Monday, April 14, 2014



The idea of troops and troupes of bumbling cops must be somewhat universal. What started to be a column on Garrison Keillor, American Humorist and constant on NPR for decades, and would have been another puzzlement to anyone outside the United Stated, Canada and possibly, Great Britain, where he has been a contributor, was scrapped for a concept, instead. The idea of bumbling lawmen in our midst. Admittedly, the examples I have to offer are few, but they span “the pond” beginning with the “The Pirates of Penzance” Bobbies of Gilbert and Sullivan fame, and bracketing this with Mack Sennett's “Keystone Kops”.

Keystone Kops with Buster Keaton and a Ladder! Pure comedy gold!

I played for many touring seasons with the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players and am particularly familiar with the skewering that G&S ladled onto everyone and everything; no exceptions. “Pirates” leaves no stone unhurled as it makes pretty much everyone look rather dim-mish, although all are kind-hearted in the end. That is what made playing G&S so much fun; that and Albert Bergeret was a wonderful director and musician and his touring productions, as well as his productions in New York were first-rate.

Although the group is based in NYC, they tour the country several times a year. I was a part of the touring group for 12 seasons.
I think what makes the Keystone Kops and the Policemen of Pirates so funny (and endearing) is the idea of authority gone hopelessly incompetent. The authority figures as presented by both Gilbert and Sullivan and Mack Sennett seem barely able to walk and chew gum. In G&S's case, everyone got a shellacking, from the Major General (“I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major General” is one of the GREAT putdowns of stuffy British Military figures of the era) on down to the Pirates who were so kind-hearted, all anyone had to do was declare themselves and orphan, and they were instantly released!

"A Policeman's Lot is Not a Happy One"

The Keystone Kops fare little better; they can't even sit in a chair without a major catastrophe occurring. One of their other wonderful comedic tools in their bag of tricks was “the chase” which usually involved packs of them running after some miscreant. This occurred on streets, on top of trains and involved many near-misses (mostly) with stationary objects. This device would be used decades later for years, by Benny Hill and his crew. It is physical comedy (and singing, in the case of G&S) at it's finest!


Title: Golden Dawn
Author: Aldrea Alien
Genre: Paranormal

Release date: April 18th, 2014

From now until April 18th, I will be show-casing Aldrea Alien's newest release, Golden Dawn. This will include an raffle-copter (be sure and enter!) and well. . . I'll let her take it from here!

 Family and blood.

After 1100 years, these simple words mean everything to Herald. His life has been ruled by keeping his siblings safe, keeping them from becoming prey whilst feeding on the weaker. His failures have been many and measured by those he has lost. People like his twin brother.

There has always been an enemy to push back or defeat.

Just who the enemy is comes into question when Herald meets the dangerous, angelic creature he is to guard. Wondering where his true loyalties lie is a dangerous thought. No matter whether he chooses family over the heart, it will mean death.

Only the right choice will ensure the life taken is not his.

Buy Links:

Andrea Alien

Author Bio:
Born and raised in New Zealand, Aldrea Alien lives on a small farm with her family, including a menagerie of animals. Since discovering a love of writing at the age of twelve, she hasn't found an ounce of peace from the characters plaguing her mind.


Julia said...

The Keytone Kops remind me of British humor and Monty Pathon. Looks fun!

D Biswas said...

"the idea of authority gone hopelessly incompetent. The authority figures as presented by both Gilbert and Sullivan and Mack Sennett seem barely able to walk and chew gum."

Makes me want to watch them already :)

Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2014, My Latest post

Twitter: @AprilA2Z

Viola Fury said...


I think they actually got the earliest ideas for this from the French! Those were the earliest reels I could find from 1903, and though they were of poor quality, the gist is the same.

There are definite relationships between the American and British versions of this type of humor. Benny Hill translates well over to the U.S. as does Monty Python for much of the same reason, although both Hill and Monty developed much richer comedy with their gags, songs and parodies! I'm always up for them as well as the oldies, but goodies! Thanks for stopping by! Mary xoxo

Viola Fury said...


I spent 12 years in a Gilbert and Sullivan orchestra pit and it was 12 years of unbelievable fun! What the producer always, always, always did, was take songs like "I Am The Model of a Modern Major General" or "Let the Punishment Fit the Crime" and add some local scandal to fit with whatever city we were playing in!

The audiences loved it, but I must say, the local judiciary, constabulary and executive branches of government probably hated to see us coming! Of course, being America, there's plenty of rich material to draw from, but in 19th century Britain, when Gilbert and Sullivan created their Operas, they had plenty of rich material to pick from then! Some things just never change. I guess that's what I find so amusing about it all! Thanks, D for stopping by! Mary <3