Ennioo and Chris, Did you know that Harold Lloyd lost the thumb and first finger on his right hand around the time he created the famous character with the glasses character? Incredible, but true. He did all those incredible stunts after losing the gripping power of his strongest hand. He wore a special glove with a fake thumb and finger which when photographed in films looked amazingly real. Since Lloyd always fought to keep his disability a secret few knew to look for it. If you look carefully you can sometimes notice it.
Lloyd was great prior to sound. Like most silent comedians I find his work after sound sub par. Also, like most silent comedians I often find the shorts better than the later feature length films.
BACK ON TOPIC: Laurel and Hardy were amazing. Agreed, the feature length films (especially the dreadful later ones) were nowhere near the quality of the short films.
I can not recall the title but my favorite L&H film is the one where they have to deliver a piano up a giant staircase. Of course they keep getting near the top and dropping it all the way to the bottom. (Later we find the door on the other side of the house is at street level).
But my personal all time favorite early slapstick comedies are the Fatty Arbuckle films with Buster Keaton as his straight faced side kick. Not a bad film in the bunch. A handful of them are quite bizarre and surreal. And Keaton’s brilliant, legendary comedies are really a continuation of the type of material he did with Arbuckle. Keaton was another great one whose work in sound film is dreadful. The main reason for that for his final silent film (and subsequent talkies) he switched to a larger hollywood studio and lost creative control. The studio didn’t get or want the elaborate idea gags and the subtlety was gone from his work. Then to really screw the guy they but him on the bottom half of a team with Jimmy Durante. Ouch!