Monday, October 31, 2022


Well, here we are on Halloween, and I don’t have any tricks for you… just the ultimate treat!

* Drumroll please… *

Announcing that “Scared Silly” the BOOK now has a publisher!!!

Yes, it’s true. Split Reel LLC will be publishing the “Scared Silly” book.

How did this happen? Well, I’d been aware of publisher Rob Stone for quite a while. He’s a fellow film historian/author as well as a film preservationist and professional archivist. He penned a wonderful book on the solo films of Laurel & Hardy, appropriately titled, Laurel Or Hardy… and ultimately decided he’d love to publish a variety of books on vintage film comedy!

Rob has guested on various podcasts and virtual events including Patrick Vasey’s Laurel & Hardy Podcast and Ben Model and Steve Massa’s Silent Comedy Watch Party.

It was through Ben and Steve’s show that I learned of Rob’s subsequent publications under the Split Reel imprint, “Pokes & Jabbs: the Before, During, and After of the VIM Films Corporation,” as well as the “Pokes & Jabbs Picture Book.”

In conversation with my friend, Bob Furmanek, co-author of “Abbott & Costello In Hollywood” and the restorationist of many vintage 3-D films as well as Abbott & Costello projects under his 3D Archives initiative, Bob strongly encouraged me to reach out to Rob about “Scared Silly.”

I’m glad I did, as not only was Rob quite enthusiastic over the prospect of publishing “Scared Silly,” but his love of film history and those who research and write about it was beyond evident in the details of what he proposed to me for a publishing deal.

So, how will all this work? Details will be forthcoming as we get closer to publication date so be sure to check here often.

In deciding to move toward completion of the book, I did have to make some concessions. First off, I’ve decided that my focus will lean heavily toward “talkies.” For the simple reason that there are so many silent films that are either incomplete or missing entirely. Exceptions will of course be made for prominent participants in silent scare comedies such as Laurel & Hardy, Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, Our Gang and the like.

The other main concession I’ve made is to narrow my focus even within the talkies. There are so many “borderline” entries like Hillbillies in a Haunted House and Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow that may have to fall away and be relegated to “horror-onable mention” status at best in favor of me digging into films that feature the most noteworthy of film comedy stars.

You may be wondering what this all means for the Scared Silly blog as well. The purpose of this blog was always to be a companion to the book. Now that the reality of the book’s publication is closer in view, the blog must take a backseat to it. It’s like when you get a free trial of a favorite video streaming service. You can’t possibly watch everything that streaming service has to offer during that free trial. However, if you like what you’ve seen, you may be inspired to make a financial commitment to subscribe and partake of all of it.

It’s the same with Scared Silly. I’ll continue to post some interesting news items or tidbits here or there, and re-post some articles that are favorites among fans, but I’ll be putting a moratorium on posted reviews until the book is published. Thereafter, I may post reviews of silent films or others that didn’t make it into the published book.

One more Halloween treat to remind you about: as mentioned in my previous post, I’m the guest-speaker tonight at Denny Daniels’ Museum of Interesting Things annual Halloween “Scared Silly Secret Speakeasy” event, Monday, October 31st, 2022 at 8PM EST.

You can show up live in person at the museum’s event space on Prince Street in NYC, or you can tune in virtually. Tickets are available when you click here, AND don’t forget I have a limited number of FREE VIP tickets (both in-person and virtual) if you email me at by 6PM EST tonight. Hope to see you there!

In the meantime, let’s revisit the trailer for the greatest horror-comedy film of all-time – Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2022


Hello Scared Silly fans! As you know, I'm all about the lighter side of the spooky season (hey, after all I wrote the "Archie's Weird Mysteries" comic book series, contributed a chapter to a book about Vincent Price films about the scare comedies he made with Peter Lorre, did a commentary track for the restored "Haunted House" episode of the Abbott & Costello Show, and have spoken at theatrical screenings of vintage horror-comedy films).

If you're here, you also know that I've been writing a book called, "Scared Silly," a collection of my reviews of vintage films from Hollywood's golden age wherein comedians get mixed up in spooky situations (think Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, The Ghost Breakers, Arsenic & Old Lace, The Ghost & Mr. Chicken, etc.).

Well, this Halloween right here on my Scared Silly blog I'll be making a big announcement concerning my book, so you won't want to miss that! The post will go live at midnight on Monday (right after Sunday ends) right here at

Additionally, I'm going to be joining my pal Denny Daniel of the Museum of Interesting Things again for his annual Halloween Secret Speakeasy event, also called Scared Silly! It takes place on Monday, Halloween night 2022 starting at 8PM and I'll be attending virtually via Zoom. You have the choice of attending live in person at Denny's Prince Street loft, or virtuallly via Zoom as well.

It will be a fun evening of Denny showing 16mm clips from classic films, both straight-up horror films and horror-comedies, with commentary from me. As always, Denny will also demonstrate some antique inventions and present ephemera related to monsters and movies. It's going to be a super fun time suitable for the whole family!

You can click here for more details and to order tickets, and I'll also have a limited supply of FREE VIP passes available (whether you choose to go in-person or just tune in virtually) if you reach out to me at

Hope to see you all on Monday... it promises to be a "Goodnight!"

Thursday, October 20, 2022


Hello Scared Silly fans! Hope you're enjoying the spooky season.

I’ve written about my friends Ben Model and Steve Massa before. They are the co-hosts of the SILENT COMEDY WATCH PARTY, a brilliant hour and a half streaming show of silent comedy films accompanied live on the piano by Ben, with historical background from Steve.

