|Tit For Tat|
|Director: Charley Rogers
Producer: Hal Roach
Editor: Bert Jordan
Cinematography: Art Lloyd
|Hal Roach Studios/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
5 January 1935
sound short/2 reels
|.......||Laurel and Hardy have ventured into the world of electrical supplies and are now open for "big business". Passing police officer James C. Morton happily greets Ollie outside the store and wishes him success. Ollie explains they are opening a day late due to his partner (Stan) having a nervous breakdown. Stan is underneath the store collecting some lightbulbs to place on the store-front sign when he activates the (rather dangerous) mechanism to raise the pavement from underneath with the cop standing on top of it. Upon realising the mistake Ollie nervously apologises for his friends' mishap and the officer leaves with a stern look on his face.
Ollie: "Do you want us to get arrested before the customers arrive?"
Stan: "What time are they going to be here?"
Ollie informs Stan that he is on his way over to pay respect to their neighbours, the Halls, who have a grocery store next door to theirs; so together they walk over to introduce themselves. Hardy is met with an uneasy stare by Mr. Hall and it's down to Stan to remind his friend of the altercation up in the hills involving the grocer's wife previously (in Them Thar Hills) which led to their mutual disliking of each other.
|Ollie offers to let bygones be bygones and to share in their new businesses by offering to encourage customers to frequent both stores. Mr. Hall flatly refuses to co-operate and sends Stan and Ollie on their way. As the boys return to their store they find a 'customer' leaving with an item in his hand - who even has the cheek to say hello to them as he steals their stock! Back at the grocery store Mr. Hall proudly boasts to his wife of his triumph.
Outside, Ollie has ascended a ladder to put the lightbulbs on the sign and relies (if that's the right word) on Stan to hand him the bucket containing the bulbs. This goes on for several seconds as every time Hardy climbs the ladder Stan is still holding either the bucket or a bulb in his hand, which he then attempts to pass to Ollie. Finally Ollie has enough and throws a lightbulb down on Stan's head, smashing it to pieces. Stan disappears back into the basement and again raises the ladder from underneath, this time with Ollie at the top of it attending to fixing the bulbs to the sign. The sudden extended height sends Ollie up and onto the Hall's first floor balcony ledge, where he is met by Mrs. Hall. After explaining his predicament, the two laugh it off and she escorts him downstairs, through her shop and past a bemused Mr. Hall. In Ollie's absence, Stan throws the switch to activate the lights on the sign but manages to fuse the connection and blows them up. (Among the people on the street is Jack Hill, walking towards the camera wearing a hat, and Viola Richard, who runs smiling after the second wave of bulbs begins to blow.)
Desperately in need of an explanation of what he has just witnessed, Mr. Hall abruptly confronts Hardy outside the electrical store but Ollie stands mute. Stan volunteers his silence too, which provokes Hall into shoving him into the lightbulbs on the ground. The first blow is struck!
Mr. Hall (to Hardy): "Listen you; if I catch you even looking at my wife again I'll hit you so hard that he'll feel it!" (referring to Stan)
During this distraction the previously-seen 'customer' (Bobby Dunn) walks out of their store this time with a lamp under one arm and a clock in the other. Ollie ignores him by stating he feels offended that his character has been challenged and it is his mission to seek an apology from his neighbour. The boys make their way to the grocery store but Ollie is greeted with a wooden spoon clonked over his head. His retaliation is to open the cash register right into Hall's chin before leaving the store, but not before stealing a marshmallow! Stan attempts to emulate Ollie but when Hall approaches fiercely, he thinks better of it! As the boys return to their own store they are followed by Hall who picks up a soldering iron and points it at Ollie vigourously. Stan seizes the opportunity and plugs the other end, burning Hall's hand, but the victim is quick to respond by clamping the ironing tongs over Hardy's nose before leaving the store.
Ollie shows Stan the burn marks left by the tongs and breathes a puff of smoke through his nose; in a comical moment Stan grabs a small fire extinguisher and sprays it accidentally in his own face! This spells war - and the boys are quick on Hall's tail as he leaves their store. Without a spoken word or explanation, Ollie picks up Hall's wooden spoon, scoops up some potato and hits him in the face with it; and to rub it in both guys steal more marshmallows as they leave in silence. Poor old Charlie has obviously seen enough mickey-taking with his stock so sprinkles some alum on the marshmallows and makes his way over to the electrical store in a rage. This time it's Hall's turn to be destructive in silence as he peels away a selection of pocket watches off the display counter and mixes them in a blender. The silent acts of vandalism continue as Ollie then tips a jar of honey over the cash in Hall's register. This is immediately followed by Hardy's hat being sliced with a meat slicer. Now it becomes apparent that nobody is willing to back down and so this sequence is extended with further indignity being applied to Charlie Hall's face - when the boys tip a large drum of lard over him before exiting the store with the theft of two more marshmallows each.
