Series: All Stars w/Max Davidson

Director: Stan Laurel, Leo McCarey
Producer: Hal Roach
Titles: H.M. Walker

Stars: Max Davidson, Martha Sleeper, Eddie Clayton, Lillian Leighton
Company: Pathé Exchange
Released: 18 December 1927
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: S-25
Filming dates: May 5-18, 1927
Rating: 6/10
Flaming Fathers


Future son-in-law Rollo (Eddie Clayton) is caught by Papa Gimplewart flicking through a family photograph album whilst he waits for his fiance (Martha Sleeper) to join him. Martha says they are going to the beach but her mother thinks the couple are about to elope and so tells Papa to keep an eye on them. Papa jumps in the trunk of the car and off they all go to the beach driving along a very uneven road. After a while they stop to check on Papa in the back, who has now ended up in the front inside the radiator! The three of them arrive at the beach and after parking up and Papa getting into an argument with a cloakroom attendant, Papa goes to get changed - in the ladies room before being chased out by a partially clothed female [this might be Clara Guiol, it's hard to say for sure].
On the beach Papa finds Martha smooching with Rollo and threatens to "spank her hard" (hmmmmm he's not the only one who would like to do that I'm guessing!) Papa's strange attire attracts a young boy who asks him to pull faces. When Papa obliges him the boy goes and gets his friends so that they too can see the 'funny man'. Papa sits himself between his daughter and Rollo but the couple still manage to hold each other's hands behind his back. Papa catches them and breaks it up with a clever gag. Before you know it there are sixteen kids (including one monster-sized kid which belongs to Charlie King) begging Papa to pull faces for them. Finally Papa has had enough and begins smacking that really fat kid (try doing that today!). The boy's father tells Papa off and the two dads get into a fight, which draws the attention of everybody on the beach including a policeman who is about to eat his lunch.
The kids continue to torment Papa and again he goes after them. Papa thinks he has collared the fat kid again but it turns out to be his mother (see favourite bit). Cue round 2. The cop once again has to break up the fight and warns Papa he will be taking a ride in the police wagon if he continues with his disturbances. This rouses Rollo and the daughter who eventually come to Papa's rescue by promising to take care of him. But those kids are relentless and continue to aggravate Papa by demanding he perform for them. Papa then gets tangled up with a large dog who ends up biting off Papa's suit (you actually see Max Davidson's bare arse for gods sake!) in the sea. With Papa seemingly stranded by circumstances, Rollo exploits the opportunity to run away with his daughter right there and then.
Papa's nakedness draws the attention of everybody including the cop who is just trying to eat his lunch in peace. The cop runs into the sea and demands Papa comes out, which he eventually does when he becomes entangled in seaweed. If things couldn't get any worse, Mama Gimplewart turns up looking for Papa at the seafront. The kids turn their attention to chasing the cop who crawls under the boardwalk to get Papa. Papa emerges dressed in the cop's uniform and hides on the pier from his wife concealed behind a newspaper but when she sits on the bench he is on he slides down and crashes into her. After trying to convince her that he is now a policeman, Papa escorts Mama away and along the boardwalk where they are followed by all the kids - and the cop, who captures Papa and throws him in a police wagon. Papa escapes and the kids ask him to come back again the following weekend. And inbetween all the fun and distractions, his daughter returns with her new husband after quickly getting married! The film ends on a running gag with the kids destroying the picnic set up by the fat boy's parents on the beach.

Favourite bit
Max Davidson thinks he is smacking the bum of a brat kid, but it turns out to be his mother instead. Still, it's a nice shot. Can you imagine him getting away with THAT in this day and age?

Copyrighted July 22, 1927.
Most likely filmed May 5-18, 1927, as production H-20.
Martha Sleeper was 16 years old at the time of filming. Try to remember that when you think of her in that way as you watch the film!
Rollo's car registration is 1-078-572.
In the scene where the cop breaks up the fight between the two fathers on the beach there is a young woman in the centre of the shot wearing a bathing costume. Her nipples are clearly visible. Yes, I did just say that.
When the two fathers start up their fight for the second time the crowd gathers around the large umbrella, but that is a continuity error because the fight actually takes place near the edge of the beach.
Maybe this slipped past the film censors but there is a scene involving a young girl (maybe about 7 years old) which should not have made it to the screen. I am not going to publish the image simply on the grounds of decency (yeah but I have no problem showing off 16 year old Martha's shapely body!!!), but it comes up on the screen at 13 minutes. She is standing on the left of the picture in a semi-close up as all the kids are laughing. The method of freeze-framing DVDs can sometimes be an awkward privilege! That said, I wonder how many people will read this trivia and then go and seek out the clip I am referring to?!
The beach scenes were filmed near Ocean View in Santa Monica, California.

What the experts say
"It's everything you would expect from a Max Davidson comedy. The on-location shooting really adds to the atmosphere of the film and it's hard to keep your eyes off Martha Sleeper despite her young age. I've seen worse. But that is not an endorsement of this film by any means!" ~ Lord Heath.

Max Davidson
Papa Gimplewart
Martha Sleeper
Eddie Clayton
Lillian Leighton
Mama Gimplewart
Charlie King
Fat boy's father
Tiny Sandford
Chet Brandenburg
Checkroom attendant
Bobby Newman
Fat kid
Mary Jane Milliken
Annabelle Magness
Artye Folz
David Durand
Frederick Carpenter
Phyllis Hurst







Acknowledgements: (poster, which I cleaned)
John Bengston (locations identification)
Drina Mohacsi (identification of Bobby Newman, Mary Jane Milliken, Gerald Pierce, Artye Folz, Annabelle Magness, David Durand, Frederick Carpenter and Baby Phyllis Hurst)
Matthew Lydick (help and assistance)
Jorge Finkielman (lobby cards)

This page was last updated on: 10 February 2019