Lawrence "Larry" Semon (February 9, 1889 – October 8, 1928) was a vaudeville and silent movie actor. He was a very well-known actor in his time, and at one point he was second only to Charlie Chaplin in the silent comedy pecking order, but has been mostly forgotten today. He is perhaps most famous for directing and starring in the 1925 silent movie version of The Wizard of Oz (1925), which was basically a typical slapstick comedy with a few Oz embellishments, or working with both Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy before they became Laurel and Hardy.
Most of the comedies he made were lowbrow Strictly Formula affairs. According to Classic Images Magazine, to create a standard Larry Semon movie, mix together:
- Larry Semon.
- A heroine (usually Larry's current girlfriend or wife)
- A fat guy (usually Oliver Hardy to play the villain)
- A really fat guy (usually Frank Alexander, to play Larry's current girlfriend's father)
- Several stuntmen, one to play Larry in everything but mid-close shots and close-ups, and several more to be thrown off things
- Things to throw the stuntmen off of, usually water towers, barns, silos, smokestacks, or buildings in general
- Gooey or messy things, frequently utilized to dump onto the really fat guy or the really fat guy into. Includes but is not relegated to, mud baths, wet cement, large washtubs filled with eggs, flour sacks, feather pillows, and large pots or buckets labeled in large block letters GLUE, INK, JAM, MOLASSES, etc., and filled to the brim with said items.
- Several mechanical means of transportation, including airplanes, motorcars, trains, and motorcycles
- Explosions, frequently used to destroy the things listed in numbers 6 and 8
- Plot (optional)