For the past couple of years, when they were doing weekly shows, Ben and Steve would feature silent scare comedies toward the end of October. Now that they are doing the show once a month, they need to pace their offerings. They've been trying to get Thomas Reeder on the show for a while and since his Century Comedies book "Time is Money" recently came out (you can order it by clicking here), they finally were able to arrange it.

So, technically this Sunday's episode doesn't have the usual outright spooky stuff for Halloween, but it does have the following scares: one Buster Brown short called BUSTER'S BUST-UP where he and Pete the Pup (of Our Gang/Little Rascals fame) confront a fear of heights high atop the girders of a construction site, and a Baby Peggy short called CIRCUS CLOWNS and well, we all are scared of clowns!!! (I kid - with respect to non-scary clowns past and present like the Fleischer Brothers' Koko and the sublime Bill Irwin, and the many others who prove not all clowns are scary)

Oh, and you just might recognize something brought up in the "cabin fever" recommendations segment. :)

The SILENT COMEDY WATCH PARTY streams live this Sunday, October 23rd, 2022 at 3PM EST on YouTube. After the livestream, the show will be archived for viewing any time. It's available all over the world, so check your local timezones for your area. Click here or below to tune in!

And speaking of classic scare comedies, be sure to come back to the SCARED SILLY blog on Halloween for a very special announcement about the book... yes, it's finally happening! See you then.

In the meantime, here's some comical silent scares from 1908 courtesy of Spanish filmmaker Segundo de Chomón working out of France... ENJOY!

Friday, October 7, 2022


Hello, Scared Silly fans! It’s that time again where we dig in more than ever into the silly side of horror! I’m sure if you’re reading this you have a go-to horror-comedy film you’re planning to revisit at home. I’m here to let you know that if you’re in California, New York, or New Jersey, there are some fantastic, fun-filled, spooktacular events that will get the whole family laughing.

It all starts in California this Saturday, October 8th at the fabled New Beverly Cinema. Animation historian extraordinaire Jerry Beck will once again bring a special program of “Saturday Morning Cartoons” to the big screen! As Jerry says, “It's Creepy, It's Kooky, It's 35mm Technicolor cartoons on the big screen... our annual Halloween Show!” It’s 105 minutes of animated classics that are sure to scare you silly! The delightful, dastardly fun starts at 10AM PST and you can order tickets when you click here.

Another animation historian, educator, and restorationist we love here at Scared Silly is Tommy Jose Stathes. Tommy if offering east coast folks multiple chances for you to see classic animated cartoons on the kooky, spooky side, also projected on the big screen! Here he is to give you more details:

1. Cartoon Carnival #105: Spooks in Store, Sunday 10/23 at 3pm and 6pm, Happening at Rubulad in Bushwick, Brooklyn!

For Cartoon Carnival #105, we're hosting *two entirely unique* programs of creepy, spooky animated oddities and curiosities in celebration of the Halloween season. This scary selection features many Cartoon Carnival mainstays...from silent era superstars Felix the Cat and Koko the Clown, to later Golden Age favorites such as Betty Boop, Popeye and many others. Each film program contains approximately 90 minutes of cartoons, plus an intermission. Click here to order tickets.

2. Saturday Afternoon Cartoons: A Haunted Halloween, Saturday, 10/29 at 1:40pm at Metrograph, 7 Ludlow Street, Manhattan

This month's Saturday Afternoon Cartoons offers a selection of early cartoon films featuring—you guessed it—creepy and spooky scenarios to get viewers ready for All Hallows' Eve. Enjoy all sorts of animated skeletons, ghosts, ghouls, phantoms, spirits, and other assorted tricks or treats! Spanning the 1920s through the '50s, this assortment showcases classic characters such as Betty Boop, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Farmer Alfalfa, Flip the Frog, and others. 60 min. film program will be followed by a live Q&A session. Click here to order tickets.”

I can personally attest to the fact that Tommy’s shows are often sold-out, packed houses… because I’ve been to a few and been shut out of others! Definitely don’t rest on ordering tickets because space is limited.

Oh, and while you're at it, read more about Tommy and his vital work at his Cartoons on Film and Cartoon Carnival sites, and if you're able, please consider donating to his Cartoon Carnival Pandemic recovery fund here.

As if all that weren’t enough, how about some creepy and kooky fun starring the famed family of New Yorker cartoons, and various live-action and animated TV shows and movies? We’re talking about The Addams Family, of course, of course (wait, that’s somebody else’s theme song)! But humorously, the town of Westfield loves to celebrate its own writer-cartoonist, Charles Addams and his macabre brood. And that’s just what they’ll do at the 5th annual AddamsFest! My friend Ron MacCloskey is a co-founder of the event, and he knows his way around horror, silly or otherwise. So, what are you waiting for? “Snap” to it and order your tickets now by clicking here!

…and speaking of Ron having a way with monsters, he co-wrote and produced one heck of a documentary about one heck of a monster man: BORIS KARLOFF, THE MAN BEHIND THE MONSTER from Shout Factory! I’ve seen it, and I can tell you it’s a wonderful homage to our favorite Uncle Boris. The best news is, it’s about to be released everywhere for streaming, DVD, and blu-ray on October 18, 2022. If you consider yourself a Boris fan, you don’t want to miss it! Now, here’s a little behind-the-scenes look into how Ron came to chronicle Karloff’s legacy of brilliance. ENJOY!