Classic Entertainment Autographs

Cat. #00104041: CHESTER CONKLIN

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Scarce and charming vintage 8x10-inch silver-tone costume portrait as Scotch barber Jock McTavish, the role he played opposite Charlie Murray in the classic comedy McFadden's Flats (1927) and then recreated on the stage at Proctor's 58th Street Theater, boldly signed and inscribed in purple fountain pen.  In very fine condition.  In 1913, pint-sized character actor Chester Conklin left a successful career as a Barnum circus clown to appear in nearly a hundred Keystone comedy shorts, invariably sporting an enormous walrus mustache to conceal his youthful appearance.  Legend has it that the actor helped Keystone novice Charlie Chaplin put together his famous Tramp costume; true or not, it is a fact that Chaplin kept his crony on year-round payroll for his later productions Modern Times (1936) and The Great Dictator (1940).  After leaving Keystone, Conklin remained a popular comedian at the Fox and Sunshine Studios and, in the late 1920s, was teamed with W.C. Fields for a brief series of feature films at Paramount.  In talkies, the actor typically appeared in bits in features and supporting parts in two-reelers; he also showed up in such nostalgic retrospectives as Hollywood Cavalcade (1939) and The Perils of Pauline (1947).  At his lowest professional ebb, in the 1950s, the aging comic genius made ends meet as a department store Santa Claus.  He made four contributions to the horror, sci-fi and fantasy genres:  The Phantom of the Opera (1925), with Lon Chaney, Sr.; House of Horror (1928); I Married a Witch (1942); and The Beast with a Million Eyes (1955).