Fan Magazine Fun: Odds And Ends From “Film Fun”

Just in time for the weekend, it’s the latest installment of Fan Magazine Fun, where I share funny cartoons, fluff articles, and other strange goodies that can be found lurking in the pages of old movie magazines.

FilmFun charlie head cover Sept '19

And totally not-creepy cover art of disembodied Charlie heads.

This time I found so many amusing odds and ends that I decided to put together a little collection of clippings. These are from February-June 1919 issues of Film Fun, one of the fluffiest of early fan magazines. It began in 1915 and ran until the early 1940s. In the beginning, its covers were adorned with famous comedians (uber-popular Chaplin was featured as often as humanly possible, naturally), but in the mid-1920s the covers switched over to pretty girls in bathing suits and never went back. Film Fun was crammed full of publicity photos, movie gossip, jokes, and articles on light topics like stars’ fashions and cars. Any extra space was filled by a cartoon or a picture with a funny caption…so there’s plenty of clippings to chose from!

Here, for instance, is a full-page illustration of “The Movie Comedian’s Idea of Paradise” (opening the image in a new tab should make it larger):
FilmFun Feb '19 cartoon paradise

Note the “ma-in-law” apparently being murdered. Here’s another cartoon, about how to do a suitably dramatic elopement with the help of Hollywood cliches:

FilmFun Feb '19 elopement

“When they break the news to you, you must faint in sight of the reporters.” Haw!

I love the tiny Charlie and tiny Roscoe decorating this joke column banner:

FilmFun Feb '19 whim whams

And I love this Awesome picture. It’s the header for an article about movie studio lunches (I told you this was a hard-hitting publication):

FilmFun Feb '19 movie lunchroom

That’s some pretty good documentation of Mack Swain’s famous “panda eye” makeup. In those old 16mm prints with wonky contrasts his eyes look like massive black holes, but here, you see, he’s actually sporting lighter makeup around the eyes and dark eyeliner. Which is…well, not any less bold-looking. (And I love it very much.)

Speaking of grotesque comedians, here’s Ben Turpin and Heinie Conklin lampooning well-known “melodrammers.”

FilmFun May '19 melodrammer

We tend to think those kinds of stereotypes actually dated from the silent era, but not so–they were Victorian stage conventions long out of date by the time films became popular, and provided much fodder for many a comedian.

What’s this? I couldn’t tell either until I read the caption:

FilmFun June '19 doug handspring

Now that is one flattering angle.

Here’s a cute illustration–that’s a piano roll, if you aren’t sure.
FilmFun Feb '19 sentimental music

And here’s a particularly well-done illustration filling some extra space (one wonders if cartoonists provided whole series of little drawings to be used at the whims of magazine editors):

FilmFun Apr '1919 cartoon birds

Film Fun sometimes borrowed illustrations from foreign magazines, such as these slightly Tim Burton-ish Doug and Mary figures:

FilmFun Feb '19 doug mary

And of course, whenever possible they had to drop in some photos of bathing beauties–or their close cousins, the Bathing Beauties Dressed as Nymphs. Dancing Greek nymphs were quite trendy in the 1910s (see: Sunnyside, 1919):

FilmFun Feb '19 nymphs

Vamps showed up too, occasionally in artsy ways:

FilmFun Feb '19 doug mary cartoon

And of course, if ever an opportunity arose to mock movie tropes, Film Fun was sure to take it:

FilmFun Mar '19 rain

That’ll do! Have a grand weekend, my friends.

9 thoughts on “Fan Magazine Fun: Odds And Ends From “Film Fun”

  1. Great collection! I love the style of those comics at the top—especially “The Movie Comedian’s Idea of Paradise.” Those are so much fun to look at. I hope you will do some more of these collections!

  2. Pingback: Fan Magazine Fun: “My goodness, don’t they look strange?” | Silent-ology

  3. Pingback: Welcome, New Readers! | Silent-ology

  4. “And here’s a particularly well-done illustration filling some extra space (one wonders if cartoonists provided whole series of little drawings to be used at the whims of magazine editors):”

    Yes, Lea, we did. And still do. —(Former Illustrator, moi)

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