My Favourite Film of 1923.

Film Is Harold Lloyd's Safety Last and my first viewing although I can't completely confirm this because it happened (comparatively) so long ago in the 1980s, when his silents were repeated as a series on BBC Two in the early evening in a specially prepared television version.

For years, I've had the theme song at the back of my mind and sure enough, through the magical internet, here it is:

And even more remarkably, here it is with a glimpse of the BBC Two logo beforehand, along with a chunk of one of the programmes:

Harold Lloyd's World of Comedy was originally the title for a 1962 compilation film arranged by Lloyd himself, which as the Wikipedia explains was well received by audiences, but less so by critics, presumably because at that time a lot of the material was otherwise unavailable and the preference would have been to see the films in their original state. This New York Times review is especially disparaging.

Then in 1974, the title was appropriated for a television series with a similar aim, but longer clips, written by Peter Durston (of which the web has nothing) and produced by Bob Hoag (of which there are half a dozen listed on the imdb).  Other than that there's scant information about the origins of the series, other than an uncited explanation from the Wikipedia that they were result of the films being leased to TimeLife in 1974.

Except, of course at the BBC Genome, where you can find synopses for all of the episodes and their TXes.

The first run of nine episodes can be seen here.  Just to complicate things, although the opening episode indicates its a series of ten, only nine seem to have been broadcast with Flash Gordon filling the Friday slot in the week of the last episode.

Then the show returned in October 1980 with another run of episodes which seems to mix the original broadcasts with new episodes and the repeats continued right through the eighties, with the final repeat happening on 4th September 1987.

After that, although his films were shown sporadically it was in complete versions ending with Back In The Woods on a Friday lunchtime in 1990.  Since then only near complete showing was as part of an episode of Paul Merton's Silent Heroes which includes Never Weaken.

My memory of the show is dim, it was, as I say, a very long time ago, but it would have been my first taste of silent cinema, however hacked about they were.  Without labouring the point, is the world really a better place having repeats of Antiques Roadshow and the like in this timeslot now?

Hooray for Harold Lloyd.

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