Strange Innertube
Series: All Stars w/The Taxi Boys
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 17 December 1932
Type: sound short
Length: 2-reels
Production: T-3
Filming dates: July 28 - August 3, 1932
Director: Del Lord
Producer: Hal Roach
Photography: Len Powers
Editor: Richard C. Currier
Sound: James Greene
Cabbie: Billy Gilbert
Cabbie: Ben Blue
Hercules: Charley Rogers
Diamond Joe's moll: Yola D'Avril
Diamond Joe: Richard Cramer
Taxi Academy professor: Bud Jamison
Butler: Frank Austin

At the Black & Blue Taxi Cab Company, the candidates are given a simple test to qualify them as taxi drivers. They are asked what to do if their cab was parked in front of a fire hydrant and saw a policeman coming. 'Benny' Blue takes centre stage and makes a complete fool of himself (as usual), but it's Charley Rogers who gets the answer correct. Well, sort of. A mad dodgems (bumpercars) mele ensues and two cabbies are catapulted out of the upstairs window and down onto the sidewalk below.
On the docks, the cabbies are cleaning their cabs when a customer hails for one of them. A mad rush involving every single cab then takes place as they all rush towards him. Thinking he has picked up the fellow, cabbie Billy Gilbert takes off in his taxi before realising he is carrying fellow-cabbie Charley Rogers. Ben is approached for a ride but he spends all day trying to open the passenger door for the couple and subsequently loses the fare.
A shifty-looking couple (an almost-human looking Richard Cramer, who even SMILES) arrive at port on a ship. He is Diamond Joe, a smuggler with a ruby, which he conceals inside a packet of cigarettes before slipping the carton into the jacket pocket of Ben Blue. The suspicious customs officer recognizes Joe and takes him away to be searched but not before Joe tells his French-speaking wife where he has hidden the jewel. She follows Ben out into where he has his taxi parked and attempts to search his pockets but is unsuccessful in finding the ruby.
Joe's wife sees her husband hide himself in a large crate on the dock but the baggage handlers load another crate on top of it. She then offers cabbies Billy and Hercules a fare if they can deliver the crate (with her husband in) to her house. They accept the task whilst she takes her own cab home with Ben. Billy and Hercules spend an eternity tring to use a crane to hoist up the relevant crate on the dock before it falls down on Billy's head and spills its load of girdles. Trapped under the fallen crates, Billy sneezes and sends Hercules flying down off the top of the crates and into the sea below.
  The two cabbies finally arrive at the house of the French woman, who is held up with her gangster molls and a creepy-looking butler. Ben is running around the house trying to escape/hide from something but is pulled into a trap door by an unseen assailant. Billy and Hercules bring the trunk containing Joe into the house. Joe cuts a hole in the side of the trunk with a knife and prods Hercules in the rear with it. He then holds Billy's hand as Billy pulls the trunk along the floor. Billy realises the hand coming from the trunk and runs away scared as Hercules runs upstairs into a bedroom where Ben has disguised himself as a chair. Naturally, Billy sits down on it and when it starts moving, Billy runs and jumps out of the window - head first into a barrel where Hercules had just landed himself. It's all a bit too much when Ben Blue joins them in the barrel as well! The three men head for the front door only to find it locked. One loud sneeze later and Billy Gilbert blows it down and they all run out into the night.

Favourite bit
Right at the beginning where the cabbies are riding out-of-control dodgems with people flying around all over the place. Looks like quite a fun thing to do. It also made me laugh too - which is extremely difficult for anyone to do during a Taxi Boys film!

Copyrighted October 6, 1932.
Released as part of the "All Star" banner, this was the second film in the Taxi Boys series.
The title of the film is a pun on "Strange Interlude" which had been a Broadway hit and an MGM movie just before this.
Ben Blue joined the cast in this film and would continue to appear in the series until its conclusion. Interestingly, it was the only time in the series where Billy Gilbert was billed above him in the opening credits.
The opening scene has the taxi drivers reciting the song "Good morning to you", the same song sung by the prisoners in James Finlayson's class in Laurel & Hardy's "Pardon Us".
When Billy Gilbert is 'driving' the taxi with Charley Rogers in the back of it, believing him to be a passenger, they exchange dialogue but their mouths do not move. The audio was obviously re-dubbed later due to the sound of filming outdoors being hampered by bad acoustics.
A French-speaking woman trying to have a conversation with a dim-witted dick-head like Ben Blue is just a recipe for disaster in my opinion.
With the laws of gravity being flouted so blatantly, it is obvious that the crates above Billy Gilbert when he falls down on the dock are being suspended by ropes from above so as not to crush him.
When Billy Gilbert sneezes and topples over Charley Rogers, sending him into the sea, Charley is facing the opposite way to the shot that precedes it.
When Richard Cramer is inside the trunk he pulls Billy's coat and then grabs him by the hand. I mean, why?
Can somebody please explain to me how Billy Gilbert jumps head-first out of the window and yet lands on his feet into the barrel?

What the experts say
"I'm embarrassed to admit that during my first viewing of this film I did actually find it mildly entertaining! On the other hand there were certain scenes I found bloody stupid as well." ~ Lord Heath.

Billy Gilbert
Ben Blue
Charley Rogers
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - Yola d'Avril
Diamond Joe's moll
Richard Cramer
Diamond Joe
Bud Jamison
Taxi Academy professor
Frank Austin
Jack Hill
Ham Kinsey
Ernie Alexander


The following scenes were filmed on the Hal Roach Back Lot and are included in the TOUR


Jim Dallape (Back Lot images and locations identification)
Geoff Collins (historical information)
Jesse Brisson (identification of Ernie Alexander and Ham Kinsey)
Jim Kerkoff (lobby card)

This page was last updated on: 10 July 2018