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Ronald Epstein

Senior HTF Member
Jul 3, 1997
Real Name
Ronald Epstein



Collection of New "Vintage" Comedy Shorts Starring "The World's Favorite Fake 1930s Comedy Team" Available on DVD May 22, 2018
Feature-Length Compilation To Be Released on Major Digital Platforms including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu on May 22, 2018



New York, NY - March 30, 2018 - Kino Lorber has acquired all North American rights to BIFFLE AND SHOOSTER, a collection of new "vintage" comedy shorts written, produced and directed by former studio exec turned award-winning independent filmmaker Michael Schlesinger.

Harking back to the glory days of Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello, Hope & Crosby and The Three Stooges, Biffle and Shooster are vaudeville comics who get themselves into (but seldom out of) various scrapes with a minimum of smarts and a maximum of laughs, plowing through life armed with slapstick, puns, impressions and an occasional song. Though first created by the actors who portray them, Nick Santa Maria and Will Ryan, it was Schlesinger who developed the characters into full-fledged movie stars in these amazingly authentic-looking shorts, presented in 1.37:1 and (mostly) black-and-white.

Advance screenings have already garnered lavish praise from such filmmakers and writers as Joe Dante, Peter Bogdanovich, Leonard Maltin, Scott Eyman, Tim Lucas, Sid Ganis and many more.


The collection includes six shorts: "The Biffle Murder Case," "Imitation of Wife," "Schmo Boat," "Bride of Finklestein" and "It's A Frame-Up!" -- plus a faux-Vitaphone novelty, "First Things Last." Among the familiar faces in the cast of nearly 50 are Jim Beaver, Daniel Roebuck, Robert Picardo, H.M. Wynant, Dick Miller, Fay Masterson, Academy Award®-nominee Robert Forster and -- though you don't actually see his face -- Academy Award®-winning VFX artist Chris Walas as a gorilla. ("Any film is improved by a gorilla," Schlesinger noted.) The discs will contain over three hours of hilarious bonus material spanning their alleged film career from 1928 to 1962.

To avoid confusion -- which is a normal state of mind for the team -- the DVD will be titled THE MISADVENTURES OF BIFFLE AND SHOOSTER, to be released on May 22, 2018, while a feature-length compilation of four shorts plus additional songs and bits, simply titled THE ADVENTURES OF BIFFLE AND SHOOSTER, will be available on all major digital platforms including iTunes, Amazon Instant, Google Play and Vudu, beginning May 22nd. Special features on the DVD will include audio commentaries, additional short subjects, extended and deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage, and bloopers and outtakes.

The deal was negotiated between Kino Lorber CEO Richard Lorber and Schlesigner. Schlesinger observed: "Kino Lorber was always my first choice. They've been around for over 40 years, I know and admire everyone there, and as one of the premier distributors of both old and new movies, who better to release a new movie that looks like an old movie?"

About Writer / Producer / Director Michael Schlesinger:
Michael Schlesinger is widely acknowledged as the dean of classic film distributors, having worked for more than 25 years at MGM, Paramount and Sony, keeping hundreds of vintage movies in theatrical release (and later on DVD), and instigating the restoration of many more, including the completion of Orson Welles' 1942 documentary It's All True some 50 years later. He has also recorded several DVD commentaries, including some for Kino Lorber, is a "Trailers From Hell" guru and has appeared in numerous documentaries as a film historian, as well as the recent HBO smash If You're Not In The Obit, Eat Breakfast. Behind the camera, he wrote and produced the American version of Godzilla 2000 and co-produced such Larry Blamire parodies as The Lost Skeleton Returns Again and Dark and Stormy Night. BIFFLE AND SHOOSTERrepresents his first effort as a director. He hopes it won't be his last.


Senior HTF Member
Jul 15, 2016
Hamilton Ontario
Real Name
Terry Carroll
I have seen a couple of these and they are absolutely painful. The best thing about them is that they gave me a chance to go to the restroom between real classic shorts.

David Weicker

Senior HTF Member
Feb 26, 2005
Real Name
Are these similar to Morton & Hayes - the 1991 TV series that starred Kevin Pollak and Bob Amaral?


Mar 31, 2018
Real Name
Repost of my Amazon review:

This is a must have for fans of the Three Stooges, Abbott and Costello, Our Gang (The Little Rascals) or any of the pre-WW2 comedies before television created the sit-com and killed off the comedic short films. Unlike other efforts to capture this style of quick banter, slapstick, fourth wall breaking humor in a modern context, the five short films gathered here are supposed to be FROM the 1930's era of film making and the dedication shows through. When screened in Los Angles, which I attended, a good number of people in the theater audibly gasped when the cast walked in for an after show talk - having thought the films were genuinely shot in the 1930's.

Each has a mastery of its own, aside from feeling 100% genuine to the era. In "Bride of Finklestein", the only of the shorts that starts with Biffle and Shooster together in the opening scene, the lampoonary of the Universal monster films leads us through a not-quite-mad scientist to an old fashioned gorilla chase. In "The Biffle Murder Case", a trope of the book writing "detective" meets a trope of the Gumshoe detective with a solid poke in the eye at institutionalized racism common in films from this era, plus a rack of unfettered puns. "Imitation of Wife" is a hoot of a riff on "Imitation of Life" complete with the boss coming to dinner gag, and his hayseed nephew in tow - this one also perfectly mimics tincture techniques used even in the silent era to put a little color in the black and white films. Cinecolor is wonderfully recreated in the musical, vaudeville based, farcical "Schmo Boat", which opens in black and white but once Biffle and Shooster perform for the showboat's unseen audience becomes full color. The dedication to authenticity extends to the fact the film was shot with a live band performance on open mics. For true cinefiles, this may be the gem of the collection. Also on this DVD, but not in the theatrical screenings, is the supposed last short film the pair made, "It's a Frame Up". Here the boys are put in charge of an art gallery and like a really good roller-coaster, the slow set up pays off with a gut busting final five minutes I do not care to spoil.

The artistic side of these films are found mostly in how each actor was given their contemporary counterpart. So Bob Piccardo is not just playing a drunk in "It's a Frame Up" - he's playing Arthur Housman playing a drunk, and just nails it. Some of the actor's abilities to be the long-passed performers they represent are simply uncanny. Glen Taranto simply IS Vernon Dent, while Robert Forster and Frank Dietz channel James Burke and Edmund Lowe with aplomb. No wonder so many where fooled at the LA screening!

The bonus material on the DVD sometimes stays in character, a complete vita-phone from 1920's is far smarter then any single shot vita-phone ever made but certainly feels like it is a survivor from the 20's, and you could cut in the "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" outtake into the film it is so accurate, but others reveal this work to be a modern product with glimpses into the process. Well worth the purchase price if you enjoy 1930's comedies.

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