It is 2am in 1938 and the lights come up on a darkened motion picture sound stage. Someone is pounding on the door and the watchman opens it to reveal Mack Sennett. He is in his late fifties and a little bit drunk. Mack is in a bad mood and demands Eddie turns the lights on. He may be bankrupt, but the studio is his until noon the next day and he is determined that it will be left the way he created it. Pulling out his battered director’s chair, he rants about the way ‘talkies’ have taken over the movie business, dismissing them as a short-lived fad. Suddenly, he remembers Mabel, “My Mabel”. Cutting the lights, he reminisces about the good old days, when movies gave audiences their happy endings (“Movies Were Movies”). As he sings, the lights slowly rise and figures emerge from the shadows. Soon the sound stage is bustling with activity.
Abruptly, Mack cuts the song and takes the audience back to his first studio in New York, 1911. He is shooting a silent movie with Lottie