Canadian Mark Sennett releases first ‘Keystone Kops’ movie

On this day in 1912, Richmond, Qué.-born Mack Sennett released his First Keystone Comedy movie, a “split-reel” of two comedies starring Mabel Normand and Ford Sterling. The film was the birth of the Keystone Cops, or as they are also known, the Keystone Kops.

At this time, Sennett was already a silent screen veteran, acting with fellow Canadians Marie Dressler and Mary Pickford.

In 1914 alone, he directed 35 comedies featuring his new star Charles Chaplin. In 1935, after directing a Buster Keaton movie, he went bust, and returned to Canada a pauper.

While Canada Post recently honoured other Canadians who went south to fulfill their dreams of the screen (including Pickford in 2006, Sennett has not yet seen that honour. However, other countries have issued stamps commemorating his work, including a 1994 American stamp with a playful depiction of the Keystone Kops. (


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