The Keystone Kops
Riotously rough-and-tumble, creating slapstick mayhem and buffoonery wherever they went, Mack Sennett's Keystone Kops were the kings of early silent comedy. It was character actor Hank Mann who first conceived of the Kops. It took a bit of doing, but Mann successfully convinced Sennett to make movies centered around his new team. The original seven Keystone Kops were George Jesky, Bobby Dunn, Mack Riley, Charles Avery, Slimm Summerville, Edgar Kennedy, and Hank Mann. Mann played police chief Teeheezel for only a short while before he was replaced by comedian Ford Serling, the most famous Kop of all. They made their debut in Hoffmeyer's Legacy (1912), but did not hit the big time until they appeared in The Bangville Police. As a team, the Kops performed all their own stunts, many of which involved moving vehicles, tall buildings, and of course, custard pies in the face. This was funny and thrilling onscreen, but during production the pratfalls and stunts could be quite dangerous. During the two years the Kops reigned, some of young Hollywood's most gifted comedians would pass through their ranks, notably Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle and Chester Conklin. In 1914, the Keystone Kops were replaced by the daring Mack Sennett Bathing Beauties, who would include such screen sirens as Gloria Swanson.