Series: Charley Chase

Director: Ralph Ceder
Producer: Hal Roach
Photography: Robert Doran

Stars: Charley Chase, Blanche Mehaffey, Noah Young, Jack Gavin, Helen Gilmore
Company: Pathé Exchange
Released: 18 May 1924
Length: 1 reel
Production No.: D-52
Filming dates: February 4-6, 1924
Rating: 7/10

April Fool

Available on DVD:

It's Monday morning, April 1st and a young boy comes into the newspaper office to clean and realises the date is April Fool's Day. Shortly afterwards the staff all arrive and sit down on the tacks on their chairs the boy had placed there as a prank. Even the editor isn't spared. Jimmy Jump arrives for work and the boy continues to pull pranks, offering Jimmy a glass of water with a hole in it and then pretending to spill an inkwell on a desk. When Smith, the assistant editor, enters the office he offers Jimmy a wager that by the end of the day Smith declares he will 'get' Jimmy. The two men agree and shake hands on the bet. The editor's daughter arrives and she too plays a joke on the fallible Jimmy with a water-spraying bunch of flowers. It doesn't stop there; Smith continues to wind Jimmy up with a series of small pranks until Jimmy receives a telephone call from the editor's wife telling him that her house is on fire. At this point Jimmy has had enough with pranks and dismisses it.
In the office, Jimmy continues to refuse to believe anything, even laughing at the editor when he tells him about the phone call from his wife and the alleged house fire she reported. The boy continues to be a nuisance by offering Jimmy a couple of cigars, but the cautious Jimmy gives one of them away to Smith, who smokes it without incident. Naturally when Jimmy tries to smoke his it turns out to be a firecracker. Smith's cigar then explodes, leading to a chase around the office. Meanwhile the editor arrives home to find his distraught wife outside their now-burnt home and quickly speeds back to the office to confront Jimmy and punch him in the nose. As Jimmy sits in a heap the editor's daughter telephones him to tell him she is in danger. Jimmy rushes to the address she gives him but when he breaks down the door and ends up in a swimming pool on the other side of it he realises it was a false facade which she had built over the pool to trick him one final time.

Favourite bit
The final scene and the final prank where not only Charley Chase ends up in the pool, but Noah Young as well.

Copyrighted May 12, 1924.
This was the second time Charley Chase had appeared in a film called "April Fool". He directed (and made a brief appearance in) Lloyd Hamilton's 1920 film of the same name.
The events in the film take place on Monday April 1st. The film was shot in February 1924 and April 1st that year fell on a Tuesday. In 1923 it fell on a Sunday (1924 was a leap year). So the nearest year to 1924 in which April 1st fell on an actual Monday was 1918.
When the editor arrives in the cab to witness his wife standing outside their burnt-down home, instead of comforting her or asking if she is okay, he simply orders the driver to take him back to the office. A bit bloody rude?
The final scene with the swimming pool is actually on the Hal Roach back lot.
My opinion
A very lively ten minutes of decent comedy situations, well played out by the main characters in the film, which ends on a comical conclusion.

Charley Chase
Jimmy Jump
Blanche Mehaffey
Editor's daughter
Noah Young
Smith, assistant editor
Beth Darlington
Officer worker
Jack Gavin
Helen Gilmore
Editor's wife
Sam Lufkin
Office worker
George Rowe
Office worker with cigar
Elmo Billings
Prankster office boy
Chet Brandenburg
Office worker


CREDITS (click image to enlarge) INTERTITLES (click image to enlarge)

(click any image to enlarge)

Jesse Brisson (identification of Beth Darlington)

This page was last updated on: 24 April 2021