TV Cream

TV: M is for...

Make ‘Em Laugh

SOME HOPE. Here was another plate of MARK CURRY served up whenever TREASURE HOUSES wasn’t on, and involving our man lazily bunging on ancient creaky Keystone Cops and Harold Lloyd silents from a pretend cinema while an off-screen American voiceover man did the real work (“Uh-oh! Here comes young Harold with a pie! Now, what could possibly go wrong?”) Also purported to “lift the lid” on how some of those “wacky tricks” were done, but only of the calibre of “how can one man appear to be carrying both ends of a roll of carpet?”



  1. Lee James Turnock

    May 26, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    This has got me thinking…in the 1975 Goodies episode ‘the Movies’, in the very first scene Bill is watching silent movies on television, with an American “Uh oh! See him collide with that tray of custard pies!” commentary audible. It’s Graeme Garden, obviously, but it was plainly satirizing the above-mentioned voice-overs from Curry’s show which began in the eighties. So was there another, similar series before Make ‘Em Laugh?

    • Sidney Balmoral James

      October 4, 2023 at 10:38 am

      I suspect it was specifically spoofing Harold Lloyd’s World of Comedy which had an irritating Henry Corden narration (‘Oh no, what will Harold do next?’) but I don’t think that was the only silent movie compilation with an irksome commentary. BBC was still showing Harold Lloyd as a children’s programme when I was little, and I enjoyed it immensely, but can’t imagine CBBC showing, sixty year old comedies for children nowadays.

  2. Applemask

    May 25, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Hey, fuck you, voiceover man, it was Harold who did the real work, and you know it, you pussy!

  3. Richardpd

    October 3, 2023 at 10:31 pm

    Mary Curry managed to present a few shows before Biddy Baxter came calling, the Saturday Superstore summer replacement The Saturday Picture Show comes to mind, along with the later series of Screentest.

    As well as the usual American slapstick fare, one old film show seemed to use a job load of silent French films which had lapsed into the public domain.

    In the 1990s Channel 4 or BBC had a series that took a more serious look at the silent era, often featuring dramas & documentary films.

  4. Glenn Aylett

    October 4, 2023 at 4:10 pm

    I wonder if these old comedies were shown as there were still a couple of million people around who can remember seeing them in the 1920s and 1930s. My grandparents, who were born in the 1910s, used to love seeing The Keystone Cops, WC Fields, Laurel and Hardy and The Three Stooges again, and were delighted when BBC2 used to have that series of Harold Lloyd shorts with the narrator. Also the sight gags and slapstick could appeal to grandchildren.

  5. Richardpd

    October 4, 2023 at 10:19 pm

    I imagine there a reasonable amount people would still remember them.

    Plenty of silent shorts had music specially written for them, either original or done later with even some sound effects, rather than that rinky dink tune which used to be used a lot to underscore clips from silent films.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top