For Ian Craine
‘Marjorie Beebe is the greatest comic possibility that ever worked in my studio. I think she is destined to become the finest comedienne the screen has ever seen.’ Mack Sennett
Her bottom was a serious matter:
the butt, as it were, of numerous pratfalls
in many Mack Sennett two reelers – like
The Chumps, Campus Crushes and The Cowcatcher’s
Daughter – in which she was a capricious,
lubricious Columbine with witty eyes
and good teeth and various Harlequins,
who ended invariably as losers.
From Kansas City, her mother took her
on the Yellow Brick Road to Tinsel Town.
Beebe and Sennett became lovers, despite
or because of the thirty year difference,
so he knew her asset first hand so to speak.
From silents to talkies, slapsticks to wise cracks,
her Mid West accent playing well, then Mack goes bust
and Marjorie gradually disappears.
Was it the booze? She was certainly
a toper. Or, more likely, The Hays Code:
irony suppressed, vulgarity outlawed,
Puritan America triumphant!
Note: The poem was first published on the site in June 2011.