Welcome to January 23rd on the National Day Calendar.
You’ve heard the phrase it’s as easy as pie, though anyone who has ever made one from scratch, knows that it’s not easy at all to bake. As it turns out, there’s some skill involved in taking a pie to the face. Ben Turpin, the comedian and silent film star, is largely credited with being the first victim of this joke in the 1909 film Mr. Flip.
Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton perfected the gag with specific recipes depending on the victim’s hair color. Blackberries looked better on blondes and cream filling was funnier on brunettes. By the time Laurel and Hardy were in full swing, the pie to the face was almost old hat, but Stan agreed to make the pie picture to end all pie pictures with the film Battle of the Century. The Los Angeles Pie Company provided the more than four thousand pies required for the movie, which debuted in 1927. Life Magazine later wrote that this pie armageddon was so classic that every pie made its special kind of point and piled on its special kind of laugh.
On National Pie Day, don’t insult your favorite baker by making a joke of their masterpiece. Instead, savor a sweet bite with a classic comic film.