Louis Feuillade’s Series Bout-de-zan

Bout-de-zan vole un éléphant
R: Louis Feuillade. D: René Poyen. P: Gaumont. Fr 1913

Feuillade had been making the Bébé series with child actor René Dary ([i.e. Clément Mary] who would later enjoy a career in the talkies) but Dary’s parents insisted on more and more money for their son’s services and so a younger René was engaged, our Bout de Zan. (…) As you can probably tell, this is a lightweight short designed to showcase both the charms of its tiny star and the impeccable training of the little elephant. It succeeds brilliantly on both counts with Bout de Zan never simpering or wearing out his welcome with saccharine behavior, nor does he come off as homicidal or sociopathic, which was sometimes the case with Bébé (and Jackie Coogan). He’s a rascal and he’s proud of it and he will likely continue to be a rascal for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, he and his elephant are taken in by Mommy Warbucks and she seems to find their antics appealing so a happy ending all around. The film was released in the United States just a few months after its French debut, as was common practice before the First World War made such importation challenging. It was renamed Tiny Tim and the Adventures of His Elephant and apparently expands the story somewhat with the use of title cards. (…) This retitling and expanding a story to appeal to local audiences showcases the versatility of silent films. Minor details like character names could be changed but some distributors went even further and completely reworked the thing with a whole new plot and perhaps the original ending snipped off. In the case of Bout de Zan Steals an Elephant, the main changes seem to be jokey title cards added in but the general structure of the film remained intact.”
Fritzi Kramer
Movies Silently

Bout-de-zan et l’embusqué
R: Louis Feuillade. D: René Poyen. P: Gaumont. Fr 1915
Engl. version

Buster Brown, an American colleague of Bout-de-zan:

Buster’s Dog to the Rescue / Buster’s Revenge on the Tramp / Buster and Tige Put a Baloon Vender out of Business / Buster and the Nude / Buster Makes Room for his Mama at the Bargain Counter
R: Edwin S.Porter. B: Richard Felton Outcault. P: Edison Manufacturing Company. USA 1904

Richard Felton Outcault was one of the comic pioneers, and often credited as the inventor of the comic strip. Coming from Lancaster, Ohio, Outcault was a graduate from the McMicken University in Cincinnati, who studied art in Paris, and eventually settled in New York. After doing illustration work for publications like The Electrical World, Life and Judge, he was hired by media tycoon Joseph Pulitzer to come and work for the New York World in 1894.
For this newspaper, Outcault made series of cartoons set in certain quarters in Manhattan, which eventually resulted in the feature ‘Down in Hogan’s Alley’. Being one of the first continuing series with a regular cast, one character stood out. At the time, it was still difficult to use yellow ink in color printing, since it didn’t dry properly. When one of the World’s foremen of the color-press room wanted to experiment with a new type of yellow ink, he used the shirt of one of Outcault’s characters as a test area. ‘The Yellow Kid’ was born.”
Lambiek Comiclopedia

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