It Happened One Day
Hal Roach/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
2 reels

Series: Charley Chase
Released: 07 July 1934
Prod. No. C-24
My rating: 6/10



Director: Charles Parrott, Eddie Dunn    Producer: Hal Roach    Photography: Kenneth Peach    Editor: William H. Terhune    Sound: Harry Baker

Cast: Charley Chase, Betty Mack, Oscar Apfel, Carlton Griffin, Eddie Baker


Plot summary:
Betty (MACK) drops off her father Mr. Void (OSCAR APFEL) at the building where he works (the aptly named VOID BUILDING). As he walks towards the entrance he stumbles over Charley (CHASE) who is tieing his shoes on the sidewalk. After giving Charley a lecture about tieing his shoes at home, the two men then try to squeeze through the revolving door to the building. Once again Mr. Void falls over Charley and gives him a mouthful. (He definitely needs some anger management, I think!) In a scene reminiscent of Chase's earlier film, Snappy Sneezer, Mr. Void destroys what he thinks is Charley's hat - only to then discover it is in fact his own. Later, Mr. Void trips over Charley again in a passageway and again Void blames Charley and this time rips up Charley's hat for real.
Charley is introduced by a colleague into the office where he is starting his first day on the job. He makes an impression with the fellow clerks with a speech which prompts one of the men (CARLTON GRIFFIN) to start sarcastically speculating that Charley will soon be running the company and will marry the boss's daughter. The boss overhears the gossip and decides that he needs to get Charley out of the office. Mr. Void tells Charley - in front of the other workers that he has been promoted to branch manager at their Long Beach offices (which is actually a demotion), much to the shocked reactions from the other clerks.
Charley heads for Long Beach as Mr. Void returns home to speak to his daughter Betty. But when his wife informs him that Betty is also in Long Beach he marches down to the telegram office to write a telegram to Charley telling him to return immediately. Charley arrives in Long Beach (actually Santa Fe railway depot) where he receives his telegram. Betty (whom he does not know) pulls up in a taxi and asks Charley to mail a package for her. When he reads the address of Springfield, Illinois, he recalls some sad memories he associates with it and breaks out into song (which features some clever timing on the car horn inbetween verses).
Afterwards Charley gets his hand stuck in the mail box when he posts Betty's parcel and has to try and pry himself out. Charley drops his cigar into a litter bin and starts a fire. A truck load of incompenent firemen arrive to put out the small fire, which they do eventually but not before drenching Charley, who escapes the mail box by hitting it with a piece of metal.
Charley escorts Betty to her train and then reads his telegram, informing him to return home immediately. He quickly jumps onto the back of the train which has just departed the station and finds Betty in the carriage. Charley explains the situation to her about his boss, a Mr. Void - not knowing he is her father and tells her he is on his way back home.
After a bout of sneezing Charley seeks out the porter in order to get a new suit and stumbles upon a newlywed couple in their room. The groom (EDDIE BAKER) offers to loan Charley his spare suit which he has brought with him. When he sits back down next to Betty it is presumed by others they are a recently-married couple expecting a baby and are given gifts by the porter as well as three salesmen on board the train. The train pulls in and Betty's father is there to greet her. When he sees his daughter with Charley he assumes they have married and therefore gives his blessing, as well as a hefty check to Charley. When they all arrive back at the office Mr. Void introduces Charley as a new member of the family. The co-workers congratulate Charley, who drops his check for all to see. But as he bends down to pick it up, the boss comes back into the office and trips over him.... again. Charley's hat is destroyed (again) but he tightly holds on to the check!

My favourite bit:
One minute the newlyweds are all over each other and the next minute they are threatening to fight each other. All over the silliest of misunderstandings. Not usual to see Eddie Baker smiling so that was a nice bonus!

My opinion:
Not one of Charley's best films, but it flows at a relatively decent pace. Betty Mack has little to do as the leading lady, and Oscar Apfel has some anger issues I think he needs to get sorted out. Overall it's an o.k. film but nothing exceptional.

