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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations and Audiovisual Media

1. "The Cuckoo School": Humor and Metropolitan Culture in 1920s America
2. "The Stigma of Slapstick": The Short-Subject Industry and Its Imagined Public

3. "The Spice of the Program": Educational Pictures and the Small-Town Audience
4. "I Want Music Everywhere": Music, Operetta, and Cultural Hierarchy at the Hal Roach Studios
5. "From the Archives of Keystone Memory": Slapstick and Re-membrance at Columbia Pictures' Short-Subjects Department
Coda: When Comedy Was King

List of Abbreviations

About the Author

Rob King is Associate Professor at Columbia University's School of the Arts and author of the award-winning The Fun Factory: The Keystone Film Company and the Emergence of Mass Culture.


"King thus explores a series of critical questions about how cultural forms dwindle and reemerge... his work points toward a new avenue of research worth looking into when considering alternative constructions of American film history; instead of breaking down the myths that haunt much of film scholarship, the development of these very myths may reveal more about cultural consciousness." * Film Quarterly *
"King's approach is thoroughly revisionist, a genre history as grounded in the archive and the trade press as it is in the screening room, one that seeks to dramatically expand which films matter. ... Hokum! is a triumph! King demonstrates what happens in an era of expanded access to archival texts that are now more widely available on DVD, the digitization of trade press reports, and the ongoing refinement of film historiography. At the risk of ending on an unapologetically bad pun, comedy has a new King. " * Journal for Cinema and Media Studies *

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