Tom McNeely (Canadian, B. 1935) "Keystone Cops" Signed and dated lower right. Original Watercolor.
Provenance: Collection of James A. Helzer (1946-2008), Founder of Unicover Corporation.
This painting was originally published on the Fleetwood First Day Cover for the U.S. 29c Keystone Cops stamp issued April 27, 1994.
From 1914 through the early 1920s, moviegoers were entertained by the antics of the silent screen's most irreverent and incompetent police force, the Keystone Cops. Dressed in ill-fitting, disheveled uniforms, this merry band of misguided gendarmes stumbled through a series of chaotic chase scenes in the name of law and disorder. When they pursued criminals on foot, the Cops were typically involved in collisions with fellow officers, entanglements in clotheslines and even hilarious encounters with innocent bystanders. When a scene called for a car chase, it usually contained shots of the entire police force packed into a tin lizzie. Speeding along with the choppy movements characteristic of Hollywood's early films, the overloaded patrol car became one of the Cops' funniest trademarks. The creator of this motion picture mayhem was talented director and producer Mack Sennett. By using elements of vaudeville, circus, comic strips and pantomime, he developed a unique and popular comedic style. Sennett's keen ability to poke fun at society's norms added to the Keystone Cops' universal appeal. In addition to entertaining American audiences, his films of bumbling, straight-faced policemen also garnered international notoriety, playing in movie theaters worldwide.
Image Size: 21.5 x 18.5 in.
Overall Size: 22.25 x 18.5 in.
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