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July 17

Bert Lahr after being hit in the face with pie

The pie-in-the face move is a feature of slapstick comedies, which feature exaggerated movements, over-the-top expressions, and other silly behaviors.

Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-126223

1913: Banana or Coconut Cream?
The first pie-in-the-face is thrown on film
The practice of “pieing” in film got its start in the 1913 movie A Noise from the Deep. Actress Mabel Normand hit co-star Fatty Arbuckle in the face with a pie—no word on what flavor it was.

Throwing a pie in someone’s face was just a physical stunt done to get audience laughs. Actually, it became something of a cliché in the days before talkies because it was done so often. But over the years, the act has sometimes taken on political overtones, with pies being tossed in the face of some politicians, corporate executives, and others perceived by the pie-thrower as being wrong about an issue and in need of a public humiliation.
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