Trivia:
•Copyrighted May 8, 1934.
•The title of the film is an obvious reference to the Frank Capra movie "It Happened One Night", which was released five months before this.
•Film Classics re-issued the film with the incorrect title of It Happen One Day.
•In the opening scene where Oscar Apfel trips over Charley Chase, who is tieing his shoes he blames Charley. Charley is completely innocent, and Apfel is not watching where he is going because he is reading a newspaper. It's the 2021 equivalent of people being on their mobile bloody phones all the time and completely oblivious to their surroundings.
•The "Long Beach" depot is the old Santa Fe Station in Los Angeles.
•Toward the end of the film a conductor calls out a list of mostly non-existent "Los" names and ends with "and points east!" Long Beach is south of LA, not east of it (you can't get much farther west than LA so almost anything would have to be "east" of it).
•In the office, when Charley gives his little speech about possibly marrying the boss's daughter, he's standing in front of a large photo of the SS City of Los Angeles, of the Los Angeles Steamship Co. (known as LASSCO for short). She was taken out of service in 1933 but was still around. Stan Laurel traveled to Hawaii on board this ship in April 1931.
•Contrary to what IMDb says, Harry Bowen is NOT the "perambulator salesman", but the Handy Dandy Diaper salesman.
•The opening bit with Chase repeatedly annoying Oscar Apfel reworks material from SNAPPY SNEEZER. Apfel does his usual good job of playing a curmudgeon (he was somewhat typecast in these roles throughout the 1930s). I think he might be wearing a hairpiece in this film. His character's first name is "Alexander."
•Great double take from Chase around 4 minute mark when he realises that his boss is looking at him!
•When Oscar Apfel finds out he can send 5 more words on the telegram, he seems to anticipate adding "you can go to hell" (pre-Code humor might have allowed this to be more obvious). The name of his company is Null and Void, i.e. zero and empty; there's a "null and void" reference in L&H's OUR WIFE.
•The actor playing the telegram officer looks very much like Charles Dorety, but it's hard to see his face to be sure.
•The firemen who appear to put out the trash can fire have to be the most inept ever seen, a fire dept. version of the Keystone Kops. They manage to get more water on Charley (and several people on the sidewalk behind him) than on the fire itself. (The fire truck and people watching are at what I like to call "Garvin Corner" on the Back Lot, the place where Anita Garvin sits on a pie in THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY).
•Charley's telegram is dated April 30, 1934, and since inserts like that were usually done last in the shooting schedule, the film probably wrapped around that time (April 30th fell on a Monday in 1934). The date line reads "VGAGAHL 6 STRAIT WIRE 1012 AM APRIL 30 1934" "Strait wire" only means it was sent prepaid at usual rates. The text reads "MR CHARLES CHASE / LONG BEACH CALIFORNIA / DISREGARD INSTRUCTIONS RETURN AT ONCE / A L VOID" The train car looks like the same set used in BERTH MARKS and the Our Gang CHOO CHOO. (Note position of door on the compartment at the end; it's the same as the one Stan blunders into in BERTH MARKS).
•That might be Ray Turner as the porter who brings flowers to Betty Mack.
•The check Charley gets is also dated April 30, 1934. Charley's thumb is hiding the name of the bank, probably intentionally, so all the viewer can see is "Bank & Trust Co. Los Angeles Cal." $5000.00 was a LOT of money in 1934, when the average US income was about half that, and would equate to about 75,000 in 2021 dollars.
•When Charley gets on the train he gets on at the rear of the last carriage, yet when he walks into the carriage to find Betty he approaches her from the opposite end. You can tell this because she is facing the rear of the train from her seat (look at the direction the train is moving by looking as the scenery passes the window). So this is a continuity error. I wonder how many others picked up on this point?
•In the final scene I think that is Jack Hill who does the stunt in falling over Charley Chase on the ground before the close-up shot shows it to be Oscar Apfel. Not 100%.


Charley Chase
Charley Chase
Betty Mack
Betty Void
Oscar Apfel
Alexander L. Void
May Wallace
Mrs. Void
Carlton Griffin
Office clerk
Eddie Baker
Bridegroom on train
Marion Byron
Bride on train
Baldwin Cooke
Baldy, office clerk
Charlie Hall
Charlie, office clerk
Ernie Alexander
Office clerk
Carl M. Leviness
Office clerk
Art Rowlands
Office clerk
James C. Morton
Man on train with toupee
Harry Bowen
Handy Dandy Diaper salesman
Stanley Price
Salesman on train
Harry Bernard
Salesman on train
Harry Dunkinson
Train conductor
Bobby Callahan
Telegram messenger
Ray Turner
Train porter
Charles Dorety
Telegram officer


UNIDENTIFIED


CREDITS


ALTERNATE RE-ISSUE TITLE CARDS (BLACKHAWK & FILM CLASSICS)


STILLS


LOBBY CARDS


SHOT ON LOCATION


SHOT ON THE BACK LOT



Acknowledgements:
Smile When The Raindrops Fall by Brian Anthony & Andy Edmonds (book)
Robert Winslow (extensive trivia notes, identification of Ray Turner)
Jesse Brisson (identification of Art Rowlands and Bobby Callahan)

This page was last updated on: 03 March 2021