The Heckler  
16 February 1940
Columbia Pictures
sound short


Director: Del Lord  Associate producers: Charley Chase, Del Lord, Hugh McCollum  Screenplay: John Grey
Cinematography: Henry Freulich  Editor: Arthur Seid


Charley is an annoying spectator in the crowd during a tennis match, calling out insults to the players, to the chagrin of the other fans around him in the stands.  Charley's shouting causes one of the players to lose the match.  The game ends and a trophy presentation is about to be made by baseball's Green Sox batter Ole Margerine (Bruce Bennett) but Charley's continued heckling from the stands causes Ole to drop the trophy, breaking it.
Later, Charley is at a baseball game, barging his way into the crowd in order to find a suitable seat.  Spectators around him are quickly annoyed with his rude behaviour.  A pipe-smoking spectator (Monte Collins) is seated next to Charley and offers Charley some tobacco for his pipe.  Charley then pulls out the biggest pipe you've ever seen and gladly accepts the token.  Stunned, the gentleman then offers Charley a book of matches to light it - and Charley uses all of them!
If that wasn't rude enough, Charley has a punctured inflatable cushion and decides to patch it by ripping off a plaster from a man's neck sitting in front of him.  Charley's enthusiasm continues as he cheers on the game to the point of shaking his bottle until it explodes all over the other fans in his vicinity.  Charley then discards a sticky sweet into another fan's toupee.
The mishaps continue, as the man sitting next to Charley (Collins) has an ice-cream knocked into his pipe by Charley before it is passed along to another fan (Vernon Dent), who in returns shoves it into Charley's face.  Charley then uses the empty ice cream cone as a horn, which he blows loudly at the baseball players in the game.
As luck would have it, the batter hits a ball into the stands and Charley grabs another man's (Bud Jamison) hat to catch it, but the ball tears through it and rips the top off.  It's just relentless mayhem!  Once again, Charley manages to distract Ole (the same guy whom he caused to drop the tennis trophy earlier) by shouting obscenities to him on the field.  Play continues and Charley jumps up to cheer only to find when he sits back down the guy next to him (Dent) has sat on Charley's hot-dog.  Charley calls over the vendor and orders another hot-dog, which is passed to him via a row of spectators.  Charley returns it and demands more mustard.  Naturally, the mustard is spilled by Charley onto a lady's dress.  Not to worry, Charley simply feeds the hot-dog, sans mustard, to a crying baby in front of him.  The ball game continues and Charley continues to goads Ole into not catching the ball... and once again, the player fails to catch the ball.
Effectively, Charley's antics cost the Green Sox the game, which draws the attention of two goons in the crowd.  They figure that if Charley's behaviour can influence the outcome of a ball game then they may have some use for him later on in order to make some money on the next game.
The overnight train journey down to Cincinnati sees the two crooks proposition Charley with their plan which Charley accepts.
At the hotel, Charley interrupts the manager's (Don Beddoe) team talk for the team, by swapping cigars with the boss (both end up exploding, with each man thinking he'd pulled one over on the other) and with Charley remarking that he smells something.  When the manager asks what it is, Charley replies, "your team!"
The manager and his star player enter Charley's room whilst he is asleep and put some ice on his exposed (by them) chest to ensure Charley catches a cold which would affect his vocal chords for the game.  A trip to the doctors to cure the problem proves futile and Charley is forced to go to the ball game dressed like an eskimo.  Unfortunately, Charley's voice is broken and he is unable to call out any distractions to the players.  The two goons pull out guns and threaten to shoot Charley if he doesn't deliver for them.  Charley calls their bluff, the screen goes back and two gunshots are heard off-camera.

Favourite bit
Charley Chase plays a character who is an absolute pain the ass in this film, but his utterly disrespectful behaviour is amazingly funny and so off the wall that you cannot hate him!
One particular scene is when the cigar-smoking Charley is advised by a stranger seated next to him at the baseball game to instead smoke a pipe on account of the cigar stinking up the place.  Charley obliges the man's request and pulls out an over-sized pipe and then accepts the offer of tobacco and a whole book of matches from the unsuspecting gentleman.  It's the funniest piss-take you could imagine and the results are hilarious.

•Filmed October 27-31, 1939.
•This was Chase's 18th (of 20) film for Columbia.
Jack Mulhall is credited for providing a voice-over for the film but I am not sure which character this is.  There are three possibilities: the commentator at the tennis match at the beginning; the black baby during the baseball game or Charley's false voice during the doctor's sequence near the end.
Did you notice?
•The aerial shot of the baseball stadium is of Yankee Stadium.
After the ball game Charley announces his intentions to attend the ball game in Cincinnati.  Then we cut to a train rounding a bend at high speed (obviously sped up).  There is no way a train could take a turn like that going so fast... it would derail.
The two men enter Charley's hotel room without knocking whilst Charley is talking in his sleep.  A bit rude, isn't it?
When the two men put ice on Charley's chest the film cuts to a close-up shot.  This would have been necessary to miss the natural flinch Charley's body would have made in reaction to the ice on his skin.
Charley arrives at the second ball game in a Capitol Cab.
The second ball game is supposedly in Cincinnati yet the same stadium shot is used for both games.

Charley Chase
Eric Wilton
Tennis spectator
Bess Flowers
Tennis spectator
Eric Mayne
Tennis spectator
Dorothy Vernon
Tennis spectator
Bruce Bennett
Ole Margarine
Dorothy Comingore
Ole's girlfriend
Robert Sterling
Trophy presenter
Bert Moorhouse
Man at trophy presentation
Jack Hill
Baseball spectator smoking cigar
Al Thompson
Baseball spectator
Robert Williams
Baseball spectator
Kenner G. Kemp
Baseball spectator
George Gray
Baseball spectator
Bud Jamison
Baseball spectator
Monte Collins
Baseball spectator with pipe
Vernon Dent
Baseball spectator with hotdog
Bert Young
Baseball spectator with plaster
Heinie Conklin
Baseball spectator with toupee
Charles Dorety
Libby Taylor
Baseball mother
George Morrell
Baseball spectator
Richard Fiske
Stanley Brown
Sammy Blum
Train bartender
Don Beddoe
Green Sox manager
Tom Hanlon
Announcer with trophy
John Ince
Beatrice Blinn
Baseball fan (mustard victim)
Chuck Callahan
Baseball spectator
Claire Rochelle
Nurse Shapely
Ned Glass
Hot dog vendor

(*educated guess by Brent Seguine)


Smile When The Raindrops Fall by Brian Anthony & Andy Edmonds (book)
The Charley Chase Talkies 1929-1940 by James L. Neibaur (book)
Bob Conte (identification of Yankee Stadium)
Brent Seguine (help and information with identifying some actors)
Richard Finegan (7 stills)
Jesse Brisson (identification of Charles Dorety and Claire Rochelle)
The IMDb wrongly lists several actors for this film.

This page was last updated on: 02 October 2019