What A Whopper!  
 
31 July 1921
Pathé Exchange
silent short
1-reel

 

Director: Charley Chase  Producer: Hal Roach  Dialogue: ?
Cinematography: ?  Editor: ?

Poor Snub is at the Turkish baths, recovering from a major hangover. A muscular masseur (Leo Willis) comes over to help Snub back into bed.  Snub then sucks the contents of a water cooler by the side of his bed through a tube, causing his stomach to expand under the sheets as he falls asleep.  The effects of which are four men with sledgehammers seen in a dream sequence smashing down on Snub's head.
The masseur gets Snub on the massage table, albeit reluctantly, and starts his workout.  After Snub is bent backwards a few times, the masseur then throws him around like a rag doll and then across the room and onto his bed.  The bellboy (8 year-old Ernest Morrison) is summoned to fetch Snub's clothes, which he then puts on in bed.
The second part of the film has a rifle-wielding Noah Young purchasing ducks from a vendor whilst Snub leaves the Turkish baths and buys some fish from a fishmonger (he asks the vendor to throw the fish towards him so that he can tell his wife that he 'caught' the fish - very clever gag!)  The two men, it appears, are in league with one another and are formulating their plan to convince their respective wives they had been together the night before in order to hide the truth that they were actually out having fun.
Snub arrives home and tells his wife (Marie Mosquini) of how he caught this huge fish and explains the "lie" to her through a flashback.  Snub explains that he and Noah were sitting in the car eating their lunch, when they were oblivious that a fish had taken their bait and is now towing their vehicle along a country lane.
At the conclusion of his lie, he goes to pull the fish out of his bag... only to discover it is a duck!  Embarrassed by the revelation of his lie, Snub quickly thinks up a plausible explanation on the spot: "When the fish went belly-up, it started barking like a dog".  The 'flashback' continues with the two men sitting in the car with the fish they have supposedly caught and celebrating their success.  Along comes a hungry duck, who steals their prized catch from the car wing and flies off with it.
Snub takes chase after the bird in his car, aiming his rifle at the sky whilst trying to drive.  Eventually he drives straight through a road closed sign and off a bridge into a river.  After swimming to the bank, Snub tries to shake off an inordinate amount of river from his coat, whilst Noah Young arrives on the scene.  An accidental discharge from Snub's rifle shoots down the thieving bird, which he later offers to his wife as the explanation for having it, explaining that the fish he supposedly caught is inside the duck.  Sounds credible - until the last shot of the film sees Noah Young flying out of a second-storey window with his wife, arguing that the fish she is holding could not have been swallowed by a duck.  It all makes sense in the end.... both men have told whoppers!

Favourite bit
During the flashback sequence, Noah Young and Snub Pollard are seen sitting together on a girder spanning a small river whilst fishing.  It's an insignificant shot in the film, but it stands out to me as being my favourite moment.  Hard to explain.

Facts
•Production H-73 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard.
•Copyrighted August 30, 1921.
Did you notice?
•When Leo Willis has Snub Pollard on the table and bending him all over the place, Snub's knees actually make contact with his own face - that is quite some flexibility!
During Snub Pollard's re-telling of the fake story, the two men are seen sitting in the stationary car.  The front wheels are pointed slightly to the left.  After the duck steals the fish we see another shot of the car and the front wheels have changed their position, pointing slightly to the right.
It is not explained how Noah Young managed to cross the river to find Snub Pollard at the end, despite the bridge being out of commission.

Snub Pollard
First husband
Marie Mosquini
Wife
Noah Young
The other husband
Ernest Morrison
Bellboy
Leo Willis
Masseur
   
UNIDENTIFIED
Second wife (Vera White?)
UNIDENTIFIED
Butcher (Bob O'Conor?) & Fishmonger

Acknowledgements:
Jesse Brisson (Vera White and Bob O'Conor suggestions)

This page was last updated on: 15 October 2015