Few companies were as emblematic of slapstick’s sound-era decline as Educational Pictures. Founded in 1915 by real-estate man Earle W. Hammons, Educational grew over the course of the silent era to become the short-subject industry’s leading independent producer-distributor. At its most successful, in 1927, the company’s distribution network extended to some 13,500 theaters, and its output featured some of the era’s most noted comedy producers – Jack White, Al Christie, even Mack Sennett, who switched distribution from Pathé to Educational in 1928 – along with top-flight comedians like Lloyd Hamilton, Lupino Lane, Dorothy Devore, and Larry Semon. Yet, within a few years of its transition to sound, in late 1928, the company’s reputation had sunk. As an independent, Educational was hit particularly hard by the major studios’ move into short subjects, which cost the company many contracts with major-owned theater chains. Educational eventually entered into a distribution deal with Fox in 1933, but this proved less the company’s salvation than a delayed death-blow: five years later, Fox executives decided to cut two-reelers from distribution and dissolved its relation with Educational. Hammons’s company did not survive the decade.