Series: Charley Chase

Director: Edgar Kennedy, James W. Horne
Producer: Hal Roach
Dialogue: H.M. Walker
Photography: Art Lloyd
Editor: Richard C. Currier
Sound: Elmer Raguse

Stars: Charley Chase, Ruth Hiatt, Christine Maple, Tiny Sandford
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 24 May 1930
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: C-30
Filming dates: February 17-28, 1930
Rating: 8/10

Fifty Million Husbands

Available on DVD:

"A continued story about wives who suspect their husbands ~ ~ Continued since 14 B.C. ~" and so our story begins... Pansy Chase (Christine Maple) calls Charley on the telephone to tell him she will be staying over at her mother's house that evening and suggests Charley go out and see a show. He tells her he has a good book to read and is going to stay in and have a quiet evening. A knock at the door finds a burly Hillary (Tiny) Sandford who is in the neighborhood and wanting to see his old house (Charley's) one last time, so Charley invites him in. A weepy Sandford begins to reminisce of old times he spent there with his wife, whilst Charley tries to hint that his new guest leaves; especially when he starts moving the furniture around to how it was when he lived there!
Sandford then asks to see the bedroom and when Charley catches up with him, he finds Sandford crying his eyes out on the mattress. When Sandford starts criticizing the location of the bedroom furniture and fondling his wife's clothing, Charley tells his unwanted guest that he is taking advantage of his good nature. There is another knock at the door. It's Sandford's estranged wife (Ruth Hiatt), who sells Charley her sob story of how she used to occupy his apartment. She invites herself in and soon begins to find fault with the way Charley has his furniture. A third knock on the door, and a man selling magazines (Harry Bowen) barely gets a word in before Charley launches a verbal tirade upon him over how he has arranged his home! The man quickly leaves! Charley retires to his piano, whilst Mr. Sandford is seen rearranging his bedroom upstairs. Shortly afterwards, Sandford returns, only to be confronted with his wife at the bottom of the stairs and demands to know why she is in Charley's apartment. Chase and Sandford square up to one another but fortunately the telephone ringing stops it from escalating further. Well, not quite.
Sandford turns to his wife and tells her that "a good slap in the face" will do her good. She agrees, and slaps him! The argument is overheard by Chase's wife on the other end of the phone, who makes her way home immediately. Sandford declares he is going to end it all and asks Charley for a gun. Charley is only too happy to oblige him.
A gunshot is heard from upstairs and Charley rushes up with Sandford's wife - false alarm. He was testing to see if she cared enough to investigate. Charley comforts Sandford's wife downstairs just as his own wife walks in and catches them. Now it's Charley's turn to threaten suicide. He first considers a cut-throat razor but then rips the blind instead to give the impression to the others what he has done; they simply laugh out loud. Another knock at the door. This time it's police officer Edgar Kennedy who is investigating reports of a gunshot. He is soon sent on his way as Charley, his wife and the Sandford's agree to keep quiet for a moment, all sitting on a couch together before it collapses (legs everywhere!) The Sandford's argue over the broken couch, and Charley accidentally knocks a large vase down onto Sandford's head. After Kennedy the cop pays one last visit to the apartment to ask everybody to keep the noise down, Mrs. Sandford tells the landlord across the hall, Mr. Shipman (Edward Dillon) that she is no longer in need of his services, as Mr. Chase has reunited her with her husband. He angrily grabs an axe and charges at the Chase's, misses and ends up falling through their window. The crashing sound brings back the cop, who once again has missed all the action!

Favourite bit
The whole film is just great, but the look on Charley's face when he hears of how the woman used to occupy his apartment before she was separated from her husband. What follows is just hilarious.

Copyrighted November 30, 1930.
The French version was called No 'ume de Pipe!
The opening dialogue from the film is "Morningside 1642, please." This is Charley's phone number in the film. I had to listen to it three times before I could understand what Christine Maple was saying, on account of her soft, squeaky voice.
In the initial meeting between Charley and Tiny Sandford, Sandford says that Chase doesn't know him -- but they had appeared together 5 times before this film was made; most notably, Sandford played the manager of the theatre in Movie Night (1929), as he ejected Charley and his family at the end.
Towards the end of the film when Mrs. Sandford asks Mr. Shipman for her cheque back, the song playing on the soundtrack is "Smile When The Raindrops Fall".
The cheque is dated June 14, 1930 and is for $5,000 - payable to Benjamin Shipman. "Second National Bank of Elmira" is also printed on the cheque.
Edward Dillon's character is "Benjamin Shipman". This was a real person; Stan Laurel's lawyer in real life.
My opinion
Fantastic! What a great film, a great storyline and Tiny Sandford in magnificent form as the dejected husband who has a tendency to rearrange other people's furniture. Simply magnificent comedy!

Charley Chase
Ruth Hiatt
Mrs. Sandford
Christine Maple
Mrs. Pansy Chase
Tiny Sandford
Hillary Sandford
Edgar Kennedy
Officer Kennedy
Edward Dillon
Benjamin Shipman
Charlie Hall
Harry Bowen
Magazine salesman
Jean DeBriac
Hotel guest
Evelyn Burns
Hotel guest
Cy Slocum
Hotel guest
Hotel guest

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)
Jesse Brisson (identification of Jean DeBriac, Evelyn Burns, Cy Slocum)

This page was last updated on: 24 May 2023