I don’t recall what inspired me to buy the Charley Bowers DVD set a few years ago, but it was more than a pleasant surprise. I was introduced to a great talent in comedy, and animation. Before seeing the DVD’s I had not heard of him, he is not mentioned in any of the many books on silent film that I had read. If it weren’t for an essay by the surrealist Andre Breton praising his work, he probably would have been lost to history. It took some film historians years to collect his surviving films from dusty collections around europe.
Charley Bowers began his entertainment career in 2D animation, writing and directing hundreds of short films based on the cartoon strip “Mutt & Jeff” as well as “The Katzenjammer Kids.” In 1926 he went into live action slapstick comedy, which is where the DVD collection starts. His live film work was respectable, but it was the addition of some extremely imaginative stop motion animation that brings him up to a level of quality that makes him worthy of your time to watch.
Here are some samples:
He even has a facebook page
Also, a book is published in France that looks interesting.
It has flippable pages.