The Five Sedgwicks

Pioneer Entertainers of Vaudeville, Film and Television

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About the Book

Individually and together, The Five Sedgwicks are among the unsung heroes of early filmmaking in Hollywood. Their work took them from vaudeville to silent film, through the studio era and into the Golden Age of television. By the late 1920s the Sedgwick siblings were well-known motion picture personalities: Edward was satirized by actor Harry Gribbon as an enthusiastic comedy director in King Vidor’s 1928 silent comedy hit Show People; Josie was a star of Western films and was presented the honorific title of “Queen of the Roundup”; Universal Films promoted Eileen as their “Queen of the Serial.” This book details the family’s extensive contributions to the entertainment industry.

About the Author(s)

Michael Zmuda has written for various television and music publications. This is his first movie-related book. He lives in Carmel, New York.

Bibliographic Details

Michael Zmuda
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 272
Bibliographic Info: 96 photos, filmography, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9668-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1781-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Preface 1

One. Medicine Shows and ­Gas-Lighted Theaters 3

Two. Tank Towns and ­Four-a-Day Vaudeville 20

Three. Orange Groves and Shootouts 43

Four. Dynamite’s Daughter, the Ramblin’ Kid, and the Diamond Queen 75

Five. The Saddle Hawk, Lightnin’ the Police Dog and Leo the Lion 108

Six. The Rise of the Almighty Studio System and the Fall of the

Silent Film 147

Seven. The Business of Laughter During the Depression Years 175

Eight. A Hollywood in Transition and the Fate of the Silent Idol 200

Nine. Nazis, Country Bumpkins, and a Couple of Redheads 226

Ten. Journey Beyond the Silver Screen 239

Sedgwick Family Filmography 251

Bibliography 257

Index 259