Our director was forwarded an email the other day from the wonderful Jean Darling, the former American child actress who was a regular in the Our Gang (the series of American comedy short films about a group of poor neighborhood children and their adventures created by Hal Roach) short subjects series from 1927 to 1929. Jean’s been a guest of our annual Slapstick Festival twice now, largely by dint of the fact that she’s one of two surviving cast members from the silent era cast of the show.
Jean went on from that early start to appear in many more films before ending up “on the stage,” taking Broadway by storm, eventually landing the role of Carrie Pipperidge in the original Broadway production of Carousel in 1945, in which she appeared in 850 consecutive performances!
The thrust of the email Chris received though was that, at 91, Jean has made an exciting return to silent film, appearing in a new short called ‘The Butler’s Tale’ (2013) directed (and written, and produced) by René Riva. The film was made by Sons of the Desert (The Worldwide Laurel & Hardy Society) and in it Jean plays Lady Cavendish.
Here’s what René said about the film:
“Here is the short silent comedy I made with Jean Darling.”
“Enjoy! It was filmed during the convention in Rolduc last September.”
Jean Darling as Lady Cavendish
René Riva as Elmer Fudge
Nico Cartenstadt as Eddie Edwards
Graham van den Hoogen as Bobby Blake
Joanne Mitchell-Waite as Lady Dumont
Derek Taylor Shane as The Boss
Written by René Riva.
Co-written by Nico Cartenstadt, Graham van den Hoogen and Jean Darling.
Photographed by René Riva and Arn Koppens.
Edited by René Riva.
Postproduction by DTS Entertainment USA.
Produced and Directed by René Riva.
Copyright 2013 René Riva.
Like the man said, enjoy!