Mack Sennett, born into an Irish Catholic family in Richmond, Quebec, was a pioneer of slapstick comedy in silent movies. He was known in Hollywood as “the King of Comedy.” Sennett started out in New York as a chorus boy, then actor, then director. He eventually received financial backing to found Keystone Studios, his own company, which had the first enclosed studio film stage in history. Sennett introduced the world to Charlie Chaplin and the Keystone Kops. He helped create the vocabulary of slapstick humor in the silent cinema of the 1910s and 1920s, including pie-throwing, car chases, and exaggerated stunt falls (not to mention people literally being slapped with sticks).  

Mack Sennett
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, JWS35608
The Stolen Purse, 1913.

Further Reading

Walker, Brent. Mack Sennett’s Fun Factory: A History and Filmography of his Studio and his Keystone and Mack Sennett Comedies, with Biographies of Players and Personnel. 2 vols. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2010.