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Journal Article

““The Spice of the Program””: Educational Pictures, Early Sound Slapstick, and the Small-Town Audience

Rob King
Film History
Vol. 23, No. 3, Beyond Vitaphone: The Early Sound Short (2011), pp. 313-330
Published by: Indiana University Press
DOI: 10.2979/filmhistory.23.3.313
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/filmhistory.23.3.313
Page Count: 18
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““The Spice of the Program””: Educational Pictures, Early Sound Slapstick, and the Small-Town Audience
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Abstract

Abstract Established in 1915, Educational Pictures was the industry leader in short subject distribution by the late silent era, dominating the market in two-reel slapstick films. Yet by the mid-1930s the company's reputation had sunk precipitously, and Educational failed to survive the decade. This paper examines that history as a vantage point for reassessing traditional accounts of slapstick's sound-era decline, showing how slapstick cinema's dwindling industrial status was tied to upheavals in the short-subject market and growing cultural divisions within Depression-era America.

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