Los Angeles-born Leo McCarey was, along with Frank Capra, one of the most popular and successful comedy directors of the pre-World War II era. Unlike Capra, however, McCarey’s success endured well after World War II, and like Capra, his work was still influencing filmmakers in the 1990s. Originally an attorney, McCarey entered films by a circuitous route shortly after starting his own practice, beginning as an assistant to Tod Browning. During the 1920s, he went to work for Hal Roach Studios as a gag writer and director and, within two years, was a vice president. It was while at Roach that McCarey teamed Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy together for the first time, thus creating one of the most enduring comedy teams of all time. As a director, he imposed a frantically paced, breakneck speed to comedy which quickly became his trademark in the 1930s. A triple-threat as writer and producer as well as director, McCarey made some of the most inspired comedies of the decade, including The Milky… read more
James Parrott (August 2, 1897 – May 10, 1939) was an American actor and film director; and the younger brother of film comedian Charley Chase.
James Gibbons Parrott was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Charles and Blanche Thompson Parrott. In 1903, his father died from a heart attack, leaving the family in bad financial shape, which forced them to move in with a relative. Charley Jr. quit school, so he could go to work, in order to support his mother and brother. Eventually the call of the stage beckoned him, and Charley Jr. left home at age 16 to travel the vaudeville circuit as a singer and comedic performer. By the time James had reached his teens, he too, had quit school, and became involved with the street gangs of Baltimore.
Later, Charley’s connections in the film industry helped get his younger brother established in movies, and he would appear during the 1920s in a series of relatively successful comedies for producer Hal Roach. He was billed… read more