Series: Charley Chase

Director: James Parrott
Producer: Hal Roach
Titles: H.M. Walker
Photography: Len Powers
Editor: Richard C. Currier

Stars: Charley Chase, Edna Marion, Hazel, Howell, Frank Leigh, Tom Dugan
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 29 October 1927
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: C-3
Filming dates: August 12-22, 1927
Rating: 7/10

The Way Of All Pants

Available on DVD:

Charley works in an office where his boss has put out a job advert for a new stenographer. A bunch of eager young ladies turn up all hoping for the position and Charley is asked to select one suitable. So the squirmish Charley goes out into the waiting room and after asking them 'who's first?' he gets mobbed and kissed by them all. The boss sees tons of lipstick all over Charley's face and tells him off for taking advantage of the ladies, who are then ushered out of the office by Charley. One lady remains seated; the diminutive, unassuming Edna Marion whom Charley takes a liking to and ultimately offers her the position. She wipes the lipstick off his face delicately before she and Charley go into the boss's office. The boss tells Charley to take charge whilst he has to go out, leaving Charley alone with Edna to drool over her awkwardly.
As Charley sits at the boss's desk, the boss's wife comes in and sneaks up on him from behind. Assuming it is her husband she begins to flirt with Charley. Charley assumes the woman is Edna and so accepts the attention until he sees Edna sitting at her desk and realises the mistake. Naturally at that moment the boss returns to the office to see his wife all over Charley. Charley is fired on the spot but the boss's wife tells him she knows it was an innocent mistake and vows to save his job. However, she asks a favour of him in return in that she uses Charley to get a tailored pair of riding breeches for her husband as he is the same size. Meanwhile Edna is telling the boss of the innocent mistake that was just witnessed by him in the office and he decides to forgive Charley - until he opens his door to find his wife once again with her hands all over Charley!
Charley has gone into town to pick up the breeches and tells Edna that he has to deliver them to the boss's wife and that he will be back by 8 o'clock. Charley arrives at the house where he is taken upstairs to her bedroom to try the pants on; which he does behind a screen but also in full view of the window. The boss pulls up in his limousine car and sees Charley in his house and grabs a detective on the street to help in the removal of Charley. As guests begin to arrive at the house, she spots her husband among them and quickly tells Charley to get out of the house the best way he can. Cue dog, who sees - and then goes for Charley, ripping off one of the legs from the trousers. The detective lets himself into the house and begins his sleuthing. Meanwhile Charley sneaks up behind a curtain where the detective is standing, reaches around and removes the detective's belt from around his waist without him realising. When the detective walks off, he has no trousers on. Worse, Charley then catches the trousers in a closing door, rendering them useless for himself to wear.
Charley finds an ally in the butler, who throws the now-rescued trousers to Charley but they are intercepted by the detective who grabs them and puts them back on. Charley gets himself stuck under the dinner table with the dog sitting on his trousers as the guests sit down for dinner. Despite his best efforts to distract the dog Charley cannot get it to move off his trousers so he gets the attention of the butler and talks him into dropping his trousers so that Charley can put them on beneath the cramped confines of the table. Only problem is he does it backwards! He manages to escape from under the table but is seen by the host, who grabs a shotgun. Charley makes his exit via the bedroom window and along a set of phone wires before falling into the open top deck of a passing bus. Charley grabs a passenger's jersey which is on the seat in front of him before the bus pulls up in town to the awaiting Edna. The detective happens to walk by wearing the wrong pants, tips his hat and moves on. Charley then emerges from behind a postbox to reveal he is wearing the bus passenger's jersey as a pair of pants.

Favourite bit
This is a stand out scene. I have a lot of criticism for it (see Trivia comments below) but at the same time it is memorable.

Copyrighted October 17, 1927.
In April 2022 I was finally able to view a complete print of the film, but only half of it is available for home viewing on DVD.
A sequence from the film is included in Robert Youngson's "Laurel And Hardy's Laughing Twenties" (1965).
The film is known as The Way Of All Dress in the UK. It was this version of the film I was able to review.
The fourth film where Edna Marion plays the lead female opposite Charley Chase.
The opening credits on the DVD prints are lifted directly from Crazy Like A Fox and are inaccurate. The credits roll listed on this page (below) are from the UK version and are accurate.
The name of the office manager/party host is Mr. Jones. His name is seen on the door of his office.
Clara Guiol shows up as one of the girls in the office in the opening scene looking to win the job of the stenographer.
When Charley is talking with Edna Marion outside the building, they are next to the Hotel Hunt.
The dog's name is Buster.
When Charley removes the detective's trousers by undoing his belt, he would have had to relieve the pressure on the man's waist which was applied by the belt being loosened. Then, Charley would have had to have taken both legs of the trousers down and got the man to step out of each leg - whilst wearing shoes. Does it not strike the viewer as a bit odd that the detective did not notice that somebody had their hands around his waist, had loosened his belt, had taken down his trousers, made his legs cold, and somehow manages to remove each leg of the pants from underneath each shoe, all whilst the man was standing still? I mean, you cannot take a pair of trousers off unless you physically step out from them, i.e. lifting each leg up from off the ground? That is one stupid detective!
I think it is highly improbable that Charley could catch the leg of the trousers in the doorway, given that the door was closing away from him at the time and the trouser leg was somehow in mid-air at the time! Possible yes, but very unlikely. It's a simple matter of logistics.
When the butler throws the trousers to Charley (when the detective catches them in mid-air), he goes to all the trouble of stretching, rolling them up and then aiming his throw towards Charley. Given that he was standing only twelve feet away, why wouldn't you just walk over to him? I realise this was setting up a gag for the trousers to be intercepted in mid-air by the detective, but in real-life this just doesn't make any sense at all! [see favourite bit]
Edna Marion wears her watch on her right wrist.
My opinion
Delightfully decent Charley Chase comedy. A basic plot which is enhanced by a solid performance from Chase, and a rather timid looking Edna Marion. But that bloody DOG!!

Charley Chase
Edna Marion
Hazel Howell
Mrs. Jones, hostess
Frank Leigh
Mr. Jones, the boss
Tom Dugan
Ellinor Vanderveer
Clara Guiol
Office worker
Al Hallett
Eric Mayne
Dorothy Coburn
Laughing job applicant in office
Elmo Billings
Office boy
Charles Bachman
Charles Lloyd


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

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Smile When The Raindrops Fall by Brian Anthony & Andy Edmonds (book)
Tommie Hicks (help)
Lorenzo Tremarelli (help)
John Carpenter (stills)
Steve Massa (identification of Eric Mayne and Tom Dugan)

This page was last updated on: 08 April 2022