Movie Night
 
Series: Charley Chase Distribution: MGM  Director: Lewis R. Foster  Cinematography: Len Powers
Production: C-7 Type: Silent short Producer: Hal Roach  Editor: Richard Currier
Released: 11 May 1929 Length: 2-reels Titles: H.M. Walker

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It's Monday night and the Chase family are sitting down to dinner. Charley's brother-in-law (Spec O'Donnell) is greedily helping himself to extras when he is told to wash his face and get in line at the theatre, as the family always go there on Mondays. At the table, Charley's young daughter (the adorable Edith Fellows) has a fit of the hic-cups. After drinking glasses of water fails to cure the problem, her father tries to scare it out of her in a rather comical exchange of wonderful acting and added sound effects! When this fails, Charley throws over a white table cloth and pretends to be a ghost in order to scare her. The trick appears to work when the girl appears to faint but she is quickly brought back to life when the threat of the family not going to the theatre is discussed.
The boy has gone on ahead to keep a place in the theatre queue until the others get there. Charley arrives and when he cannot buy a ticket he pulls a gun (it's actually the end of an umbrella when seen closely) on the ticket seller - right under the watchful eye of a policeman, who fortunately only tells Charley off and orders him to join the queue. The doorman/manager (Tiny Sandford) stops them from going in when he suspects the boy is an adult so Charley has to buy him an adult ticket before they are admitted. The family step inside the darkened theatre and quickly make a nuisance of themselves with the other patrons; stepping on one man's foot (Jack Hill), sticking a finger in another's mouth (Lyle Tayo); and one woman even offers Charley her phone number when she mistakes his searching for a seat as flirting with her! Eventually the family manage to find back-row seats when Charley declares a plan to get better ones by causing a mass panic in the theatre! They get settled in their new seats when the daughter's hic-cups return.
Charley picks her up and walks her to the toilet, disrupting the audience as he goes, and again when they return to their seats. Charley then develops the hic-cups and his daughter tries the scaring tactic on him. When it fails to work, irritated audience members offer their similar tactics but to no avail. The manager brings the concessions girl down the aisle and sends a glass of water along the row of patrons. It is passed along (in order: Charley Rogers, Charlie Hall, Sam Lufkin, Charles Lloyd, unidentified) until it reaches Charley, who spills it immediately. A second glass makes its way down to him; then a third; then a fourth! In the end the doorman summons Charley into the aisle and aggressively escorts him to the back of the theatre where he pours water down his throat. Cured, Charley returns to his seat to the applause of the audience.
The lights come on and the manager takes to the stage to announce the drawing of the prize. Charley complains that it is always fixed, and sure enough the first winner is Mrs. Ginsberg, a relative of the manager, who takes a ham. However, the next prize - a goose - is won by Charley. He receives the bird up on the stage but it flies off and causes chaos amongst the audience who try to catch it, hide from it or use their umbrellas to shield themselves from its potential mid-air deposits. The manager flies into another rage, grabs Charley and his goose, and throws him and the family out of the theatre. Charley's daughter gets the final word when she boots the manager in the shins before leaving. The family stops, the goose lays an egg and the theatre manager ends up wearing it as the family skips off down the street.

Favourite bit
Charley and his daughter sitting at the dinner table in the opening scene with them both having a bout of the hic-cups is both cute and hilarious.

Facts
Production C-7 - Charley Chase series.
Copyrighted April 1, 1929.
Filming dates
According to the Demoss/Stone list: November 21 - December 2, 1927, with retakes December 18-22, 1928. According to Roach studio files these dates are correct, and retakes were shot a full year after the film was completed. The newly shot footage must have included the theater exteriors, which featured a poster for a Buster Keaton MGM feature "The Cameraman", released September 15, 1928.
Trivia
The film was released with a synchronized soundtrack.
This was Charley Chase's last silent film.
Tickets for the theatre costs 35 cents for adults, 20 cents for children and 50 cents for lodges.
The theatre is next to the "Rusk Building".
This was Edith Fellows' screen debut as Charley's daughter. She was not the first choice to play the part. A neighbour was baby-sitting Edith on the day the woman's own son was auditioning for a role in this film. The five year-old boy was cast as Charley's son but prior to shooting the kid suffered a bout of chicken pox. Robert McGowan had been at the auditions and suggested to Chase that he use "the boy's younger sister".
Charley sits in a row of people full of Charleys! Rogers, Hall, Lloyd and himself!
The film appears on a German DVD box-set, but is in relatively poor shape. Yet, on the same set, some footage from the film appears on the WHEN COMEDY WAS KING feature - in much better condition. Also, there is an extended scene on the WCWK print which is missing from the DVD version. Charley Chase has a scene where he takes 2 girls to the toilet whilst at the cinema, yet in the regular DVD he only takes 1 girl. Also missing from the DVD is a very brief scene when Charley Chase first approaches the kiosk girl outside the cinema. In this scene (on the right), Charley Chase takes his daughter to the toilet in the theatre. However, on the When Comedy Is King print, he not only takes his daughter (in the white dress), but also a second child as well. This scene is NOT on the regular DVD print and only seen in the When Comedy Is King print. Also, note the major difference in picture quality as well.
Left: When Comedy Is King print (3m 39s fragment)
Right: DVD print of the (almost-complete) film, running 18m 03s.

What the experts say
"Decent comedy, adorable Edith Fellows, and a goose which causes havoc in a theatre. What more do you want?" ~ Lord Heath.

Charley Chase
Charley
Eugenia Gilbert
Mrs. Chase
Edith Fellows
Chase's daughter
Spec O'Donnell
Mrs. Chase's brother
Tiny Sandford
Theatre doorman/manager
Charlie Hall
Movie patron
Sam Lufkin
Movie patron
Sammy Brooks
Movie patron
Charley Rogers
Movie patron
Charles Lloyd
Movie patron
Lyle Tayo
Movie patron
Jack Hill
Movie patron whose foot is trodden on
Clara Guiol
Movie patron
Grace Woods
Movie patron
Symona Boniface
Actress on the screen
Rolfe Sedan
Actor on the screen
  Harry Semels
Movie patron
  John T. Prince
Movie patron
  Leo Sulky
Movie patron
  Anita Garvin
[unidentified character]
   
UNIDENTIFIED CAST

INTERTITLE CARDS

CREDITS LOBBY CARD & STILLS



SHOT ON THE LOT
The following scenes were filmed on the Hal Roach Back Lot and are included in the TOUR


DVD COMPARISONS

Acknowledgements:
http://www.doctormacro.com/Images/Chase,%20Charley/Annex/Annex%20-%20Chase,%20Charley%20(Movie%20Night)_01.jpg (image, used with permission)
Ed Watz (lobby card)
Smile When The Raindrops Fall p. 106, paragraph 3 - used with permission from the author, Brian Anthony
This page was last updated on: 12 May 2017