Series: Charley Chase

Director: Warren Doane
Producer: Hal Roach
Dialogue: H.M. Walker
Photography: Len Powers
Editor: Richard C. Currier
Sound: James Greene

Stars: Charley Chase, Jacqueline Wells, Gertrude Astor, Del Henderson
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 23 April 1932
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: C-7
Filming dates: December 18-22, 1931
Rating: 7/10

In Walked Charley

Available on DVD:

The Henderson's are having breakfast when the doorbell rings. It's mother, who has come to house-sit whilst Mrs. Henderson (GERTRUDE ASTOR) takes her daughter (JACQUELINE WELLS) out to a show later that day. Delbert (DELL HENDERSON) is not having any of it and goes to telephone doctor-friend BILLY GILBERT. He explains that in order to try and prevent his wife from going on yet another trip that he is going to fake a barmy spell and hopes that his wife will call the doctor to come over to the house. Meanwhile, Charley (CHASE) is a salesman who arrives at the Henderson's house to pitch his holidays-to-Bermuda brochure, firstly to Miss Henderson - and then her mother. As Charley is about to leave, Delbert comes prancing down the stairs wearing a robe and acting bizarre. After lighting a pipe that is stuffed with shredded wheat, Delbert leaves and then later appears outside at the front door armed with a broom, much to the amazement of everybody there.
The daughter telephones the doctor, who tells her to give her father a spoonful of olive oil, and to humour him... all whilst a nosey neighbour listens on from outside the conveniently open window that is directly opposite the telephone. The dumb daughter then mistakes the olive oil with liquid soap and attempts to give it to Delbert, who refuses it. However, he agrees to take it on the condition that Charley does too. Charley agrees and the two men go through the motion of tasting the 'olive oil' but both stop short of actually swallowing it. Eventually they go through with it before realising that they just ingested soap and go to wash their mouths out. Dell tries to explain to Charley that he is not crazy whilst soapy bubbles emit from their mouths. As Charley goes to leave he gets flirty with the daughter but Delbert interrupts them to take Charley away to play a game of 'The King's Pond' - a game where he pours water on the floor and then tells Charley to stab the pond with a knife. Yep, not crazy.
So... after Delbert humiliates Charley by using Charley's ass to wipe up the puddle of water on the floor he encourages Charley to get his revenge by having him pull the same prank on somebody else. In walks the mother-in-law. Charley obliges. Charley gets smacked. Charley goes to leave. Once again Delbert pulls Charley away and takes him into the living room to listen to a gramophone record. Charley dresses up with a lampshade as a skirt whilst donning a stupid wig and dances with Delbert much to the bemusement of the stunned onlookers. Afterwards Jackie tries to encourage Charley to tell her father to take a bath, upon doctor's orders. Upstairs they go but Delbert refuses and instead pushes Charley into the already-filled bath (and Charley had time to remove his suit as well?)
Delbert is overheard telling the doctor on the phone about how he has conned his family into thinking he is mad before making his way to the front door as Charley is once again about to leave. Delbert sees a milk wagon with a horse outside in the street and decides to kidnap the animal and brings it into the house. The milkman (EDDIE DUNN) barges into the house (without knocking) and demands his horse back. He is led upstairs and dumped in the bath before getting into a scrap with Charley, where ultimately they somehow manage to switch clothes within a matter of a minute. Policeman HARRY BERNARD arrives and demands to arrest the horse thief, and believing him to be Eddie, takes him away. The film ends with Jackie confessing that her mother slipped out during the commotion and has headed to Bermuda after getting wind of Delbert's fake mental episode. Charley finally makes it to the front door, where this time he leaves! Albeit briefly, as a police wagon pulls up and escorts him away, despite the protests of Jackie who clings on to the back of the vehicle.

Favourite bit
It has to be the "you first" scene where Charley and Dell attempt to take a spoonful of olive oil. Their chemistry is magnificent.

Copyrighted April 11, 1932.
Working titles: "Cuckoo" and "Balmy Days".
The song featured is "Aren't You The Girl I Met The Other Night?"
Despite Delbert's obvious disliking of his mother-in-law, he is still the gentlemen when she arrives, as he stands to greet her and also responds with "good morning".
"Mother" kisses both Jacqueline Wells AND Gertrude Astor on the lips within 30 seconds of each other. She does not kiss Del Henderson, however!
The doctor's phone number is Maine 7123.
When Dell Henderson comes dancing down the stairs why does Charley look at the camera?
After Charley gets smacked by the mother-in-law he goes to leave and walks to the front door. As he does Jackie is holding his hand. Later, after the bathtub incident Charley again walks to the front door this time holding Jackie's arm.
Jacqueline Wells was 17 years old at the time of filming.
When Charley suddenly 'takes a bath' how is it that the water was already in there?

My opinion
In analyzing and reviewing a lot of the Charley Chase films made for Hal Roach, I think I would be safe in saying that Chase's best co-star was not floppy-tits Thelma Todd (12 films together), nor back-end of a bus Betty Mack (9 films together), nor the drop-dead gorgeous Muriel Evans (also 9 films together). No, I would say that DELL HENDERSON was so absolutely perfect in the 11 films he appeared in with Chase. Point in question: IN WALKED CHARLEY (1932), the scene where the two men are attempting to taste a spoonful of olive oil and Dell only agrees to doing it if Charley does it first. They go through the motions together but both chicken out before eventually doing it. Another great scene I recall is from FAST WORK (1930) where Dell poses the question of how men can dance together considering men box together in the ring. The more I watch Dell Henderson the more I am really starting to appreciate just what a great actor he was in those films.

Charley Chase
Jacqueline Wells
Gertrude Astor
Gertrude Henderson,
Jackie's mother
Del Henderson
Delbert Henderson,
Jackie's father
Billy Gilbert
Doctor Raymond
Fanny Cossar
Adele Watson
Nosey neighbor
Eddie Dunn
Harry Bernard
Cy Slocum

CREDITS (click image to enlarge)

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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 Cy Slocum, Fanny Cossar, Adele Watson)

This page was last updated on: 19 June 2024