Series: Charley Chase

Director: Charley Chase, Harold Law
Producer: Hal Roach
Photography: Art Lloyd
Editor: Ray Snyder
Sound: Warren B. Delaplain

Stars: Charley Chase, Rosina Lawrence, Darla Hood, George Meeker, Dick Elliott, Ben Taggart, Harry Bowen
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 09 May 1936
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: C-39
Filming dates: March 9-25, 1936
Rating: 8/10

Neighborhood House

Available on DVD:

It's 4:49pm and Mrs. Chase (Rosina Lawrence), who is at home with her daughter (Darla Hood) telephones husband Charley at work and reminds him not to be late coming home. However, Charley's boss has other ideas and asks him to stay late to do some extra work. Charley refuses, and hurries home to have dinner so that he and his wife can attend a bank night. After dinner Mrs. Chase accidentally spills some lemon pie on Charley's shoe and he has to go into the kitchen to clean it. Rather than taking off his shoe and wiping it with a cloth, he decides to rest his foot on a shoe stand and attempt to brush it off with shoe polish, but he slips on the pie and ends up with the polish on his face instead.
The Chase's arrive at the event, where $500 is a prize just waiting to be won by a lucky individual. Despite parking next to a fire hydrant, a policeman assures Charley his car will be safe. The family of three go inside the theatre but there are only two seats available when another couple (Baldwin Cooke) 'steal' a seat from them. Charley has to climb over a row of seats (kicking Harry Bowen in the head during the process) and sits in front of his wife. The kid then changes her mind and wants to sit with mommy, so over the top of the seats she goes again, with Bowen taking a knee in the face for good measure. After some fidgiting, Charley forgets his number and has to go out into the foyer to check it in the book. He returns to his chair and recites his number aloud and in doing so distracts all the other patrons who now cannot remember their numbers on account of him talking.
Mary is called onto the stage to draw the lucky number. After picking a random number she instead calls out her father's number insead. The audience are not happy. The manager intervenes and corrects the 'mistake'. It turns out the real winner is.... Mary! The crowd are even less happy than before! As an act of good will, Charley declares a new number should be drawn. 2681 - and the new winner is Mrs. Chase! The crowd almost start a riot as the Chase's leave the theatre in a hurry, with Charley getting a parking ticket just for good measure. The angry mob of theatre patrons follow Charley home in his car, with their horns going at it in overtime. No sooner does Charley get indoors his boss phones from the office to fire him.
The next morning the newspaper headlines with Charley wanting to hold another bank night and offering to give away his money. He arrives at the theatre (notice the Laurel and Hardy posters in the image?) to cheers from the grateful patrons who welcome him back as a hero. That is until he declares that a child from the audience should choose the lucky number and his daughter makes her way to the stage. The crowd disapprove at the idea, and the subsequent idea that the manager should choose the number, given that he is a friend of Charley's. Instead, the judge (Gus Leonard) is called upon. He is ordered to take off his clothes first for fear he may be concealing something up his sleeve. To appease the audience, the judge obliges and draws out the number, which as it happens belongs to Charley's now ex-boss. The crowd express even more disdain, with Charley remarking about how ironic the whole thing is.

Favourite bit
Without a doubt, the best part of the film is when Charley is talking out loud as he remembers his number. In turn this distracts all the other patrons who then cannot remember their numbers on account of Charley. Really funny.

Copyrighted July 8, 1936.
This was the last Charley Chase 2-reel short made by Hal Roach.
Previewed as a feature in 58- and 55-minute versions, recut into a two-reeler.
The theatre scenes were filmed at the Carthay Circle Theatre, 6316 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, California, USA.
Charley's number is "1234".
That little trick pulled by Baldwin Cooke in the theatre to allow his wife to be seated next to him and then her acting all innocent and almost having the cheek to object to Charley's reaction - if that had been me in real life, I would have kicked his ass.
The number Mary picks out is 24689. The number pulled by the manager is 2681 (which belongs to Mrs. Chase). The judge later pulls out 5762.
Late in the film when the crowd are outside the theatre, there are two posters either side of the entrance advertising Laurel and Hardy.
My opinion
It's a wonderful 'spot-the-face' film with so many of Roach's actors in the film. The film has some wonderful scenes, particularly with Harry Bowen being kicked in the head twice, and a great performance from Charley in his Roach swan song 2-reeler. One of his best.

Charley Chase
Charley Chase
Rosina Lawrence
Rosina Chase
Darla Hood
Mary Chase
George Meeker
Adolph, theatre manager
Dick Elliott
Mr. Perkins, Charley's boss
Harry Bowen
Theatre patron
Lester Dorr
Theatre patron
Baldwin Cooke
Theatre patron
Harry Bernard
Theatre patron
Bobby Dunn
Theatre patron
Jack Hill
Theatre patron
Bess Flowers
Theatre patron
Pat Lane
Theatre patron
Ham Kinsey
Theatre patron
Art Rowlands
Theatre patron 8456
Charlie Hall
Usher on stage
Bill Madsen
Usher on stage
May Wallace
Mrs. Wallace
Hooper Atchley
Office worker
David Sharpe
Theatre doorman
Gus Leonard
Ben Taggart
Clancy, the cop
Barney Carr
Bank teller
Frances Morris
Bank clerk
Charles McMurphy
Bank officer
Jessie Arnold
Theatre patron


CREDITS (click image to enlarge)

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Smile When The Raindrops Fall by Brian Anthony & Andy Edmonds (book)
The Charley Chase Talkes 1929-1940 by James L. Neibaur (book)
Movie Publicity Showcase Volume 23: Charley Chase In "Nurse To You" And Other Selected Shorts by Irv Hyatt (book)
Jesse Brisson (identification of Hooper Atchley, Bess Flowers, Ham Kinsey, Charles McMurphy)
Brent Seguine (identification of Pat Lane)

This page was last updated on: 09 May 2023