In the 1920’s, Italian born Monte Banks was one of the many popular comedians who graced the silent screen. For the 1927 feature, PLAY SAFE, Banks and director Joseph Henabery devised one of the most hair-raising runaway train sequences ever put to film. Banks was a fine acrobat and often risked his neck in front of the camera.
Today Monty Banks may be one of the most neglected of the truly popular comics of the 1920’s. Born Mario Bianchi, this Italian Immigrant apprenticed with both Roscoe Arbuckle and Larry Semon before becoming Warner Brother’s first star, making two-reelers for their infant studio in 1920.
His success with the Warner Brothers led him to produce his own series of two-reelers in 1923, and feature films a year later. At the end of the silent era, Banks moved to England — gradually moving behind the camera and becoming one of Britain’s top comedy film directors.