|The comedian duo "Pat & Patachon" was the most famous
ocuple in the silent movie era and created a kind of couple like Laurel
& Hardy or Abbott & Costello in later years. In contrast to Laurel
& Hardy, who appeared in suits and bowlers, the outfit of Pat &
Patachon reminded to vagabonds, who run around in torn clothes or used
an old rope as a belt.
Pat was the tall guy, Patachon the small one. Together they presented the Danish stronghold of the international movie in those days (together wit the legendary Asta Nielsen, who established the movie as art). The two celebrated huge successes in whole Europe and became famous in countless countries - in Germany and Austria as "Pat & Patachon", in Scandinavia as "Fy og Bi", in the Netherlands as "Watt en 1/2 Watt", in France as "Doublepatte et Patachon", in Great Britain as "Long & Short", in Hungary as "Zoro & Huru", in the USA as "Ole & Axel", in Italy as "X & Y" or "Pan & Patan", in Finland as "Majakka & Perävauna and in Sweden as "Telegrafstopen och Tilhengern."
The film history doesn't pay enough attention to this duo although they had been the only one who cultivated the comedy in Europe as a couple during the silent movie (aside of the single comedians Max Linder and Karl Valentin).
Carl Schenstrom (1881 - 1942)
Pat, who's name was Carl Schenstrom, was born in Kopenhagen in 1881. He emigrated with his parents to America in 1890. Three years later they returned to Denmark. Schenstrom finished a teaching as a bookbinder and startet playing at theaters at the beginning of the 20th century. Because he did not earn enough money for his living he was looking for alternatives. In 1910 he joined the Nordisk Film Company. There he became acquainted with director Lau Lauritzen, with whom he changed to Palladium in 1920. In the following year he met the actor Harald Madsen and together they created the legendary duo "Pat & Patachon". Till 1937 they appeared periodically in pictures, usually directed by Lau Lauritzen. Carl Schenstrom died in 1942.
Movies with Carl Schenstrom:
Harald Madsen (1890 - 1949)
The opposite of Schenstrom was personified by Harald Madsen. Madsen was born in Silkeborg/Ostjütland in 1890. He already worked as an artist in a travelling circus since 1904. From 1915 he was away as a clown for different companies. He appeared in some movies of the Svensk Filmindustri from 1917, in 1920 he changed to Palladium, where he worked as a comedian. One year later he met the actor Carl Schenström and they became the famous duo Pat & Patachon. Harald Madsen had to get over a serious crisis. His health was affected time and again by protracted illnesses. His own circus he founded in later years went bust. When there were also problems with his marriage all these problems accumulated to physical problems and he attracted attention by strange behaviour, among others he was troubled by the idea that the floodlight of the film studios will affect his health which made it difficult to shot movies with him in later years. Finally he retired from public life and lived in a circus waggon. An effort to revive the famous duo with a new partner in 1947 failed. Harald Madsen died in 1949.
Movies with Harald Madsen:
Link to Pat & Patachon: P&P