|Another Wild Idea|
16 June 1934
|Directors: Charley Chase, Eddie Dunn Producer: Hal Roach
Cinematography: Francis Corby Editor: William H. Terhune Sound recording: Harry Baker
|Frank Austin has invented a ray machine that can render a person incapable of surpressing their desires. He proudly shows it off to his nervous assistant, who makes a quick excuse and leaves his house immediately!
That night, Betty, the inventor's daughter is on her way home from a masquerade party dressed as a general, and with her boyfriend (Chase), who is dressed as King Henry VIII - the pair get into an argument in the car over which radio station to tune into. Betty gets out of the car by the railroad crossing, pursued by Charley who tries to reason with her. However, their arguing soon turns to fear when she gets the heel of her boot stuck in the train tracks as an oncoming train approaches. Charley rescues her in the nick of time, but the train wrecks the car, which Charley has parked in the middle of the tracks up ahead.
Dutifully, Charley walks Betty home. They are disturbed by the loud snoring of her father and Charley thinks better of coming into the house. As he goes to leave, he catches his jacket in the door hinge and traps himself and ends up falling asleep in a vertical position. The next morning, the milkman (James C. Morton) arrives to find 'the sleeping king' on the doorstep and flees in a panic! Charley, still fully dressed as the king, walks along the street and passes cop Harry Bernard. In what is one of the most humorous scenes in the entire film, Charley casually acknowledges him; "Morning officer." - "Morning, Henry.", replies Bernard.
|In town, the now-dressed Charley waits for Betty out on the sidewalk. Her father has brought his ray machine along and deliberately zaps Charley with it when a beautiful woman (Kay McCoy) comes out of the building. Under the influence of the ray's spell, Charley springs to life and adjusts the girl's hat and starts flirting with her, right under Betty's nose, who takes exception to this. Charley tries to explain his innocence but it falls on deaf ears as he follows her across the street. He is struck by a second ray, which results in him pushing two unsuspecting men into a water fountain (one of them is Charlie Hall).
Charley and Betty stop outside a radio shop and listen to a broadcast of "Peter Rabbit", a children's story being read out by the announcer (Billy Gilbert). Charley gets zapped again, and as a result it brings out his annoyance with the story so he grabs a brick and demolishes the radio. The inventor's friend asks why Charley always seems to be the target for the ray machine, and the inventor confesses that he is trying to make Charley crazy all the time so that his daughter will dump him. Betty storms off, telling Charley she is going to return the ring he gave to her. As the couple stop outside a fruit and vegetable store, Charley receives his fourth zap from the machine.
Nearby, an angry police officer (Tiny Sandford) bullies a much smaller man over parking six inches too close to a fire hydrant and threatens to throw him in "the hoose-gow" (prison) for the offence.
|Charley snaps, and begins launching vegetables at the cop (with pretty good accuracy, apart from his first throw). The proprietor (Harry Bowen) is quick to demand an explanation, but Charley offers to fully reimburse him for all items used! After enduring quite a bombardment, the cop finally is able to confront Charley and take him away.
In the courtroom, Charley is in a straightjacket and with four policemen watching over him closely, each armed with a shotgun. The judge (Harry Dunkinson) orders Charley to remove his hat. Unable to use his arms, Charley jerks his head and his hat flies off, landing on a coat rack. The courtroom explodes with applause, including the judge! Betty urges her father to tell the judge how Charley ended up in the predicament he is in. The judge listens to the inventor's excuse but dismisses it as "impossible". The inventor offers to test his ray machine on the judge to prove its capabilities. The judge is zapped with the ray and as a result, he orders a drink from one of his officers, and then threatens to have the arresting officer (Sandford) fired. The twelve men of the jury are zapped and break out in song. They are promptly fired.
The district attorney is asked his opinion, and he suggests that Charley's straightjacket be removed. The judge releases Charley. A man sitting behind Betty in the courtroom manages to throw the switch on the ray machine, infecting Betty who races towards Charley and proposes to him. Charley and Betty break out in song as he accepts her offer.
After a night out in fancy dress, Charley is still dressed up as King Henry VIII. As he walks down the street he passes a patrolman coming the other way.
Chase: "Morning officer"
Officer: "Morning Henry"
It's so casual, up until the point where the cop does a double-take!
•The two songs performed by Charley Chase in the film are "Henry VIII" (in the car), and "Lunatic's Love Song" (in the courtoom).
Did you notice?
•When Charley is first seen driving home at night with Betty in the car, not only does he barely look at the road ahead, but also he hardly has his hands on the steering wheel either!
•As Charley pulls up to the railroad crossing to let the train pass, the word "Sebastian's" appears in the distance in flashing neon lights. This is "Sebastian's Cotton Club" - located in Culver City, California and owned by Frank Sebastian, who opened the jazz club in February 1926. It is located at 6500 Washington Blvd, not far from the Hal Roach Studios at 8822 Washington Blvd.
•As Charley and Betty walk towards Betty's house after the train incident, you can see the spotlight which is cast upon them from the camera position.
•Watch as the milkman (James C. Morton) closes the gate at Betty's house. It is clearly not attached to the wall!
•When Frank Austin opens his front foor, he effectively releases Charley from the hinge. Charley puts his hands out to break his fall, which would indicate that he couldn't possibly have been fully asleep.
•Charley waits for his girlfriend outside the Westlake Professional Building.
•The woman with the hat (Kay McCoy) that Charley flirts with doesn't appear to be wearing a bra. Either that or she is in a constant state of bouncy excitement!
•When Betty confronts Charley in the street and asks him if he was dropped on his head at birth, they are standing outside a tobacco shop. In the window there is a sign bearing Babe Ruth's name. This is the same store Anita Garvin visits to buy her shotgun in Laurel & Hardy's "Blotto".
•The voice of 'Percy' on the radio outside the store is provided by Billy Gilbert. The radio is for sale at $29.95.
•The vegetables bill comes to $6.85, with a 12 cents tax.
•The judge is played by Harry Dunkinson. He also played the judge in Laurel & Hardy's "Going Bye-Bye!", which was also in 1934.
•Harry Bernard's character is called "Hawkins". He is seen twice in the film; firstly, addressing "Henry" in the street and later in the courtoom with a gun pointing at Charley.
Charley Chase /
King Henry VIII
Hawkins, the cop
Radio store proprietor
Man pushed into fountain
Betty's father's assistant
|James C. Morton
Uncle Percy (voice on radio)
Leader of singers
Illegally parked man
(*is this Billy Engle?)
Cop in courtroom "Quiet!"
'Smile When The Raindrops Fall' by Brian Anthony & Andy Edmonds (book)
'The Charley Chase Talkies 1929-1940' by James L. Neibaur (book)
Ed Watz (help identifying Sebastian's Cotton Club)
Randy Skretvedt (help with information relating to Sebastian's Cotton Club)
This page was last updated on: 29 January 2017