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Harry Langdon, the overlooked silent film star

The popular comedic actor in the 1920s is the subject of a new book, 'Little Elf: A Celebration of Harry Langdon.'

September 03, 2012
  • Harry Langdon
Harry Langdon (File photo, File photo )

He's not as well known as the three comedic giants of the silent era — Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd — but Harry Langdon was nevertheless a superstar in the 1920s. Langdon (1884-1944) played an endearing, optimistic man-child who always wore a small cloth hat and oversized clothes. Among his classic features are "The Strong Man" and "Long Pants." But his career plummeted after he decided to direct his own films, which were not generally well-received by critics and audiences. Langdon, though, rose from the ashes in the 1930s and continued to work as a gag writer and actor in two-reelers and features until his death. He's now the subject of a new book by Chuck Harter and Michael J. Hayde, "Little Elf: A Celebration of Harry Langdon," which is both a biography and an exhaustive filmography.

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