Series: Max Davidson

Director: Clyde A. Bruckman
Producer: Hal Roach
Titles: H.M. Walker
Photography: Floyd Jackman
Editor: Richard C. Currier

Stars: Max Davidson, Spec O'Donnell, Lillian Elliott, James Finlayson
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 15 October 1927
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: D-2
Filming dates: June 13-22, 1927;
additional scenes August 2, 1927

Rating: 6/10

Call Of The Cuckoo


The Gimplewarts are wanting to sell their house and so Papa places an advert in the newspaper. Advertised as an eight-room modern house with new furniture and fixtures, surely they can't go wrong? Unfortunately for the Gimplewart's, their neighborhood is full of crackpots: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson and Charley Chase, who are not shy about acting a little odd within public view of the house! A prospective buyer arrives to inspect the house and Papa enthusiastically tries to pitch the sale whilst the client notices the unusual activity from the neighbors out on the lawn and thinks better of it. Their bizarre behaviour continues when shaven-haired Stan places an apple upon shaven-haired Ollie's head and threatens to shoot it off using his crossbow.
Having witnessed the zany behaviour, the prospector is told by the Gimplewart son that they are all crazy and is the reason why they want to sell the house. Too much honesty and a lack of tact scare off the would-be buyer. No sooner does he leave does a second interested gentleman arrives at the house. He proposes a straight swap for his house with no questions asked. The deal is done. The family arrives at their new home, which from the outside looks wonderful; but they are soon to understand that looks can be very deceiving. Firstly, the screen door on the porch falls off, followed by the doorknob coming off in Papa's hand. Papa then has trouble with the lights in the house whereby every time he pulls a chord to turn them on a light from a different room lights up! He turns on the light in the bathroom which activates the shower. The inevitable happens and he gets soaked. He drips all over the kitchen floor only to reveal the tiles to painted on.
Papa also notices the lino on the floor is not tacked down. His attempts to move it result in the whole thing curling up into a roll. Papa calls for assistance and has his boy stand on one end of the roll as Papa unrolls the lino back across the kitchen floor, but of course the son doesn't quite catch the gist of Papa's idea and repeatedly follows him, which unravels the lino behind him. In the end Papa grabs a conveniently-placed hammer and tacks and secures the lino to the floor. Papa takes a cigar break and goes to light it off the stove only to find a spray of water emit from it. Mama decides (for some strange reason) to move the piano to the other side of the room only to see it roll back to its original resting place on the slanted floor. Papa fetches a spirit level and places it on the floor and then watches as it slides away!
A group of housewarmers arrive to welcome in their new neighbors whilst Papa goes upstairs to take a bath. At the dinner table the guests help themselves to chocolate cake as water from the bath filters through the ceiling and onto the food. The bath eventually collapses and the water pours out onto the floor. The guests all hurry into the sitting room where two boys begin kicking and slapping each of the other's fathers. Then the dads get involved as their sons go at one another. This leads to the two mothers taking pops at one another until an all-out brawl develops until the front room is filled with people fighting one another. Papa comes downstairs to witness the destruction of his new home taking place in front of him. He quickly moves a lamp and places it on top of a radio and then offers the telephone to one of the feuding fathers, who rips it out of the socket and launches it as the other father. He ducks and the lamp gets broken. Chairs are smashed over heads and the piano, with a mind of its own, takes its last journey - through the wall and into a parked car and completely wrecks it. Suddenly everybody vanishes (some unexplained editing?) and Papa remarks that nothing could possibly be worse than this carnage? The crazy neighbours they originally moved away from turn up and declared they have just moved in next door!

Favourite bit
The Gimplewart's house is a complete joke. Nothing is secured to anything, the floors are uneven, the electric, gas and water supply are all mixed up and to demonstrate just how bad the ground is Max Davidson places a spirit level down to see the extent of the problem. It's so uneven that the tool slides off along the floor.

Copyrighted October 12, 1927.
Many sources often mis-spell the title as "Cuckoos". The title card clearly says "Cuckoo".
When Stan shoots the arrow into Ollie's pants you can see the fishing line attached to it.
The house the Gimplewarts move into is number 1313.
According to the gossipy neighbours, the troubled house was built in two days.
The problems with the house:
-the screen door falls off; the doorknob comes away; the front door is stiff; faulty lighting; lightswitch in the bathroom turns on the shower tap; tiles on the kitchen floor are painted on; the lino on the kitchen floor is not secured and rolls away; the kitchen taps are filled with gas rather than water; water comes from the stove on the cooker; the living room floor is on a slant; the door numbers fall off the wall; the bannister rail collapses; the bath breaks; a sliding door is cut in half; a curtain rail falls down.
How convenient was it that a hammer and tacks would be sitting in the kitchen unit just waiting... and that Papa knew exactly where to look to find them, considering it was his first time in the house?
The word 'Reliable' is on the kitchen oven.
Freeze-frame technology allows us to see that Max Davidson is wearing a body suit or a vest when the bath collapses. He is not nude.
Before the piano rolls through the wall you can see the patched marks on the wallpaper where it had previously been rehearsed and put back together.
What the experts say
"Average comedy with some clever ideas." ~ Lord Heath.

Max Davidson
Papa Gimplewart
Spec O'Donnell
Gimplewart's son
Lillian Elliott
Mama Gimplewart
Stan Laurel
Crazy neighbor
Oliver Hardy
Crazy neighbor
Charley Chase
Crazy neighbor
James Finlayson
Crazy neighbor
Charlie Hall
Crazy neighbor
Frank Brownlee
Prospective house buyer
Charles Mekain
House buyer
Leo Willis
Husband #1
Lyle Tayo
Wife #1
Edgar Dearing
Husband #2
Fay Holderness
Wife #2
Jack Levine
Son of party guest
Andy Shuford
Son of party guest



(click any image to enlarge)

John Carpenter (stills)
Peter Mikkelsen (4 stills: D2-10, D2-11, D2-15, D2-17)

This page was last updated on: 18 April 2019