Series: All Stars w/The Taxi Boys
Director: Del Lord
Producer: Hal Roach
Photography: Walter Lundin
Editor: William H. Terhune
Sound: James Greene
Stars: Ben Blue, Billy Gilbert, Gladys Blake, Billy Bletcher
Released: 10 June 1933
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: T-10
NOT ON DVD
Schmaltz (Billy Gilbert) is in the taxi garage but not paying attention when he hoists his co-worker (Billy Bletcher) up into the air with the taxi on a mechanical lift. When the car smashes into the ceiling, he gets a grilling from not only the foreman but also a very tall cabbie (see "favourite bit"). The two cabbies head off into town and stop outside a store where they see a sign advertising for a taxidermist assistant. Mis-reading the sign, thinking it says "taxi-driver" wanted, Schmaltz goes inside and asks for the job. There is some confusion with the shop worker (James C. Morton), who sends him to meet the boss in the back who is the process of dismissing one of his night watchmen (Richard Cramer) for sleeping on the job. The boss hires Schmaltz to replace the tough-looking Cramer, and is given his first assignment - to stuff a large bird. He gets straight to work, plucking the feathers from its carcas until a violent sneeze blows them all clean off!
A strange, twitchy man (Ben Blue,-who else?) walks into the store and strikes up a conversation with a mannequin, believing it to be a real person. The young lady who is partially concealed behind the counter nearby thinks he is addressing her and therefore answers him. When he realises his error the lady leads him - and his empty bird cage that he brought into the store - to see the new taxidermist in the back. Ben tells Schmalz that he wants his pet flea to be stuffed, but first offers to show off the fleas' tricks for their entertainment (this goes on in excess of two whole minutes). Ben gets the flea to jump into his arms but then loses it. The secretary, who has watched on with a complete bored expression (can't blame her) finally does what everybody else watching the film was thinking - and gives the guy a great big slap across the face.
Before leaving the store for the evening the owner gives Schmaltz a shotgun and tells him to guard a valuable shipment that arrived that morning. Schmaltz gets jittery with the thought of being left alone in the store and gets his finger stuck in the barrel of the gun, causing a parrot to make fun of him. In the back, Ben searches for his pet flea by looking through the fur of a real cat, and then on the stuffed monkeys. Schmaltz comes in and tells Ben to get down from the shelf and as he does he knocks everything over causing a small animal skull to fall and land on the cat's head. The scared Schmaltz hides in a what he thinks is a closet but soon realises there is a fake skeleton in it (this is really cheesy).
The sacked night watchman returns with an accomplice and we see a guy dressed as a mummy hiding in an Egyptian tomb inside the store. For some unknown reason Ben thinks it would be helpful to get the skeleton out of the closet (he even asks if it is Schmaltz - this film couldn't get any worse) and walks around the store with it, scaring the shit out of Schmaltz in the process. Ben holds the skeleton next to Schmaltz and talks to him until Schmaltz realises it is not the skeleton doing the speaking (it's so awful to watch). Schmaltz goes into a back room where the mummy emerges from its vertical tomb. Schmaltz jumps clean out of his boots and runs off, whilst Ben loses his head inside his clothing and the two of them run away down the street together screaming in fear.
After the bumbling, incompetent and careless Schmaltz (Billy Gilbert) manages to crush a taxi-cab in the garage, a tall cabbie (Clifford Thompson) confronts him - with surprisingly restrained and unexpected composure!
Tall cabbie: "Who did this to my cab?" Mechanic: "He's the one what did it!" Tall cabbie: "Oooh, you nasty person!"
• Copyrighted May 8, 1933.
• This was the last Taxi Boys film to be made. It was the ninth to be released.
• The title of the film is a reference to The Mummy, a successful horror film starring Boris Karloff which was released by Universal the year previously.
• The film opens outside "The Black And Blue Cab Co." Their motto on the wall reads, "Cabs Every Where". To the left there is a sign which reads "Drive carefully".
• When Billy Gilbert is laughing at the mis-fortunes of co-worker Billy Bletcher, the foreman walks over. He wears the tag "Foreman" on his overalls. Seriously, who would have the word "foreman" etched onto their clothing unless it was for the benefit of the viewing audience?!
• The license plate on the crushed cab in the opening scene is 14430.
• Top-billed Ben Blue doesn't show up until 5½ minutes into the film. This isn't a bad thing, by the way!
• Watch the secretary's face when she finally establishes contact with Ben Blue. It says it all! "Unimpressed".
• The name of Ben Blue's bird is 'Oscar'. Oscar's wife, a flea (you couldn't make this up) - is called 'Minnie'.
• The secretary asks for Billy Gilbert to "take care of this gentleman" (referring to Ben Blue). He responds, "I've got to stuff him too?" Please Mr. Gilbert... if you would, that would be a great help to mankind!
• Billy Gilbert's tattoo on his right forearm is clearly on show in the film.
• Ben tells Billy Gilbert not to get too close to the cage because "it makes Oscar wild". Not very subtle. He also claims that he feeds his flea on steak.
• Dick Gilbert appears in this publicity still but he does not appear in the film.
What the experts say
• "Oh this is simply embarrassing. The acting is rubbish, the gags are lame, the actors are so unbelievably horrendous. There is one rather amusing scene at the beginning with the tall cabbie who complains about his cab being wrecked but that is it! This was the last film in the series to be produced. Now, I can't understand why, can you?!" ~ Lord Heath.
Taxicab company mechanic
Taxicab company boss
Sacked night watchman
|James C. Morton
|SHOT ON THE BACK LOT
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Richard Finegan (two stills)
Jesse Brisson (identification of George Gray)
This page was last updated on: 10 June 2020