Silent-ology Recommends: “CHASE! A Tribute To The Keystone Cops”

Hold the candlestick phone! Another new book on silent comedy is available to brighten our bookshelves? And it’s the first-ever book on the Keystone Cops?!

26 Best keystone cops images | Keystone cops, Cops, Silent film

“It is? Seriously?

Why yes indeed! I’m happy to help spread the word that the fine new book CHASE! A Tribute to the Keystone Cops is now available from BearManor Media. It represents a dream team effort by a number of historians and writers, all compiled by editors Lon and Debra Davis. Many of the names you probably know already: Sam Gill, Joe Adamson, Michael J. Hayde, Rob King, Mark Pruett, Chris Seguin, Paul E. Gierucki, John Bengtson, Randy Skretvedt, Rob Farr, Brent E. Walker, Mark Wanamaker, Stanley W. Todd, Lon Davis himself, and Lea Stans.

Wait–Lea Stans? Why yes, that is me, and I’m very proud to announce that this is the first time my writing is appearing in a good ol’ turn-the-pages book! If you don’t mind indulging my extreme pride for the rest of this paragraph, to say that this is an important step for me is…a massive understatement. Oh, if you only knew! Becoming a writer has always been a goal (“I want to write chapter books” is what I used to insist as a kid–remember when “chapter books” were such big grown-up things?). I majored in English in college–there was no beating around the bush about majors for me–and after graduating quickly discovered silent film. After several years of hard work juggling various writing projects with various jobs, here we are! Let’s see what the future will bring…!

The Keystone Kops | A Steampunk Opera (The Dolls Of New Albion)

In the meantime, the Cops will be on the lookout.

Getting back to CHASE!, even if I haven’t contributed a chapter I would be recommending it highly. Being an obvious Keystone fan, a tome like this is a necessity. As the backcover blurb notes: “There have been many worthy books on the Keystone Film Company, Mack Sennett, and Mabel Normand–not to mention the countless volumes on Charlie Chaplin. But, despite, their ongoing popularity, there has never been a full-length book devoted solely to the Keystone Cops. At least, not until now.”

And I’d say it was worth waiting for! It has 300 pages of detailed info on every Cops-related topic your heart could desire, from the background of Edwardian comedy to Keystone filming locations to sound era “revivals” of the Cops. There are biographies on all the (verifiable) Cop performers, a Cops filmography, and of course, hundreds of photos, clippings, and other illustrations.

Keystone Kops | Description, Movies, & Facts | Britannica

Like this, of course!

And there are surprises. For many, the biggest surprise will probably involve the above still, which we all know and love as the image of the Keystone Cops. Many of us have also heard that the short it came from, In the Clutches of a Gang (1913), is lost. Or is it?! Believe it or not, a fragment does exist and Lon Davis tells us all about it in Chapter 3.

This project was spearheaded by Davis, the historian and writer of Silent Lives. He and his wife Debra (they’re their own dream team!) also wrote King of the Movies: Francis X. Bushman, the first biography of the early star, and compiled Stooges Among Us, which has a similar multi-author format to CHASE! They both worked hard on this newly-essential Cops book, and I’d say they should be justly proud of the results.

Keystone Cops - Wikipedia

One of the many illustrations.

So! Wondering what the earliest “Cops films” were (so to speak)? Curious to learn about forgotten Cop actors? Looking to separate Cop facts from Cop myths? If you don’t become a Keystone Cops expert after taking in this book, I will personally eat it for you. It can be easily ordered on Amazon and also through its publisher, BearManor Media (where it’s available in hardcover and softcover). Contributing to this book was a blast, and I truly hope you enjoy it!

Keystone Hotel starring The Keystone Cops (Super 8mm B/W Silent ...

8 thoughts on “Silent-ology Recommends: “CHASE! A Tribute To The Keystone Cops”

  1. Congrats Lea!!!!! Super excited for you and can’t wait to read it!!!!!!
    How long has this been in the works? And how’d you get involved with it?

    • Thank you so much Debbe!! 🙂 Let’s see, Lon contacted me about the idea early last year IIRC, because he like the Keystone Kops post I had done awhile ago. I worked on my chapter last summer. I feel VERY honored to be included among such an iconic group of historians, believe me!

  2. Bravo to you and all your colleagues for this excellent book! Just about all the aspects of the iconic Cops seem to be covered here, and with a lot of enjoyable photos. I’ve been especially interested to find out details of the working methods of Sennett and the Keystone players in making the films. Also quite interesting is how the legacy of the Cops played out in subsequent years.

    Thank you for the great research and excellent writing in your section. I recognized my own experience in some of the myths. (Yes, I’ll admit I searched once for titles like “The Keystone Cops in….” and was puzzled when I couldn’t find any. 🙂

    Strange to think it took this long to have a book specifically devoted to the Keystone Cops, but when it finally got here, it was a good one. A pat on the back to all involved!

    • Your review is super appreciated, Donnie. Lon and Debra did a wonderful job rounding up all these great historians and putting together this book, I feel very honored to be included! Thanks for taking the time to stop by!

  3. Pingback: (Supposedly) Lost Films: “In The Clutches Of A Gang” (1914) | Silent-ology

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