John Bunny

A Cure for Pokeritis
R: Laurence Trimble. D: John Bunny, Flora Finch, Leah Baird. P: Vitagraph Company of America. USA 1912

“After a stage career that had encompassed twenty-two years of minstrel shows, circuses, vaudeville and working with legends like William Brady, Lew Fields, and Raymond Hitchcock, in 1910 the rotund Bunny presented himself at the Vitagraph Studio in Brooklyn looking for work. Resembling Shakespeare’s Falstaff or Sir Toby Belch come to life, Bunny made an immediate impression on moviegoers and became a favorite. In February of 1911, he first worked with the tall and skinny Flora Finch. The combination of the expansive Bunny with the severe Finch created an instant combative chemistry (which may have been helped by the fact that they’re said to have had an active mutual dislike for each other).
Finch had been born in England in 1867 and began her career there on stage. After coming to the U.S. she started working in films while trying to establish herself on the American stage. Starting with the Biograph Co. in 1908, she caught the attention of D.W. Griffith and made an impression in his Jones Family shorts and other comedies like All On Account of the Milk (1910). In 1910 she moved over to Vitagraph.”
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Her Crowning Glory
R: Laurence Trimble. D: John Bunny, Flora Finch, Helene Costello. P: Vitagraph Company of America. USA 1911
Print: UCLA Film and Television Archive

About John Bunny (1863-1915)

“When Mr. Bunny laughs, people from San Francisco to Stepney Green laugh with him. When he frowns, every kingdom of the earth is contracted in one brow of woe. His despair is incredible. His grief is unendurable. His wrath is apoplectic. His terror is the panic of a whole army.”
The Saturday Review, London, c.1913

“John Bunny was a natural for Mr. Pickwick, and in 1913 he played the part. Vitagraph had seen a chance to increase the already great popularity of Bunny in England by sending him to film there, accompanied by his usual director, Larry Trimble. The voyage across provided a film – Bunny All at Sea (1912) – in which Bunny was the only professional, other parts being taken by passengers. Vitagraph emerged with a useful comedy – Bunny posing as the Captain…Bunny being arrested and set to degrading menial work – and also saved a lot of money.”
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