Series: Charley Chase
Director: James Parrott
Producer: Hal Roach
Titles: H.M. Walker
Photography: Len Powers
Editor: Richard C. Currier
Stars: Charley Chase, Edna Marion, Bull Montana, Mickey Bennett
Released: 03 September 1927
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: C-2
Filming dates: June 3-13, 1927
The Sting Of Stings
NOT ON DVD
A young boy hand delivers a note from Charley to his sweetheart Edna, telling her that he has bought a new foreign car and he will be over to take her for a ride in it. Charley drives over to her house, showing off to a slower driver along the way. When Edna sees Charley's car he declares it is so big it can hold five passengers and that it is all his. But then a sudden attack of conscience brings him to reconsider briefly. They drive off and stop by a place called Juvenile Hall where they see two young boys playing with a ball. Edna takes pity on them and offers to bring them along for the ride. She proposes this to the headmaster of the institution who hands over six boys to go with the total strangers! Edna is sure they have picked six "perfect little gentlemen". They prove to be anything but!
Their first stop is to pick fruit from a tree which has a big sign next to it warning of prosecution if caught. Well, they are caught by the angry rifle-wielding farmer who demands $100 for the picked fruit. Charley hands over the money but one of the boys manages to steal it back for him. Meanwhile one of the boys' fathers shows up at Juvenile Hall and demands his son but is told he is out on a ride with Charley. The father, Bull Montana returns to the circus where he is one of the performers (he plays a cave man). Ironically enough it is the same place Charley has taken the boys, who waste no time in getting themselves into mischief. The boys deliberately separate themselves from Charley and Edna and cause trouble for them. Charley sticks his head through a curtain where customers throw balls at it and immediately receives a black eye when he is hit in the face.
Joe, one of the brats, manages to tie a lion's tail in a knot when he pulls it through a small hole in the lion's cage. Charley sees this and untangles the knot with his teeth but the lion keeper punches Charley in the face for interference. Next up is the duck-shoot range where Joe switches a woman's hat with Charley's. The woman's hat of course just happens to have a fake duck attached to the top of it. And Charley just happens to stand in the right place at the wrong time. Cue Edna with a gun.... The woman whose hat was stolen sees Charley wearing it and takes it back from him, before it is obliterated by Edna and her rifle. The brats are ushered into a tent by Charley but when his back is turned they hook him up and hoist him into the air and swing him around a pole until he manages to mount a horse which is running around in circles in the enclosure.
This scenes goes on and on and on and on and on.... And on. Charley floating in the air, revolving around the post at the same speed as the camera filming him, sometimes on the horse, sometimes in the air. It just goes on and on and on.... until finally one of the boys cuts a rope which sends Charley flying through the air and landing on a carousel. Edna grabs the boys and mingles with the crowd until Joe sees the caveman act, not realising he is his father. The caveman reacts by breaking out of his enclosure and chasing the boys away. He catches up with his son and runs off with him as Charley gives chase, still under the illusion he is responsible for the safety of the kids in his care. Charley 'rescues' Joe and jumps onto the carousel and prevents the caveman from getting on. Charley quickly makes a getaway with the boy in his car but somehow ends up entangled in the ferris wheel (see favourite bit). With the car perched on top of the wheel, the caveman proves that he is the boy's father by producing a photograph of him. Everybody is happy, Charley and co. are rescued by the fire brigade (pretty quickly I might add). Charley resigns himself to the fact he will not get his car down from the top of the ferris wheel, but one of the boys has other ideas...
Charley drives his car onto the ferris wheel, which rotates and carries it up on the ride. Never seen anything quite like that before, I must confess!
• Copyrighted September 14, 1927.
• UK title: A Treat For The Boys.
• This was the first Charley Chase/Hal Roach film to be released by MGM.
• This was Edna Marion's first film for Hal Roach. She would go on to become a regular in the Charley Chase series, often playing his wife.
• Charley calls his car 'The Spirit of St. Vitus'.
• Ah, the days when two complete strangers can venture up to a care facility with lots of children, and then just pick up six random kids and take them out for a ride in the car without any prior consultation, identification papers or reason. God bless the 1920s.
• There is a scene around 16 minutes into the film where we get a close-up shot of Joe smiling at the caveman. Joe's teeth! Holy shit!
What the experts say
• "One of those Charley Chase comedies which lends itself more to the annoying rather than the entertaining. The sequence with Charley suspended in the air whilst chasing the horse is tediously boring and the kids really spoil the fun of the film, which really tries hard to be something it isn't." ~ Lord Heath.
Juvenile Hall headmaster
|CREDITS||POSTER & END OF REEL TITLE CARD|
|SHOT ON LOCATION|
Smile When The Raindrops Fall by Brian Anthony & Andy Edmonds (book)
Chris Bungo (locations)
Steve Massa (identification of Clifton Young)
Matthew Lydick and Jesse Brisson (identification of Gabe Saienz)
Drina Mohacsi (identification of Jackie Levine)
This page was last updated on: 10 February 2019