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Mabel Normand

The gal-pals start Funny Gals month with one of the greatest comedians of the silent era, Mabel Normand. Debbi tells the tale of how Mabel went from Gibson Girl, to directing Charlie Chaplin, to being around to multiple murders!

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YouTube Version

This week’s episode on YouTube has live video and it’s a different edit than the podcast

Screenshot Zoom call



  • We’re recording on Zoom so that means video!!!!
  • The gal-pals this month are Dr. Leah Leah, Bonnie Fillenwarth, Katie Harris and Debbi Sponsler
  • Does anyone remember laughter?!


  • Vitograph Betty (More from The Keystone Girls)
  • Dash through the Clouds (YouTube)
  • Keystone studio with Mack Sennett
  • Mabel directed the first-ever feature film comedy Tillies Punctured Romance. It has Charlie Chaplin in it. (YouTube)
  • She was going to marry Mack Sennett
Mable Normand and Mack Sennett
  • Head injury
  • Drug addict?
  • CORRECTION: Mabel did start the pie in the face gag. She threw a pie at Ben Turpin “creating what soon became the classic film comedy bit.” (Encyclopedia Britannica)
  • Mabel Normand Feature Film Company
  • CORRECTION: Mabel’s film Mickey, Mack Sennett said it grossed $18 million but it was really more like $8 million (TCM)


  • Then weird stuff happens
  • Fatty Arbuckle trials for manslaughter & rape
  • Murder of William Desmond Tayor
  • Public turns on Mabel
  • A chauffeur is shot with her gun!
  • Mrs. Georgia Church sues her
  • She gets married on a dare
  • Tuberculosis
Charlie and Mable
Charlie Chaplin and Mabel Normand
  • Last movie One Hour Married is a missing film
  • Died at age 38
  • Quote “I had no president, nothing to imitate, I created my own standard of fun.”
  • Quote”Just because I’m a little, well, different people believe anything weird about me.”
  • 196+ films (many are missing)
  • Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame


  • Broadway musical Mack & Mable
  • Song by Stevie Nicks, Mable Normand (YouTube)

Podcast Cool Thing Squares


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What if you could only share 1 cool thing about a topic? Would it be about ancient history? Would it be breaking news? Would it be safe for work? A group of gals gathers to present to you one cool thing on topics like painting, gaming, movies, music and more.

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