The boys return to their store to find Bobby Dunn exiting this time with a wheelbarrow full of their merchandise. They quickly discover that the marshmallows they have taken from Hall's store have been laced with something because their speech temporarily becomes impaired. A furious Hall storms over and unleashes a violent retaliation by throwing things off the counter and standing on a chair and swinging a light into another to cause a chain reaction, which destroys the entire shop. It looks like a major victory for the grocer, but Stan and Ollie aren't done with him yet as they follow him back to his store. They make one last attempt to settle the feud but before Ollie can speak they both receive a portion of potato to their faces. They respond by shoving Charlie into a crate of eggs and tipping about 200 more over his head. At this point, fortunately for everybody involved the cop has seen enough and walks in to put an end to it. He asks who started the war and it becomes obvious very quickly that the grocer is to blame, although he denies it. The cop makes Hall apologise and he reluctantly shakes Ollie's hand. Ollie then kisses Mrs. Hall's hand before Stan tries the same. A swift kick to the rear from Mr. Hall and Stan's hat flies off (well caught by the cop). The Halls go back to their business, the boys return to their store to find practically their entire stock loaded onto the back of a truck courtsey of their store thief. The last laugh is with the cop - who makes the mistake of stealing a marshmallow as he leaves the Halls' store.
|The tit for tat sequence of events escalates to the point where both Stan and Ollie tip a large tub of lard over Charle Hall's head. Not content with this act, they make sure of the effect by banging on the side of the drum to ring their victim's ears too! There is so much going on in this film with mindless acts of childish behaviour that it's hard to keep up with it all, but this was my funniest scene!|
|•Filmed December 10-20, 1934. [source: Randy Skretvedt]|
|•The story of this film continues from the events of Them Thar Hills (1934).|
|Did you notice?|
|•The official name of the store is "L&H Electric Co."|
|•The lettering in the window of Laurel & Hardy's store reads:
-Learn to prepare cold cookery dishes, frozen desserts, iced beverages. (on the left of the window)
-Attend daily lecture demonstrations. Join weekly... [cannot read the rest] (on the right of the window).
|•When Stan and Ollie first go to Hall's store there are two people walking out of the shop. One of them is Baldwin Cooke. Why does he seemingly offer the boys a dirty look?|
|•Of the four main chartacters in the film, only one is American (Hardy). Stan Laurel and Charlie Halll are British, and Mae Bush is Australian.|
|•The opening credits mis-spell Charlie Hall's name as "Charley".|
|•Charlie Hall and Mae Busch are wearing jackets which bear the insignia "Hall's Groceries".|
|•When we first see Mae Busch she is stocking the shelf with Baby Ruth Butterfingers.|
|•One of the lines Charlie Hall comes out with is "no beating around the bush with me" - to his wife, played by Mae Busch. I wonder if this was deliberately added to the script?|
|•In the scene where Mae Busch and Ollie come down her stairs there is a cushion at the foot of the stairs. Seems an odd place for it?|
|•When Ollie pours the honey into Hall's cash register, Stan is decent enough to screw the lid back on after use.|
|•Bobby Dunn enters the electrical store 5 times throughout the film, stealing various items of stock in the process.|
|•Watch Charlie Hall's smirk as he slaps down the cut off top from Ollie's hat back on to his head.|
|•When Charlie Hall swings the first light in the electrical store it sets off a chain reaction with all of the lights being smashed. Many of them begin swinging BEFORE they are struck by the preceeding light. A total of 6 lights are smashed in the sequence.|
|•When Charlie Hall leaves the electrical store after his light-swinging victory, look on the far left of the screen at the crowd of onlookers who have gathered and you can see Jack Hill (again, only this time wearing a different hat).|
|•After Charlie Hall smashes the lights in the electrical store and leaves, the cop (James C. Morton) returns and is seen taking notes as the feuding neighbours continue to try and outdo one another. This is reminiscent of Tiny Sandford in Big Business, when he played a cop who observed the carnage unfolding between the boys and James Finlayson.|
|•When Ollie kisses Mae Busch's hand in the final few seconds of the film, it is my observation that his mouth does not actually make contact with her hand at all.|
|•The marshmallows that Stan and Ollie keep helping themselves to are "Snow Clad Marshmallows".
During the course of the film Ollie helps himself to 4 marshmallows and Stan helps himself to 3. The cop also has one.
|James C. Morton