Stan C. Wolnic: A Short Pictorial Biography

Stan's Family
Stan C. Wolnic
Vaudeville Comic, Actor, Inventor.
Born Stanley Constance Wolniczkowski on the 19th of September 1893, to Polish immigrants Henryk and Olenka Wolniczkowski; Stan would be an only child for this loving couple. Stan’s parents were honest hard working people: Henryk, a tinsmith and Olenka, a seamstress would raise their son in to be a tradesman - or so they thought. Stan would indeed glean from his parent’s talents but it was obvious early on that Stan was a bit of a standout and would not be confined to the likes of a smith shop.
Exerpt from the book “Vaudeville, the Beginning of Timing” by Lenley Carrick.
Stan C. Wolnic: Vaudeville Comic and Argyle Sock Enthusiast

Stan C Wolnic, Argyle Sock EnthusiastStan is well-known for his penchant for wearing argyle socks while golfing. He felt the argyles were were a distraction to the other players in his weekly foursome. The more likely distraction was Stan's sometimes extreme reactions to slicing the ball into the trees or some other hazard.

Often when on the links with his chums Roger Arbuckle and Steve Chaplin, Stan would always mug it up for the press by pulling out one of his crazy prop golf clubs. Stan also became noted for wearing the argyle socks even when he wasn't golfing; he was once quoted as saying "They make me feel taller."

(Read our article "Sock it To Me!" for more on clown socks.)

The act of pie throwing as a form of comedy has been a crowd favorite for many years. As a matter of fact, in film, pie throwing dates back to the early 1900’s, and even earlier on stage. Throughout history, many of the comedy greats like, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Stan Wolnic and of course the Three Stooges have had their hand in the game of pie throwing. A wonderfully simple form of humor, yet greatly underused nowadays. What makes this bit of slapstick so funny to audiences abroad? Is it the timing, the element of surprise or just the sheer buffoonery of it all? Let’s explore these questions and the other elements of a successful pie-throwing gag.

(Except from our article: The Art of Pie Throwing.)
Stan C. Wolnic
Vaudeville Comic and Pie Throwing Pioneer

Stan is believed to be the first known vaudeville comedian to use shaving lather as a filling for the throwing pie.
He also developed a superior way in which to throw a pie accurately. Stan would throw the pie shot put style, with a spin of the wrist while releasing the pie to insure a straighter flight pattern.

Rubber Chickens: The Early Days

Stan at the Chicken Factory

  Although the true origin of the rubber chicken has been greatly disputed by experts - stories range from botched taxidermy projects to the Great Houdini himself discovering them while on sabbatical in the Orient - one fact is true; comedy would not be the same with out them.

Early production of rubber chickens had to be done completely outdoors due to the fact the chemicals being used were so volatile. After the molds of the chicken were poured and then began to cure, the floppy rubber product was hung on a line for drying. Vaudevillians later used this process to describe an act that flopped as being "Hung Out to Dry."

(For more on Rubber Chickens, see our article 3 Silly Things to do with a Rubber Chicken.)

Pictured: A young Stan Wolnic seen working the rubber chicken process for the Hackensack Novelty Co.
Stan C. Wolnic: Vaudeville Comic and Comedy Prop Pioneer
Stan is well known for his use of comedic props in his vaudeville performances.

The Bang Gun is believed to originate from a prop early vaudevillians used to spoof the "Bang" shown on screen in silent movies when a gun was fired. It soon became a classic for comedians and clowns everywhere.

(Read our article "3 Great Walkaround Gags" for more fun prop ideas.)

Stan C. Wolnic in Hold That Train
 Stan Wolnic in "Hold That Train" circa 1915
Known for his athleticism, Stan would find great success as a stunt comic in the early years of silent filmmaking.
In the days of early film before talkies, great comedians like Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Stan C. Wolnic and Harold Lloyd kept us in stitches with their physical antics and extreme facial expressions. Many of these early film stars risked life and limb during their wild stunts, all to make us laugh. With the dawn of sound in motion pictures comic actors began to use verbal wit more and rely less on art of pantomime. Although we still had the Stooges and Laurel and Hardy who were heavy handed on the slapstick, many comics moved to patter such as Groucho Marx and W.C. Fields to establish their characters. Harpo Marx was once told that he did not have the voice for stage and thus made his mark in comedic history as the silent comic foil to his silver-tongued brother Groucho and fast talking, faux Italian counter part Chico. Red Skelton, certainly well noted for his crazy characters and goofy voices, mastered the art of pantomime and made silent skits part of his regular show. Red did not have to rely on prat falls, but he painted a picture that could evoke a number of emotions from giggles and belly laughs to having his audience well up with tears as he acted out different vignettes all without uttering a single word. So let's explore some possibilities to this wonderful art form of silence and how it pertains to clowning.

(See our article on the Art of Slient Performing.)  
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