|Crazy Like A Fox
|Series:||Charley Chase||♦||Distribution:||Pathé||♦||Director:||Leo McCarey||♦||Cinematography:||Len Powers|
|Production:||B-10||♦||Type:||Silent short||♦||Producer:||Hal Roach||♦||Editor:||Richard C. Currier|
|Released:||22 August 1926||♦||Length:||2-reels||♦||Titles:||H.M. Walker||♦||Supervising director:||F. Richard Jones|
|BEST DVD VERSION|
|The father of a young lady (Martha Sleeper) is excited with his daughter's impending forced-marriage because the groom is the son of a life-long friend of his. Unfortunately his daughter does not share in her father's enthusiasm as she has never met the groom-to-be and after telling her friends her concerns, she leaves for the railway station to get away from the house.
The would-be groom (Charley Chase) is on the train and heading to meet up with her father. The ticket inspector (Tiny Sandford) threatens to eject an elderly woman from the train because she cannot produce a ticket. Charley consults with his valet Mr. Gloom (Al Hallet), who lends Charley his ticket. Charley then hands the ticket to the lady, who satisfies the burly inspector.
Charley notices the sleeping man sitting next to him (Fred Kelsey) is wearing a detective's badge and so delicately relieves him of it. When the inspector asks Charley for his ticket, he simply flashes the badge and is excused. The real detective isn't so lucky however, when he tries to flash his badge which of course is now missing. The inspector walks off indignantly before Charley has the decency to return the badge to its rightful owner afterwards, even if it is done in an unceremonious manner by being thrown back at him.
The bride arrives at the station and dumps her baggage in a trolley just as the train pulls in. Charley disembarks the train, along with his valet and gets into a physical altercation with the Republican Governor over a bag and then declares himself a Democrat from thereon. Charley takes what he believes is his bag and walks off, but spills the contents over the floor and realises it is full of woman's clothing.
|As a policeman helps to pick up the scattered contents, the bride has picked up Charley's bag in error and sees the mess on the floor. She walks over to him, collects her real bag, flirts a little and then walks off towards the train, tripping over some unattended baggage along the way.
The caring Charley sees that the woman has sprained her ankle and offers his assistance. He lifts her up and places her on a bag trolley. Then the flirting really begins! The new coductor (Kewpie Morgan) orders all passengers aboard, but the woman is too wrapped up in Charley's attentions to seem to notice. After several "all aboards" from the conductor fall on deaf ears, the train leaves without the woman. As the train passes, she realises she has missed it but announces that she will catch the 3pm train tomorrow instead. Charley tells her he will be at the station at 2pm, to meet up with her presumably? After the woman departs, Charley tells his valet that wants to marry this woman, but he is then reminded that he is already due to be married to another woman (at which point we understand that Martha Sleeper is both of these women and the man she is supposed to marry is the man she just met, Charley Chase). The valet offers that if Charley pretends to be crazy then the parents of the girl he is due to marry will not longer want him, which would free him to marry the new girl he just met. (Is everyone following this?!)
The valet writes a message on the letter given to Charley by his father as an introduction to the bride's father, a warning of his insanity. Charley is sceptical that he is able to act insane and so tests it on an unsuspecting passer-by (Oliver Hardy). Charley begins dancing around on the grass, and pretending to empty some of it into his hat as the bewildered pedestrian looks on. Eventually Charley resorts to assaulting the man, who quickly runs off across the street and hides behind a large tree.
Charley arrives at the house where he is supposed to meet his future wife. He doesn't waste any time in acting crazy in front of the butler, whilst the mother of the bride gives some encouraging words to her daughter to at least meet with the man. The daughter tells her mother that she has no intention of meeting with the man as she has already found somebody whom she wants to be married to. The mother goes to tell the man the bad news, but not before the butler has a word in her ear first about the strange man's behaviour as he came into the house. Charley gives the mother the letter from his father (which now has the added hand-written P.S. courtesy of the valet). As she reads it, Charley begins to act crazy in front of her, pulling faces and twitching a feather in his hat.
|Disturbed what what she has read in the letter, the mother blows on a whistle which has been provided as a way of snapping Charley out of his crazy behaviour. She leads him into the living room and tells him to wait. When her back is turned he sneaks an opportunity to tickle her.
Back in the street, the man accosted by Charley earlier (Hardy) has run to a payphone to notify the hospital that there is a crazy man on the loose. The receptionist (Lyle Tayo) tells her two orderlies to go and pick the guy up and use force if necessary.
At the house, the father sits Charley down to discuss the wedding, already aware of his possible son-in-law's nervous disposition. The mother and the butler look on from afar, not wanting to get too close to the man. Charley pulls an alarm clock out of his bag and places it on the floor, telling the father to be quiet because his foot is asleep. The father is unimpressed and offers his guest a couple of more years to maybe reconsider postponing the wedding to his daughter! Charley continues, by calling over an imaginary dog and petting it. The butler humours him and gets in on the act, much to the shagrin of the mother, who looks on perpexedly.
Charley sits on the couch continuing to behave in a bizarre manner (note his thumb-sliding trick?) before being invited out into the garden where he is introduced to Governor Harrison (whom he had the encounter with at the train station). The long camera lens reveals the obvious next scene - Charley pushes the governor into the pond and entices him to give chase. The Governor then gets a second drenching at a marble water fountain as Charley hides behind it. He is just about to punch the prankster when the would-be father-in-law interjects with his whistle. Charley momentarily comes to his senses before pushing the governer into the pool for a second time.
Charley runs into the house and hides from the pursuing father.
REVIEW COMPLETE TO 75%
• Production B-10 - Charley Chase series.
• Copyrighted July 26, 1926.
• April 14-22, 1926, with retakes May 28 - June 1, 1926.
• Oliver Hardy was not in the original version of the film. His brief scene was added later on during the re-takes.
• Filming began prior to shooting Bromo And Juliet. When that film was completed, re-takes were shot for this film.
• Martha Sleeper was 15 years old when this film was made.
• Charley Chase gets off the train at Santa Fe station. You can see the name of the station stenciled on the side of the baggage wagon.
• The hand-written note that the valet writes for Charley reads:
[signed] "John J.Wilson
P.S. I forgot to mention that my son is subject to occasional spells of insanity. It is nothing really dangerous, and may not happen over a half dozen times a day."
P.S. 2. If he seems to be going too far, blow this whistle sharply. This always brings him out of it.
• Oliver Hardy's walk-on appearance begins at approximately 7 minutes 22 seconds. He has blond hair and no trademark moustache.
• The date on the wall in the doctor's office says it is the 6th.
• When Charley puts the alarm clock on the floor the time reads 11:31.
• Charley calls his imaginary dog, Dodo.
• The routine Charley Chase uses with sliding his thumb away from his finger was a gag later used by Stan Laurel in The Bohemian Girl.
• 22 Mozart Square is really 22 Berkeley Square, then the residence of Hal E. Roach. The Santa Monica Freeway later plowed under the neighborhood.
What the experts say
Wilson, the groom
|William V. Mong
George, the Bride's father
Mr. Gloom, the valet
Man with badge on train
Elderly woman on train
|SHOT ON THE LOT
The following scenes were filmed on the Hal Roach Back Lot and are included in the TOUR
Richard W. Bann (help, lobby card, identification of Emma Tansey, Ham Kinsey and Charley Young)
This page was last updated on: 19 May 2016