Series: Charley Chase

Director: James W. Horne
Producer: Hal Roach
Dialogue: H.M. Walker
Photography: Len Powers
Editor: Richard C. Currier
Sound: Elmer Raguse

Stars: Charley Chase, Thelma Todd, Anita Garvin
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 08 March 1930
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: C-29
Filming dates: January 17-24, 1930
Rating: 5/10

Whispering Whoopee

Available on DVD:

Charley owns a piece of property across town that he wants to try and sell so he hires three young women (Todd, Garvin and Brinkman) to put on a memorable party for three influential businessmen in order to impress them and close the deal. The landlord of the building gets a bit inquistive when he sees the women going into Charley's apartment and questions him on it but Charley assures him everything is above board. When three businessmen turn up at the apartment they are replacements for the men who were expected and Charley is forced to improvise. He instructs his butler to take back the drinks he was about to serve the guests and then has to explain the laughter coming from the women upstairs.
When the men ask to meet the women Charley has to run upstairs and tell them the change of plans and encourages them to adapt. Garvin is introduced as the librarian, Todd is from Vassar college, and Brinkman is from Vienna studying music. A game of 'post office' is suggested as a mean to pass the time and Thelma takes Charley away and explains the rules. One person goes outside and then calls a person to come and collect their letters. Or something like that. Thelma calls Mr. Henderson outside first. After some whispering is his ear later, he then calls Miss Garvin. She then calls Mr. Stockdale. Miss Brinkman then calls Charley but then Mr. Holtz objects, saying he hasn't had a turn. All the while the butler (Eddie Dunn) is instructed by Charley to take the drinks he has prepared for the guests back to the kitchen and stay out of sight.
Holtz tells Charley that because he (Charley) is the 'post master' he isn't allowed to play in the game. All of a sudden everbody gets involved with their opinions and their shoving and a big row is on the verge of erupting before the butler calls for dinner to ease the tensions. The guests are all sat down when Henderson inquires to Charley about Thelma's interest in art and the proceeds to give her a compliment which causes Charley to spit out his drink (see favourite bit). Talking of drinks, Charley then finally allows cocktails to be served to the other guests after the butler tells him that he has 'fixed' them. The men all sing a song as the ladies look on bewildered.
It's not long before the drinks go to everybody heads and the guests partake in a merry orgy (well, almost). A fourth lady (Kay Deslys) shows up to make up the numbers of four men, four women as the volume of the party goes up a few notches. This draws the attention of the landlord who is sneaking around in the hallway waiting for the moment where he can complain. Again, Charley tries his best to assure the landlord but the noise just gets louder. The landlord tries to reason with the rowdy guests but they only salute him with three cheers. Mr. Henderson sprays "niagara falls" into Charley's face and then encourages Charley to prank Mr. Stockdale with the same gag. It just gets repetitive and silly after that. Everybody sprays everybody, including the landlord in a final few minutes which just proves they completely ran out of ideas and were told to just make it up on the spot!

Favourite bit
Dell Henderson to Thelma Todd: "Miss Todd, you look like an old Rembrandt!"

This was the fifth film that Charley Chase and Thelma Todd appeared in together.
The song played over the opening credits is Charley Chase singing "Smile When The Raindrops Fall".
When the three women are coming downstairs to be introduced to the businessmen, Charley throws a cover on Dolores because her cleavage is clearly on show.
Mr. Henderson to Thelma: "Miss Todd, you look like an old Rembrandt". Supposedly a compliment from one of the guests.
Charley calls the cocktails he serves to the guests "the mayflower".
The song that Charley sings with the men at the dinner table is "My Rockaway".
When the group are playing the post office game the individuals stand by the door at the bottom of the stairs. The door opens outwardly from the room but we later discover this is in fact the front foor which opens inwardly from the hallway. I think this is a continuity error.
Kay Deslys does well to get her right leg up so high in order to kick the vase out of Dell Henderson's hands.
At 17:34 we hear that famous "gong" sound but for what purpose? It is completely thrown away on an unseen gag and is utterly pointless.

My opinion
It's a basic idea which theatens to become something better but just never manages to find its peak. The dialogue is hard to hear at times and it isn't altogether interesting when you can hear it. The inclusion of Kay Deslys seems pointless.

Charley Chase
Charley Chase
Thelma Todd
Miss Todd
Anita Garvin
Miss Garvin
Dolores Brinkman
Miss Brinkman
Kay Deslys
Miss Deslys
Eddie Dunn
Ricketts, the butler
Dell Henderson
Mr. Henderson
Carl Stockdale
Mr. Stockdale
Tenen Holtz
Mr. Holtz
Edward Dillon
Mr. Richmond, the landlord

CREDITS (click image to enlarge)

Smile When The Raindrops Fall by Brian Anthony & Andy Edmonds (book)
The Charley Chase Talkies 1929-1940 by James L. Neibaur (book)

This page was last updated on: 07 February 2019