A W.C. Fields joke file
A small brown leather box housing approximately 120 small pieces of paper inscribed in pencil and ink by Fields, together with a small number of clippings and cartoons clipped from magazines. Fields' notes ranging from seemingly unrelated lists of words ("atavisitic / instincts / a bastion of / freedom / fait accompli / ubiquitous / ceramic art") to more developed joke ideas ("you would make more people happy if you didn't sing"; "bottle baby / He's like me all he does is drink and sleep"). Also including personal notes on Fields' pill-taking regimen and other subjects.
Provenance: Profiles in History, Debbie Reynolds: The Auction, June 18, 2011, lot 48.
Fields began his career in vaudeville and later starred in the Ziegfeld Follies from 1916 to 1922. Although he starred in earlier short films, his movie career began in earnest with Poppy in 1923. Fields successfully navigated the transition to sound and continued acting until 1944. Box: 5 x 6 x 1 1/2 in.