Classic Entertainment Autographs

Cat. #005245: BEN TURPIN

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Highly rare check, filled out and signed in violet fountain pen in 1921, during his silent movie heyday. In good condition, with a minor tear to the upper left-hand edge, where it was torn from the checkbook. Scrawny, cross-eyed silent comic actor Ben Turpin made his bones in vaudeville, burlesque and stock, elevating physical comedy to a sort of art form. His movie career commenced in 1907, when he was hired by Essanay in Chicago as both a utility comedian and janitor. Eight years later, studio chiefs had the clever idea of teaming him with their newest comedian, Charlie Chaplin, and the two proved wildly popular with the public. After two years of brilliant output, Turpin left to work with Mack Sennett, who cast him in two-reel gems like The Daredevil (1924), and features such as A Small Town Idol (1921) and the Valentino spoof The Shriek of Araby (1923). During the talkie era, Turpin increasingly confined himself to bit roles, usually spot gags utilizing his crossed eyes as a punchline, most notably in Ernst Lubitsch's The Love Parade (1929) and Wheeler's and Woolsey's Cracked Nuts (1931). He died in 1940. His autograph is highly uncommon in any format.