Al Joy

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
Bor Enots
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Al Joy

Unread post by Bor Enots » Mon Sep 03, 2018 6:00 am

AL JOY COMEDIES
In October 1924 Ricardo Films, Inc. announced that they would be making a series of eight comedies featuring Al Joy to be directed by Joseph Richmond. The big announcement noted that this was Al Joy’s return to the screen after a three-year absence, mentioned he was English and inferred he had worked alongside Chaplin for six years. In reality Al Joy made a single film in 1920 for the one and done Rival Film Company called “Jits and Wits” where he did a Chaplin impersonation. From the single review of the film it seemed that Al Joy helped Ray Hughes and Harry Mann move up a notch or two from the bottom of the bad Tramp imitators list with his effort. Ricardo Films was organized in late September 1924 and Al Joy was one of the principal stock holders. By mid-November their plans further announced that the comedies would also feature Lou Marks and be branded “Joy-Mark” comedies. The company, however, seemed to have a number of false starts. “The Orphan” was announced as the first film and being shot in November 1924, yet trade papers announced August 1925 that the film was just finishing (even though there were mentions of the title on release schedules published in May 1925), but then its completion was announced once more in October 1925 with a different director and slightly different cast. In all likelihood it was made in 1924 and the latter announcements were just an attempt to keep the title fresh for potential distributors, or maybe they reshot it due to problems with the first attempt. The second film in the series “The Old Gang” was noted as having started filming in September 1925 and then again in December (this time noting a change of director with old Larry Semon cohort Joe Basil talking over the megaphone). These films were being filmed on the East Coast with the second, and perhaps first, being produced at the Ideal Studio in Cliffside, New Jersey (some of the other East Coast productions were made at Pyramid Studio in Astoria, New York). Ricardo Films kept making announcements through 1925 until early 1927 and then just seemed to disappear replaced by Lange-Joy Films, Inc. (a company Joy co-owned with Walter C. Lange). The new company made announcements about the films as if they were freshly made but did secure a distribution deal with Cranfield & Clarke so some of the films did get to theaters. Lange-Joy also seemed to kick back up production with a small batch of Al Joy Comedies being made in California in 1927 at the old Charles Ray Studio called Jean Navelle Studio at the time. But by late 1927 there were no more announcements, Lange-Joy seemed to disappear and the few mentions of Al Joy Comedies on the release charts over the next year or so were again noting them as Ricardo product. In all ten or eleven (depending on how you count and what publicity is to be believed) Al Joy Comedies were made. Two of the films, “Helpless Helper” (one of the Hollywood productions) and “Spooky Money” are extant in complete or near complete form, fragments from two other yet to be identified films also exist. None of the films were copyrighted, nor were they reviewed in any of the trade papers.
In November 1928 Arlington Pictures, Inc. announced that they would be featuring Al Joy in a series of two reel talking pictures to be released through Capital Film Exchange. That is the last Al Joy is heard of until his major resurgence and rediscovery about ten years ago.

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Tommie Hicks
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Re: Al Joy

Unread post by Tommie Hicks » Mon Sep 03, 2018 7:19 am

I challenge the concept that Al Joy was the worst silent film comedian.

Jimmy Aubrey, Walter Heirs, and Vladedeckk(?) were performers who wrapped the mantle of comedian around them and went to it with disappointing results. Al Joy did not do the "comedian" concept. Joy was a completely neutral persona, he was just "there.". Joy absolutely registers nothing in amusement. He is not good, he is not bad, Joy is truly the hole in the donut. You have to remind yourself Joy is in the film. Joy is like a floater in your eyeball, he's just "there." You have to be a comedian to be a bad comedian and Joy could not grasp the concept of comedian.

In all fairness to Mr. Joy my observations on him are based on viewing two shorts.

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boblipton
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Re: Al Joy

Unread post by boblipton » Mon Sep 03, 2018 8:46 am

Well, Tommie, you’re one up on me, and I don’t generally dispute the wisdom of experience. However, the one I saw for my sins, The Helpless Helper, was labeled “An Al Joy Comedy.” Since Mr. J. (I refuse to use his name more than necessary, lest I be accused of aiding and abetting false advertising) is on screen, one expects him to do something, you know, comic. Which he proceeds to doesn’t. *

While your comparison to the hole in a doughnut is perhaps spiritually apt, it should be recalled that the hole was there so they could be fried more easily. They do serve a purpose while Mr. Joy does not seem to.

Bob

* some might think that sentence is wrong. While it may be, anyone who has seen the movie will agree it is accurate.
Look into the pewter pot
To see the world as the world's not.

