The Merry Widower  
01 August 1926
Pathé Exchange
silent short


Director: Richard Wallace  Producer: Hal Roach  Writers: Charles Alphin, Lewis R. Foster, Carl Harbaugh, Grover Jones, Hal Yates
Cinematographer: Len Powers  Editor: ?  Assistant directors: Stan Laurel, Sherbourne Shields, Jean Yarbrough

(click image for Amazon)

Rudy (Tyler Brooke) is a 'He Flirt' who jumps on the opportunity to woo a lonely, middle-aged housewife (Ethel Clayton) who lives next door.  He puts on a gramophone record and mimes the tune with his violin, making sure the woman can see him through an open window.  She is delighted with his apparent musical skills.  Rudy pretends to drop something on the floor so that he can crawl back around to the gramophone, and change the record without being seen, before coming back to the window and playing another tune for his interested neighbour.  But she warns him that she is married and cannot entertain his flirting before dropping her curtain.
Her husband (James Finlayson) is introduced to the film as "a hunter who has been shooting at the same duck for seven years", as he returns to his home to discover his smoking pipe on the floor.  When he bends down to examine it, Rudy takes aim with his bow and arrow from across the way and fires right into Jimmie's rear.  Attached to the arrow is a love note intended for his wife, notifying her that she is soon to expect a visit from her admirer.
Her husband, armed with his shotgun hides himself away in the base of a clock and observes his wife with her new lover, embracing in the hallway.  When she rejects his advances, he pulls out a gun and threates to end it all, in over-the-top spectacular fashion.
The gun accidentally discharges several bullets, as they fire all over the place, including through the clock where the husband is hiding.  Panic ensues as everybody in the building evacuates their rooms, and Finlayson comes jumping out of his hiding place on fire.  A crowd of people have gathered in the lobby to witness the spectacle and Fin asks their advice.  He soon wishes he didn't, when they turn on him; telling him to go jump off the dock.
Next scene shows Jimmie on the dock with a man (I think this is Jerry Mandy), contemplating suicide.  Instead, the man kicks Jimmie and then jumps into the sea himself.  Jimmie is then drowning his sorrows in a bar when a hobo (Charley Chase) decides to wake him up by shoving an oyster down his throat.  Charley tells Jimmie that it was a mouse he swallowed, and a panicking Jimmie asks for help ("give me a piece of cheese ~~ or a mousetrap!")


  Favourite bit

•Filmed February 19 - March 9, 1926.  ©July 26, 1926.
•Production S-10.
•Released as part of the "All Star" series - with Ethel Clayton.  Originally written as production C-9 with Clyde Cook in the lead, but as of February 18th, it became an All Star comedy.  Also featuring James Finlayson and Tyler Brooke.
This film was released by Alpha Video in October 2014.  The print derives from the personal collection of film-maker (and personal friend) John Carpenter.  The transfer was done by Tommy José Stathes.
Did you notice?
•The first record that Tyler Brooke puts on is called "A Cup Of Coffee, A Doughnut And You" (a violin solo by Mischa Harbaugh).
•James Finlayson finds a smoking pipe lying on the floor when he first enters his house.  It is the same pipe as seen in the photograph of him shortly before that scene.
•The love note on the arrow reads, "Dear Lonely One, I am coming right over.  My heart goes out to one so beautiful, and so neglected.  Rudy.  PS. How can you stand that goat-faced husband of yours?"
•The oyster bar is called "The Forty Thieves", according to an intertitle card.  Look for a brief cameo appearance from Charley Chase as the man who tormets James Finlayson with the oyster.

Ethel Clayton
The hunter's wife
James Finlayson
The hunter
Tyler Brooke
Jerry Mandy
Charley Chase
Hobo in oyster bar
Charlie Hall
Man in the crowd
  Jack Ackroyd
  Sammy Brooks
  Helen Gilmore
Tall man in graveyard

Acknowledgements: (
John Carpenter/Alpha Video
Jorge Finkielman (removing watermarks from title card)
Rob Stone (information, including shooting dates)

This page was last updated on: 08 February 2015