In his native Russia, Leonid Gaidai was considered a master of satirical comedy. Before studying film direction at Moscow's VGIK in the early '50s, Gaidai had graduated from the Drama Theater in Irkutsk in 1947 and established himself as a stage actor. Gaidai graduated from VGIK in 1955 and was co-director on Valentin Nevzorov's Dolgiy Put/The Long Way (1956). Dolgiy Put was a deadly serious and disturbing adaptation of the stories of V.G. Korolenko. Gaidai's sophomore effort, Zhenikh sTogo Sveta/The Bridegroom From the Other World, represented his first foray into satirical comedy and was a critical and popular success. Gaidai went on become the Soviet Union's main creator of slapstick comedies. He co-wrote most of his scripts and occasionally appeared in bit parts.