Cover Image

Larger ImageView Larger



The Early Sound Slapstick Short and Depression-Era Mass Culture

Rob King (Author)

Other Formats Available:
At publication date, a free ebook version of this title will be available through Luminos, University of California Press’s Open Access publishing program. Visit to learn more.
Hokum! is the first book to take a comprehensive view of short-subject slapstick comedy in the early sound era. Challenging the received wisdom that sound destroyed the slapstick tradition, author Rob King explores the slapstick short’s Depression-era development against a backdrop of changes in film industry practice, comedic tastes, and moviegoing culture. Each chapter is grounded in case studies of comedians and comic teams, including the Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, and Robert Benchley. The book also examines how the past legacy of silent-era slapstick was subsequently reimagined as part of a nostalgic mythology of Hollywood’s youth.
Rob King is Associate Professor at Columbia University’s School of the Arts and author of the award-winning The Fun Factory: The Keystone Film Company and the Emergence of Mass Culture.

Join UC Press

Members receive 20-40% discounts on book purchases. Find out more