Scen: Larry Semon, C. Graham Baker. Int.: Larry Semon (Rollo), Madge Kirby (Madge), Pete Aramondo. Prod.: Vitagraph Company of America. 35mm. L.: 190 m. D.: 9’ a 20 f/s. Bn.
Larry Semon (1889-1928) was hired in 1916 by the Vitagraph Company as a scenario writer and assistant director and soon started to act in films he also wrote and directed. His clownish, beak-nosed slapstick character – known in Italy as Ridolini and in France as Zigoto – became wildly popular; wearing a derby hat and baggy overall trousers as his trademark costume, goofy Larry invariably gets involved in a series of disasters, ending in an explosion or a mad chase sequence or both. Semon was hard-working and well paid; in 1917-1918 he released a one-reeler every other week, and in 1923 six two-reelers earned him one million dollars. Skids and Scallawags is the typical Larry slapstick, “a fast and thoroughly satisfying short subject” (“Exhibitors Herald” of 24 September 1921 on The Bell Hop, also by Semon).
Semon’s fame has faded while some of his collaborators are now legends: Norman Taurog, his co-director in the years 1920-1922, for directing Jerry Lewis and Elvis Presley, and Oliver Hardy, from 1921 to 1924 his irascible acting partner (partly covered by extensive moustaches and eyebrows) for being Laurel’s Hardy.