-- A.E. Housman

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drednm
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Re: Al Joy

Unread post by drednm » Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:59 am

He has only 7 film credits?
Ed Lorusso
Writer/Historian
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https://wordpress.com/view/silentroomdo ... dpress.com" target="_blank

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Jim Roots
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Re: Al Joy

Unread post by Jim Roots » Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:44 am

The one-line evaluation from my book, The 100 Greatest Silent Film Comedians:

"Al Joy is to silent film comedy what Blind Crippled Horribly is to Delta blues music."

Jim

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boblipton
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Re: Al Joy

Unread post by boblipton » Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:46 am

Al Joy is in the hundred greatest film comics? Who was 101? Pauly Shore?

Bob
Look into the pewter pot
To see the world as the world's not.

-- A.E. Housman

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Jim Roots
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Re: Al Joy

Unread post by Jim Roots » Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:52 am

boblipton wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:46 am
Al Joy is in the hundred greatest film comics? Who was 101? Pauly Shore?

Bob
He's in the back pages in the section explaining why certain "comedians" were not included among the 100.

As you would know if you ponied up the few shekels needed to buy the book!

Jim

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boblipton
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Re: Al Joy

Unread post by boblipton » Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:07 am

Jim Roots wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:52 am
boblipton wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:46 am
Al Joy is in the hundred greatest film comics? Who was 101? Pauly Shore?

Bob
He's in the back pages in the section explaining why certain "comedians" were not included among the 100.

As you would know if you ponied up the few shekels needed to buy the book!

Jim
So you’re claiming that money spent so one can read about Al Joy is well spent?

Bob
Look into the pewter pot
To see the world as the world's not.

-- A.E. Housman

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Jim Roots
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Re: Al Joy

Unread post by Jim Roots » Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:18 am

boblipton wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:07 am
Jim Roots wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:52 am
boblipton wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:46 am
Al Joy is in the hundred greatest film comics? Who was 101? Pauly Shore?

Bob
He's in the back pages in the section explaining why certain "comedians" were not included among the 100.

As you would know if you ponied up the few shekels needed to buy the book!

Jim
So you’re claiming that money spent so one can read about Al Joy is well spent?

Bob
Money spent to read what I have to say about Al Joy is money well spent.

Jim

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doctor-kiss
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Re: Al Joy

Unread post by doctor-kiss » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:52 am

In October 1924 Ricardo Films, Inc. announced...
I'm highly skeptical that the company was called Ricardo Films, even though it was frequently (mis)rendered this way in the trades. Rather, it was properly Ricordo Films, as its name is given in all ads put out by the company itself, and in most notices of the company's founding.
Ricardo Films kept making announcements through 1925 until early 1927 and then just seemed to disappear replaced by Lange-Joy Films, Inc.
Ricordo also branched off in another direction at this time, with its second general manager, Harry Smith*, founding a new company called Silver Eagle Productions, which from Feb. 15, 1927, threatened the production of a series of twelve two-reel comedies starring Betty Jordan (a bit-part player previously active in bottom-rung Burton King features in New York, as opposed to any Betty Jordan that anyone has actually heard of) and... a certain Dick Coy, supposedly of vaudeville stage repute. While there was a stuntman called Dick Coy around this time, I really don't know whether he was one and the same person. But Joy and Coy... what are the chances?! Harry Smith's Ricordo Films provenance was flagged up in just about all announcements concerning Silver Eagle Productions.

===

* The first general manager of Ricordo Films had been James Judiche [=Giacomo E. Giudice], former president of the Lightning Film Corp., which in 1923 shot a number of two-reel comedies in and around the Plimpton Studio in Yonkers featuring the likes of Dedic Velde and Pierre Collosse. These were sold on to Verity Films, Inc., operated by the Ornato family (Giuseppe, Anna and Pasquale) who shot a few more at the same location, which additionally employed Fatty Laymon or Charles Dorety. The resulting pile of comedy was released during 1924/25 under the 'Lightning Comedy' brand by the Lee-Bradford Corporation. Still some more footage from unfinished Lightning/Verity comedies ended up in the hands of Siletti Films, Inc. (operated by Mario Giovanni Siletti and Francesco Balletta) and was worked into that company's two-reelers, including BABY'S IRISH NOSE (1927), from which I screened a few excerpts at Mostly Lost 6, featuring (amongst other things) some rough-looking snippets of its star Fatty Laymon together with Dedic Velde in footage from an uncompleted 1923/24 'Lightning Comedy.' The point being... that, just as with the Al Joy two-reelers, the recycling and endless rebranding of product featuring no-name 'stars' was absolutely endemic to this New York-based poverty row comedy scene.

Bor Enots
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Re: Al Joy

Unread post by Bor Enots » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:05 pm

Dr. Kiss. I most certainly just made a typo, wrote that on my (apparently not so) smart phone. But more importantly to discover that the guy partly responsible for Al Joy was also responsible for Dedic Velde!!!!

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