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Essays

Fay Tincher

Rapf, Joanna E.

One of comedienne Fay Tincher’s few extant titles, Rowdy Ann (1919), has been described recently by Andrew Grossman, as “one of the first American films, comic or otherwise, to legitimately address the social psychology of gender construction.” But Tincher is barely mentioned, if at all, in histories of the silent era. Kalton C. Lahue and Samuel Gill are among the few to acknowledge her significance, writing that her work with Al Christie between 1919–1920 “ranked among the best on the screen at the time” (372). They suggest, as have others, that she had “some of the elusive qualities of Mabel Normand,” and conclude that her disappearance from the screen in 1928 remains a mystery (368). More recently, where she does receive a few lines, scholars selectively represent her career, as when Karen Mahar remarks that Tincher, whom she too sees as the closest to Normand in beauty and ability, reached fame between 1923 and 1928 playing the wife in the Andy Gump series (Mahar 2006, 130). Tincher did play Min Gump, although not in her wackiest phase during her peak, but rather at a time when her stardom was on a decline. Yes, the “Gump” series was very popular, but Tincher’s heyday was between 1914 and 1920 when, for one and a half years, between 1917 and 1919, she was reported as having had her own company, Fay Tincher Productions. Here, she invites comparison with other popular comediennes who gave their names to short-lived companies—Normand, Marie Dressler, Flora Finch, Gale Henry.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Film
Libraries
Series
Women Film Pioneers Project
Published Here
October 15, 2019