Monday, March 14 is National π Day and we thought it would be fun to have a special Pie edition of Eat My Shorts.
In late 2015 it was reported that the long-thought-lost complete Laurel and Hardy two reeler The Battle of The Century had been found. Bay Area collector Jon Mirsalis acquired a large film collection and has been working his way through the prints. When he came across a reel marked “Battle of the Century, R2” Jon assumed it would be the same chopped up version of the movie’s famous pie fight that people have seen since the 1950s. But to his shock and delight it included all the missing footage. Jon worked with Serge Bromberg of Lobster Films and they have done a total restoration –and we have it on good authority that it will screen at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in June.
The Battle of the Century (1927) excerpt
Read about the discovery in the New York Times.
Charles Chaplin in Behind the Screen (1916) ends with quite a pie fight.
Singin’ in the Rain (1952) is about the transition from silent cinema to talking movies. When Kathy (Debbie Reynolds) has reached her limit and tells Don(Gene Kelly), “Here’s something I learned from the movies” and she grabs a pie — Don’s reflexes are quick and Lina’s (Jean Hagen) aren’t so she gets the face covered with cream pie and screams as Kathy darts from the scene in horror.
The 1932 Vitaphone musical short, featuring Eubie Blake leading his band in a very big pie, with Nina Mae McKinney, star of King Vidor’s HALLELUJAH, plus the debut of two very young stars: the fabulous Nicholas Brothers, 17-year-old Fayard and 11-year-old Harold. Includes the songs: “It Takes a Blackbird to Make the Sweetest Pie,” “Memories of You,” “Everything I’ve Got Belongs to You” and “I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead You Rascal You.”
Blatantly, racial stereotypes of the era abound but don’t let that get in the way of some outstanding musical performances.
Chaplin’s Modern Times (1936) – Robot Feeding Machine
The Niles Silent Film Museum had a pie fight during Charlie Chaplin Days in 2012. Looks like fun. Check its website for this year’s events.
The Three Stooges carried on the pie tradition in many of their short films.
“I was on friendly terms with ‘The Pie Man,’ a known thrown-pie sexual fetishist down here in San Jose who used to pay women to pie him. I still have one of the souvenir pens he handed out with his hotline number on it 1-800-PIES FLY. However, I’m amazed at how much ardor and wrath the Three Stooges have for the craft in their 1935 short Pop Goes the Easel. It’s kind of a clay fight that evolves into a mud pie fight.” – Richard von Busack, Metro News
Possibly the Three Stooges’ Best pie fight in The Sweet Pie and Pie (1941)
The Five Stooges pie fight Shemp, Moe, Curly, Larry and Joe –For the first time ever 5 of the 6 stooges were all together and in a pie fight in Half Wits Holiday(1947).
A collection of Stooges thrown pies.“On Wednesday night, October 22, 1969, a delivery truck arrived at the front of Masonic Auditorium, amidst the glamour and clamor of the opening night of the San Francisco International Film Festival. The driver, a husky pastry chef apparently in a hurry, attempted to run a huge tray of creamy pies up the red-carpeted stairs. In the rush, the precarious arrangement of pies went flying, and, almost magically, the oddest assortment of characters descended—a nun, a football player and a go-go dancer among them. What ensued was a most memorable yet virtually forgotten piece of San Francisco’s cinema history.”
Read the rest of Sam Green’s story about that night and watch the film below.
This footage was long lost but then found in the late 1990s and made into a short movie by Sam Green and Christian Bruno.
“The first day I ever spent in Cannes, thirty years ago, Godard dominated the front pages. Admittedly, on that one occasion, he was not the author of the stunt that propelled him there. That honor fell to the Belgian anarchist Noel Godin, who has devoted a lifetime to delivering custard pies into the faces of the great and the good at the highest-profile media events. Most recipients of the attentions of the Belgian pie thrower take it badly—none more so than the prima donna of French intellectual life, Bernard-Henri Lévy, who was similarly pied at Cannes in the early nineties. Godard, it must be said, reacted with his characteristic lightening wit—“This is what happens when silent movies meet talking pictures.” Having once again interpreted his life in terms of the history of the cinema—it was Mack Sennett who invented the custard pie gag—Godard then proceeded to lick some of the cream off his huge cigar. He also persuaded the festival authorities not to try to prosecute Godin.”
Colin McCabe writing about Jean-Luc Godard at Cannes for Criterion.
See Jean-Luc Godard get a pie in the face in this French TV news story.
Lucille Ball takes a pie
Anita Bryant, Bill Gates and many others get their just desserts.
Soupy Sales estimated that he was hit with over 19,000 pies in about 5700 TV shows. One show had 400 pies thrown in 25 minutes, 100 at Soupy. A lot of celebrities were targets.
Possibly the most famous Soupy Sales show when Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Trini Lopez all got into the act.
A British Quiz show but you better get the answer right or…Splosh
The Great Race (1965) pie fight
Blazing Saddles (1974) pie fight
The Sundance-winning film by Darren Aronofsky, Pi.
21 Celebrity get Pies in the Face.
The Messy History of the Pie Fight from Vaudeville to Nickelodeon.