Film historian/friend of the blog Richard M. Roberts e-mailed me back in September of this year to let me know he was working on commentary tracks for several upcoming DVD releases. One in particular was the 1960 Robert Youngson compilation When Comedy Was King, and in my response to him I said that even though I already owned a copy of that film (I bought the Genius release of The First Kings of Comedy back in 2008, a two-fer that features King and The Golden Age of Comedy ) I’d happily spring for a re-purchase since I enjoy his commentaries so much.
The new DVD of When Comedy Was King benefits from “full-frame 35mm fine grains,” per RMR. If that wasn’t enough to close the sale, the disc was going to feature several complete comedy shorts from Richard’s personal collection. So, if you were as tempted as I am after hearing this, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s already a listing up at Amazon for this release; RMR regrets that “the boneheads there have connected it to a bunch of customer reviews for a ten year old DVD release that has nothing to do with us”—so pay no attention to those men behind the curtain, cartooners.
In addition to all this 35mm sparkliness and Richard’s great commentaries, the bodacious extras are the shorts An Elephant on His Hands (1920; with Hughie Mack & Dot Farley); Fast and Furious (1924; with Lige Conley); and Heavy Love (1926), the Ton of Fun classic previously discussed here on the blog. The musical accompaniment is by Donald Sosin, who worked on the Kino Sally of the Sawdust release also reviewed here at TDOY.
Forgotten Noir Fridays here every week. So, I naturally assumed the When Comedy Was King disc was coming out on VCI…and once again, my predilection for jumping to conclusions was my downfall. (Nothing serious, though. I walked if off after rubbing some dirt on it.) KPF formed The Sprocket Vault last year to do DVD/Blu-ray distribution on their own (take that, middleman!) with movies from both their and other producers’ collections. “You’ll find a varied collection in almost every genre ranging from the Classics, the not-so-classics, and countless hours of entertainment in-between,” boasts a November press release for King about the Vault (their release of the restored A Walk in the Sun  has already earned much praise from classic film fans). Keep an eye on TDOY, for I hope to have a review up of When Comedy Was King very soon.