|Series:||Charley Chase||♦||Distribution:||MGM||♦||Director:||Warren Doane||♦||Cinematography:||George Stevens|
|Production:||C-23||♦||Type:||Sound short||♦||Producer:||Hal Roach||♦||Editor:||Richard C. Currier|
|Released:||27 July 1929||♦||Length:||2-reels||♦||Story editor/titles:||H.M. Walker||♦||Sound recording:||Elmer Raguse|
|NOT AVAILABLE ON DVD|
|A train pulls into the station and Charley Chase and Thelma Todd disembark. The two strangers have seemingly formed a friendship during their journey and plan to meet up later in the day at Thelma's house. She gives Charley her address, and after an inordinate amount of flirting between them they go their separate ways. Charley leaves with the seat of his trousers missing, courtesy of a caged goat which he has stood a little too close to on the platform. Thelma walks off with a look of disgust on her face when she sees his underwear.
The owner of the goat sees Charley's indiscretion and apologises, but a forgiving Charley claims he was wearing two pairs of trousers and thus removes the outer pair and offers them to the goat "for breakfast".
Five minutes into the film and Charley boards a streetcar and suddenly adopts a bout of sneezing, brought on by hay-fever. One of the passengers (Anders Randolf) takes objection to being sneezed upon by Charley and does his best to move down inside the carriage to avoid him. It's no use, Charley repeats his sneezing and catches Randolf again. This time, the angry passenger tears up Charley's hat in the hope he will take the hint. As Charley attempts to sit down, his seat is quickly taken by fellow passenger Harry Bowen. Charley continues to stand - and continues to make his presence known to Anders Randolf by sneezing on him a third time; this time with enough force to split his newspaper in half. Charley's hat takes another ripping as a result.
|He moves away and buys a newspaper from a boy on the streetcar but promptly wrecks it with a violent sneeze. Guess who just happened to be standing behind the newspaper? Yep! A fifth sneeze brings out a helpful handkerchief from unfortunate victim Anders, but Charley tears it to bits with his violent sneezing. Charley makes a quick exit from the moving vehicle, followed by Randolf in comical fashion, as he flies out onto a slippery road whilst the rest of the passengers break out in sneezing fits.
Charley offers to help Randolf brush down his suit, claiming "accidents will happen" but then quickly pushes him out of the way of an oncoming car and straight into a wet ditch by the side of the road (it's one of the film's comical highlights!) The comedy doesn't stop there either - Anders takes Charley's hat and punches a hole right through it and just when you think it couldn't get any worse for the poor guy, Charley pushes him into a vat of whitewash to avoid being hit from above by a falling safe. Of course, Charley then hands the man his hat for complete destruction and runs off.
Mr. White (Randolf) arrives home covered in the whitewash and is greeted by his daughter - who turns out to be Thelma Todd - the girl Charley met on the train. He makes a telephone call to the effect that he wants to buy a car he had previously seen and instructs the receiver to bring it around to the house. He explains to his daughter that the car is for his own use, as he has now finished with streetcars! Thelma tells him about her encounter with the man she met on the train and how he is expected at the house that afternoon. The doorbell rings. Charley arrives with a new hat and explains how he had to buy it after an encounter with "an old pelican" on the streetcar.
The new car arrives and an excited Thelma takes Charley outside to examine it.
Mr. White has freshened up and comes outside to see his new car and meet his daughter's new boyfriend. When he and Charley see one another they instantly recognise each other and Charley sneezes for a 6th time on the man! If it couldn't get any more far-fetched, Thelma even asks Charley to teach her father how to drive, despite the father having told Charley to leave! Charley sits in the back of the car with Thelma and instructs the father whilst holding his nose to prevent him from sneezing. The father suggests Charley put a rubber band across the back of his head and across his nose. Charley does as he is told and ends up looking like a pig with a squashed-up face.
Off they go in the car as the father drives along a deserted lane before coming upon a road-closed sign. Charley instructs the driver to make a hand signal to show his intent to change direction, but as Anders sticks his left hand out of the car, his glove comes off and gets stuck in a horse's arse on the side of the road (you couldn't make it up!) Naturally Charley is told to retrieve it - somehow! He gets out of the car and tries desperately to relieve the horse of the glove. But each time Charley reaches to grab it, the animal flinches or puts up resistance.
|Charley employs a number of distracting tactics with the horse, including whispering in its ear, sneaking up on it and even FLIRTING with it!! Eddie Dunn is working in a ditch by the roadside and takes exception to Charley when he treads on his lunch. This leads to a tit-for-tat fight between them with the rest of the food being used as weapons being thrown in all directions. Eddie's over-reaction finds a wayward orange being hurtled into innocent Anders Randolf's face. He has had just about enough of Charley now and tells Thelma to get up front and do the driving because he would rather take a chance with her than "that young idiot".
Charley finally coerces the horse to release the glove after he tickles its back. Unfortunately, the father has already instructed his daughter to drive off, leaving poor Charley behind. The car steers off down the road towards a large crowd of people who part to the sides of the road, revealing a series of rollercoaster-type ramps. Charley grabs a nearby motorcycle cop and tells him that the driver of the vehicle (Thelma) is inexperienced. He hops on the front of the bike and they follow the car as Thelma cries out for help (the ramp stunts looked very fun to do!)
Over and over the ramps the vehicles go until finally Charley gets close enough to jump off the front of the bike and grab the back of the car. Eventually the car comes to a stop and they leave the ramps. Charley receives a grateful handshake from the father, who asks what he can do to show his gratitude? Charley asks that the rubber band be taken off his nose. It is removed and promptly causes him to sneeze on the man! Charley doesn't care - he gets to kiss Thelma, finally.
• Production C-23 - Charley Chase series.
• Copyrighted August 12, 1929.
• Some sources give a release date of 29 July 1929.
• May 25-30, 1929.
• There were two versions of the film originally released: a silent and a sound version. They are identical with the exception of the opening credits:
• There are 63 intertitle cards in the silent version of the film. They are listed below.
• A three minute segment from the film is shown in Laurel And Hardy's Laughing 20s.
• The opening scene shows a train pulling into Santa Fe Station. The number on the side of the train is 3727.
• There are 15 intertitle cards within the first 3 minutes of the (silent version) film. That equates to one every 12 seconds.
• Charley sneezes a total of 8 times during the film. 7 times on Anders Randolf and 1 time on Thelma Todd.
• The car that Anders Randolf buys is apparently blue.
• When Anders Randolf lets his foot off the pedal in the car, the vehicle jolts forward so quickly that Charley and Thelma are flung backwards in the back seat. Thelma shows an awful lot of leg!
• The horse's name is Milton.
• It looks obvious that there were two sets of ramps, each with three hills built for the final scenes. The shots where we see the car and the motorcycle in pursuit are shot over and over again using the same set. This is a good example of financial budgeting and clever editing.
What the experts say
(Mr. White's daughter)
Man on streetcar
Man on streetcar
Giggling woman at station
Jack, the ditch digger
Milk wagon man
Goat owner, newspaper boy on streetcar
|CREDITS||POSTER, LOBBY CARD & STILLS|
|SHOT ON LOCATION
The opening shot of the film was filmed at Santa Fe station.
Smile When The Raindrops Fall by Brian Anthony & Andy Edmonds (book)
The Charley Chase Talkies 1929-1940 by James L. Neibaur (book)
Jorge Finkielman (still)
Randy Skretvedt (lobby card)
Richard W. Bann (identification of Hayes Robertson)
And a big thank you to the two gentlemen who helped me secure the two copies of the film for review.
This page was last updated on: 10 AUgust 2019