Studio City Walk of Fame Highlights: 'Who's Who in the Zoo'

Read about the Studio City Walk of Fame around Ventura Boulevard.

Who's Who in the Zoo
Tile #247 on the Studio City Walk of Fame

Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies

Cast: Billy Bevan, Rosemary Theby, Spec O'Donnell, Billy Barty, Fred "Snowflake" Toones

Directed by Babe Stafford

Who's Who in the Zoo is a one-reel comedy short film produced by the "King of Comedy" Mack Sennett released on October 11, 1931.

SYNOPSIS: A father (Billy Bevan) takes a trip to the the zoo with his wife (Rosemary Theby) and two sons Herbie (Spec O'Donnell) and Arthur (Billy Barty). The older son Herbie, is preparing for an exam and his father is eager to share his knowledge about wild animals. Father gets doused by an elephant while Arthur plays with monkeys in their cage. But the father's misadventures are not over yet, because one of his sons has thrown his wife's handbag into the lions cage.

Billy Bevan was born on September 29, 1887 in Orange, New South Wales in Australia. He started his career in silent films in 1916. He was starring in a play, A Knight for a Day, when Mack Sennett saw his performance and hired him. Bevan appeared in over 100 Mack Sennett produced films during his career. His credits include 135 short films, 129 feature films and narration of 2 documentaries. He passed away at the age of 70 on November 26, 1957.

Billy Barty was born on October 25, 1924 in Millsboro, Pennsylvania. He began performing at the tender age of three, making his film debut in the short film Mickey's Eleven playing Mickey Rooney's little brother. He would go on to star in 34 more "Mickey McGuire" shorts based on the Toonerville Folks comics. Barty was just seven years old when Who's Who in the Zoo was released. Barty has over 200 film and television credits, including notable TV stints on the Red Skelton Hour (1953 - 1970) and three years on Peter Gunn. A noted activist for the promotion of rights for others with dwarfism Barty founded the Little People of America in 1957 and the Billy Barty Foundation in 1975. He passed away on December 23, 2000 at the age of 76.

Fred "Snowflake" Toones, appeared in over 200 films from B Westerns with John Wayne, to vintage Three Stooges, to four Preston Sturges films, and Dream House (Tile #3) among many others.

Mack Sennett was born on January 17, 1880 in Richmond, Québec, Canada as Mikall Sinnott.

Joint founder of the Keystone studios in 1912, Mack Sennett launched the careers of Charlie Chaplin, Gloria Swanson, W. C. Fields, Bing Crosby, Fatty Arbuckle, Mabel Normand, Stan Laurel, Marie Dressler and Wallace Beery. In 1917 he left Keystone and founded the Mack Sennett Comedies Corporation which joined forces with Pathé in 1923.

In 1926 plans for a new city in the San Fernando Valley were being developed. It began with the purchase of a 50 acre lettuce ranch at the corner of Colfax Avenue and Ventura Boulevard, along with a 300 acre ranch located at Laurel Canyon. Mack Sennett was looking for a new studio location. A deal was struck and in 1928 Mack Sennett Studios opened and the surrounding area became known as Studio City. At this time the Studio consisted of one office building, a projection room/film editing building, a film library, a two-story dressing room building attached to a large sound stage, a wardrobe building, garage, and a stage with an in ground swimming pool.

In 1932, Mack Sennett was nominated for two Academy Awards and won an Academy Award for Best Short Subject, Novelty in 1932 for Wrestling Swordfish. In 1937 the Academy presented Mack Sennett with an honorary Academy Award, "For his lasting contribution to the comedy technique of the screen, the basic principles of which are as important today as when they were first put into practice, the Academy presents a special award to that master of fun, discoverer of stars, sympathetic, kindly, understanding comedy genius, Mack Sennett."

Mack Sennett passed away on November 5, 1960 in Woodland Hills, California at the age of 80.

Filmed at Mack Sennett Studios, 4024 Radford Avenue in Studio City, CA, now .

For more information, please visit the SCIA website Walk of Fame pages.


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