Series: Charley Chase

Director: James Parrott
Producer: Hal Roach
Titles: H.M. Walker

Stars: Charley Chase, Beth Darlington, Eddie Baker
Company: Pathé Exchange
Released: 02 March 1924
Length: 1 reel
Production No.: D-42
Filming dates: October 29-31 & November 5-9, 1923
Rating: 6/10

Hard Knocks

Available on DVD:

Apple sauce magnate Horace Gibson (Silas Wilcox) sits in his office proudly admiring a photograph of his daughter and the man he hopes she will marry. Enter employee Jimmy Jump (Charley Chase) who also has his sights set on the boss's daughter. Jimmy pulls out a photo of Helen and points it towards a wedding ring he has sitting on his desk. A clerk hands out the paychecks to the employees, including a secretary, Jimmy and his rival Ed. Ed goes to the boss and demands a pay rise or he'll quit. Ed's request is accepted. Jimmy tries his luck too but he loses his nerve. The boss's daughter Helen (Beth Darlington) arrives and hands both Ed and Jimmy an invite to attend her birthday party at the end of the week.
Jimmy shows up at the party and is shown in by the butler (Noah Young). Looking out of place and embarrassed, Jimmy switches suits with the butler before Helen encourages Jimmy to sing to the guests. His poor performance receives a lukewarm reception. Jimmy returns to the office to fetch the ring but Ed has beaten him to it and cleared out the safe. The two men fight and several objects are thrown out of the window, which repeatedly hit a cop (Earl Mohan) on the head. The janitor (Jack Ackroyd) reports the disturbance to the boss, who comes down to the office with his wife and daughter and explains that he had in fact sent Ed to get his daughter's present. However when the boss checks the safe he discovers that Ed had in fact tried to rob him but Jimmy saves the day and more importantly gets the girl.

Favourite bit
Early in the film when Jimmy pulls out a photograph of Helen and shows it to the ring he intends to give to her. Sweet.

Copyrighted March 20, 1924.
The film appears to be originally production C-136.
Brian Anthony & Andy Edmonds' book lists the filming dates as September 28 - October 3, 1923, which would have made it production C-129 (or CC-129).
The intended son-in-law seen in the photograph at the beginning of the film is William Gillespie.
Jimmy's salary is $35, whilst his rival earns $75. Incidentally, if you look at the two screenshots you can clearly see that it is the same hand holding each one. I bet in 1923 when they filmed this they never thought for one minute that 100 years later somebody would be watching a digital copy of the film capable of freeze-frame comparisons!
Helen's birthday party is on Friday September 8th. The closest year where the date matched the day of the week was 1922.
Isn't it usual that when you hand somebody an invite to a birthday party to at least put the address on it? This is the invitation which Jimmy receives: see here.
At least one source lists Jack Gavin in the cast. Having watched the film thoroughly I think this is wrong. I did however spot Dick Gilbert in the final scene so I have added him.
My opinion
Pretty straightforward and compact comedy with a surprise ending. Standard stuff really.

Charley Chase
Jimmy Jump
Beth Darlington
Helen Gibson
Eddie Baker
Ed Black
(Jimmy's rival)
Silas Wilcox
Horace Gibson
(Helen's father, the boss)
Noah Young
Earl Mohan
Jack Ackroyd
Dick Gilbert
Evelyn Burns
Party guest
William Gillespie
Intended son-in-law
[photograph only]
Lyle Tayo
Party guest


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

(click any image to enlarge)

Smile When The Raindrops Fall by Brian Anthony & Andy Edmonds (book)
Jesse Brisson (identification of Evelyn Burns)
Steve Wright (identification of Lyle Tayo)

This page was last updated on: 22 August 2022