GALE HENRY (1893-1972)
Gale reacts to Charley Chase's outrageous tomfoolery in her last known screen appearance, Luncheon at Twelve (1933).
CAREER OVERVIEW / MOTION PICTURE NEWS STUDIO DIRECTORY ENTRY / A GAG FOR THE AGES / GALE IN THE NEWS / GALE ON IMDB / PEARSON'S GALE HENRY QUICKTIME CLIPS
A true comedy pioneer, Gale Henry can proudly claim her place as one of the few slapstick comediennes to parlay her popularity into her own independent production company. Her skills as a comic actress were second to none, limited in later years only by her appearance which typecast her mercilessly as "old maids". But a look at her early films indicates a gifted clown who should be easily ranked in the second tier of the comic pantheon. It was Ms Henry's misfortune to continually align herself with companies that were on the verge of bankruptcy.
In her work in the late 'teens and early 'twenties, much humor was achieved by casting Henry in roles traditionally reserved for men (i.e., fire chief in Her First Flame and as The Detectress). Ms Henry proved that she could take a pratfall with the best of them and effectively used her rubbery countenance to create a sympathetic and sometimes lovable character. She really came into her own when she was reunited with Charley Chase (he had been director-general of Bulls Eye, where Henry had her own starring series in 1919). Invariably cast as an ugly duckling or a harridan, Henry took the roles beyond their stereotypical limits and gave Charley a comic run for his money on-and-off for eight years. Ms Henry lived another forty years beyond her last screen appearance, and her long screen retirement was film comedy's loss. One can only dream what a teaming with W.C. Fields would have wrought..
GALE'S ENTRY IN THE MOTION PICTURE NEWS STUDIO DIRECTORY, APRIL 17, 1917:
HENRY, Gale; b. Bear Valley, Cal., 1893; educ. Bear Valley, San Bernadino schs.; stage career, with Temple Opera Co., Pacific Coast; screen career, Universal (late pictures, "A Husband for Raffle", "Stage Stuck", "When Damon Fell for Pythias", "Out for the Dough", "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea"; rides, hunts, fishes. Hght., 5, 11; wght., 128; complexion, brunette; dark hair. Ad., home, 502 Brand Bldg., Tropico, Cal., studio, Universal, Hollywood, Cal.
A GAG FOR THE AGES:
Gale's comic Charleston with Charley Chase in His Wooden Wedding (1925) is reason enough to grant her comic immortality.
GALE IN THE NEWS:
GAIL (sic.) HENRY TRANSFERS TO L-KO COMEDIES. Gail Henry, who has established herself in favor a comedienne of Joker Comedies under the universal brand, has transferred her activities to L-Ko, and will work opposite Hughie Mack and Bobby Dunn. Thus talent from three well known brand will assemble in this particular L-Ko organization; Hughie Mack having lately come from Vitagraph, Bobby Dunn from Keystone, and Miss Henry from Joker. President Julius Stern, of L-Ko, made the trip to Los Angeles to rearrange the comedy organization in consultation with J.G. Blystone, director general of L-Ko's. There will be further changes later.
- Moving Picture World, December 1, 1917
GALE HENRY TO START WORK ON FIVE REEL COMEDY SOON. Gale Henry, Bulls Eye star, will start production on a five-reel comedy early this year, according to the announcement made by Bruno J. Becker, general manager of the company, who further states the company will not discontinue production of its two-reel comedies. The special, he says, is to be put on simply as a test picture; to show what Miss Henry can accomplish in five-reelers and to comply with the wishes of the exhibitors. If the first one is a success, it is possible the comedienne may leave the two-reel class altogether.
The story Miss Henry is to make is already prepared, and is a strait human comedy, with thrills, and here and there a touch of pathos.
- Moving Picture World, January 3, 1920
COMEDIAN GALE HENRY IS NO LONGER WITH BULLS EYE. The Model Comedy Company announces that Gale Henry, comedienne and head of the company, has severed connections with the Bulls Eye Film Company, which has been distributing her releases, and has signed a contract with a prominent distributing company. She will produce only six two-reelers a year, instead of twenty-four a year as heretofore. Work upon the first subject will commence in a few days at the comedienne's studio in Hollywood, Cal. The Gale Henry Studios at Hollywood have been sold and the company may erect its own studio, probably at Riverside, Cal.
- Moving Picture World, February 14, 1920
GALE HENRY TO MAKE TWELVE TWO-REEL FILM FOR SPECIAL. Speculation in comedy film circles concerning the future plans of Gale Henry, the well-known eccentric comedienne, were set at test this week with the announcement from the West Coast that she has signed a contract with the Special Pictures Corporation of Los Angeles, whereby she will make twelve two-reel de luxe comedies a year for the recently formed organization, which specializes in the production and distribution of short subjects.
Miss Henry will maintain her own producing company and will deliver the negative and one sample print of each of her dozen comedies to Special Pictures. The deal was closed recently between the legal representatives of the comedienne and President Louis W. Thompson, of Special Pictures Corporation. This makes eight releases a week which will be sent out from Los Angeles by the Special Corporation.
- Moving Picture World, July 31, 1920
DAVID B. PEARSON'S GALE HENRY QUICKTIME CLIPS
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