Also known as
Bombs and Blunders
“Bombs!” (Aka Bombs and Brides), 1916, starring Al. St. John and Charlie Murray, director Frank Griffin, produced by Mack Sennett in Keystone Studios and distributed by Triangle, is a 2-reels rare silent comedy.
Al St. John (1893-1963) was a durable and popular American comic actor who appeared some 350 or more films between 1913 and 1952. Starting at Mack Sennett’s Keystone Company, St. John rose through the ranks to become one of the major comedians. Stars of the 1920s, though less than half of his starring roles still survive today. With the advent of sound drastically changing and curtailing the two-reel comedy format, St. John diversified, creating a second career for himself as a comic sidekick in Western films and eventually developing the character of “Fuzzy Q. Jones,” For which he is best known in posterity.
Upon his arrival at Keystone, Al St John was swiftly absorbed into the Keystone repertory company; He appeared in more 1914 films than Charlie Chaplin did. After Keystone, St. John appeared in support of other comics in 2-reelers up to the end of the silent era. Owing to the ensemble nature of many early Keystones, there are films that essentially do not have a comedian central as the fixture, and outside of Charlie Chaplin, the survival rates on Keystones are less than what would be ideal.
Johnny’s first starring roles were made at Keystone, but most of them were made at the very end of the company’s history, just as Mack Sennett was abandoning the “Keystone” moniker in order to extricate himself from the Triangle Film Corporation partnership. . St. John got a chance at solo stardom starting in 1919 with Paramount Pictures and the early Warner Bros. studio, and this led to the extended series of 2-reel comedies for Fox Film Corporation and Educational Pictures. Al St. John starred in more than 70 2-reel comedies through 1932. This is the most important part of his personal legacy, but it remains the least accessible part of his activity.
Al St. John’s association with his cousin, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, was central to his film career. Arbuckle first brought St. John to the Keystone set in 1913; Over the years to follow, Arbuckle routinely employed St. John in playing rubies, rivals and other parts in support of his popular “Fatty” character. When Arbuckle left Keystone in early 1917 to form the Comique Comedy Unit at Paramount, he and St. John was joined by stage comedian Buster Keaton, and the three created a singular cycle of silent comedies that exploited their matched acrobatic abilities and hard-driving capabilities in slapstick.
Louise Fazenda … Italian’s Daughter
Mary Thurman … Miss O’Doherty
Harry Booker … Mayor Tom O’Doherty
Wayland Trask … Stenographer
Edgar Kennedy … Italian Ward Leader
Al St John … Bike Messenger
Jasper The Diving Horse … Jasper, the Diving Horse