (and musicography) in the back that includes the lyrics to many of the songs that Charley wrote, his many directing credits, and other film appearances. Sure this book is expensive, but if you love silent comedy or early sound shorts you will not be able to stop reading it.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Honest, interesting and well written 19 Oct 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Charly Chase was a very popular comedian in the 1920's and 30's. He has been mostly forgotten but happilly Brian Anthony and Andy Edmmonds have brought him back to life in this fasinating bio. The authors make the story interesting by revealing behind the scenes activities with true life turmoil. I had heard of Charly Chase for years and seen his name on numerous credit's but didn't relise how talented he was. I'm glad the authors took the time to give Charly his due...
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine bio of underrated Chase, can be enjoyed again and again 19 Mar 2002
By Scott MacGillivray - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I just finished re-reading "Smile When the Raindrops Fall" (third time, I think) and I second the opinions of the other reviewers. Very few authors have ever discussed the films of Charley Chase in print, and nobody has ever delved into the prolific comedian's personal life in so much detail. Brian Anthony and Andy Edmonds have done Mr. Chase proud, amply demonstrating how he created many clever and amusing movies, and how his private life sometimes colored his work. There are many rare and charming photos, including a memorable candid shot from his final days: his camera crew has just presented the new grandfather with "Gramp's Chair." If you've only been casually acquainted with Charley Chase, here's your chance to get to know him. Great reading for movie buffs, and well worth the publisher's price tag.
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