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Karl Valentin

Foto: Willy Pragher Lizenz CC BY 3.0
Rechteinhaber Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg

1882 - 1948

The star comedian and actor Karl Valentin was born as Valentin Ludwig Fey in Au. After the school he learnt the trade of a joiner from 1897. He already met Gisela Royes in 1899 who worked as a maid servant in the house of the Fey and they lived together as a couple.

Karl Valentin attended a Munich comedian school in 1902 and had first guest performances. But his career got stuck at the beginning when his father died. He took on the forwarding agency together with his mother.

But in 1906 he sold the agency and built a music apparatus made of 20 instruments. He went on tour with this "Orchestion" but it was a flop.

His real career began in 1908 when he had first successes as a comedian at the "Frankfurter Hof". There he also met Liesl Karlstadt who became his stage partner in 1911. With her he has an enormous success at the "Simplicissimus".
Also in 1911 Karl Valentin got married with his long-standing friend Gisela Royes, at that time they already had two children.

Karl Valentin had his great breakthrough as a comedian on the screen in 1912. His first movie was "Karl Valentins Hochzeit" and was a great success. In 1914 followed "Der neue Schreibtisch", but he laid the foundations of his legendary repute with countless appearances for cabarets where he enraptured the audience to enthusiasm.

His topical-satirical career reached it's height in the 20's. He performed  "Die verhexten Notenständer", "Das Christbaumbrettl" and "Der Firmling", simultaneously he played in several movies like "Mysterien eines Frisiersalons" (23), "Der Sonderling" (29) and "Der Feuerwehrtrompeter" (29).

Karl Valentin inaugurated his "Panoptikum" in 1934 which he had to shut down only 13 months later.
Through it his partnership with Liesl Karlstadt went on the rocks because Valentin lost nearly her whole fortune with this project. The outwards always cheerful looking actress didn't have a light life with Karl Valentin because he was a hypochondriac. After all she attempted suicide which fortunately failed. 

Karl Valentin, whose film career in the sound film era increased rapidly, appeared in movies like "Im Photoatelier" (32), "Der verhexte Scheinwerfer" (34), "Im Schallplattenladen" (34), "Kirschen in Nachbars Garten" (35), "Musik zu zweien" (36), "Die Erbschaft" (36) - his best movie - and "Donner, Blitz und Sonnenschein" (36).

In the 40's he appeared only one more time in a movie called "In der Apotheke" (41), after that he concentrated again to his comedian career. In his "Ritterspelunke" he was very successful with his young partner Annemarie Fischer.

But with the outbreak of the war he wasn't as successful as before. The Nazis  boycotted Karl Valentin because of the "tendency to poverty" of his plays, finally Karl Valentin got into economic poverty through it. Now he had to produce small household items in order to earn his living. The audience had forgotten the lanky comedian.
Karl Valentin died in 1948 because of a pneumonia.

But Karl Valentin remained immortal after his death. Later generations discovered this unique comedian again and his name became cult. 

Other movies with Karl Valentin:
Die lustigen Vagabunden (12) Die Schönheitskonkurrenz oder: Das Urteil des Paris (21) Der "entflohene" Hauptdarsteller" (21) Die verkaufte Braut (32) Orchesterprobe (33) Der Zithervirtuose (34) Es knallt (34) Der Theaterbesuch (34) So ein Theater! (34) Der Firmling (34) Strassenmusik (36) Ein verhängnisvolles Geigensolo (36) Die karierte Weste (36) Beim Rechtsanwalt (36) Kalte Füsse/Beim Nervenarzt (36) Der Bittsteller (36) Ewig Dein (37) München (38) Der Antennendraht/Im Senderaum (38)