Series: Charley Chase @ Columbia

Director: Del Lord
Producer: Jules White
Story & Screenplay: Al Giebler, Elwood Ullman
Photography: Lucien Ballard
Editor: Charles Nelson

Stars: Charley Chase, Ann Doran, Bess Flowers
Company: Columbia Pictures
Released: 29 April 1938
Length: 2 reels
Production No.:
Filming dates: January 19-22, 1938
Rating: 7/10

The Mind Needer


Charley is in bed fast asleep when his wife wakes him abruptly. She isn't pleased to realise that Charley has forgotten to get the groceries she asked him to do. He then confesses that he had forgotten where they lived when she asks him where he was the night before. She tears into him over his forgetfulness, but he gallantly tries to defend himself. She breaks the uncomfortable atmosphere by offering him a gift that she had bought him - some shirts. It's for their wedding anniversary, which Charley seems to have (unsurprisingly) forgotten about.
Charley - "Say, what's the idea of getting me a present?"
Mrs. Chase - "Don't you know what day this is?"
Charley - "Day? Er, don't tell me now... it's Tuesday!"
Mrs. Chase - "Yes it's Tuesday, but it's also another day"
Charley - "Wednesday?"

Mrs. Chase isn't impressed, and storms off and slams the bathroom door. Charley complains that he cannot find his pants, but realises he's been wearing them all along as he takes off his pajamas. He then proceeds to removing several pins from his new shirt before trying it on.  After a few more clumsy incidents, including pinning his shirt to the seat of his trousers, Charley sits down at the breakfast table. Distracted with trying to read his newspaper, he mixes his coffee with the sugar bowl and attempts to eat a rolled-up piece of paper in place of a bagel.
Things get worse... the toaster sets fire to his newspaper. Charley panics and wraps up the entire content of the table with the tablecloth and disposes of it out of the window. His wife demands he go to work immediately! After forgetting his shoes, Charley is introduced to the next door neighbour, Mrs. Ryan (Bess Flowers). In a mix-up on the doorstep, he says goodbye to her with a kiss - right under the nose of Mrs. Ryan's husband. Charley's wife is straight on the telephone to her brother Ben (Charley's boss), complaining about him forgetting their anniversary and threatening divorce. The brother talks to Charley and warns him to snap out of it or else he will end up being divorced. Ben gives Charley some presents to take home for his wife and warns him that if he forgets to do so he won't have a wife!
Charley phones his wife at home (he even remembers his telephone number!) to tell her the good news. She continues to be unimpressed. Charley arrives home and wastes no time in getting freshened up, so he takes a bath. Naturally, he has gone into next door's house by mistake. Mrs. Ryan (the neighbour) realises the mistake when her husband comes home and finds her talking to whom she thought was him. She faints, as Charley prepares to get out of the bath in the next room, but not before he sees the newspaper headlines; "Jealous husband kills neighbor!" The husband hears Charley call out to his wife from inside the bathroom, and investigates... with a gun! Charley makes a quick exit through the bathroom window and is quickly chased by the husband. Charley evades him by jumping through an open window into his own house before landing on a trolley and smashing into the living-room wall. All ends well when he gives his wife an anniversary present - before falling into a faint in her arms.

Favourite bit

This was the eighth film made by Charley Chase with Columbia.
Working titles: "The Numb Skull" and "Numb Skull Number One".
Remade by Columbia as "Mopey Dope" with Harry Langdon in 1944.
The events of the film take place on February 12th.
When we first see Charley, he is in bed asleep with his glasses on. Who wears glasses in bed when they sleep?
Charley keeps his pipe in an ashtray on the bedside cabinet.
The list of groceries that Charley was meant to buy included eggs, butter, bread and sugar.
At 2:32, Charley Chase appears to fluff his lines when he says, "Why, before I married you I was considered a very eligible bachelor". Listen how he stumbles on the word 'eligible'
When Charley throws the contents of the table out of the window in the rolled-up tablecloth, it includes the electric toaster. Given that the toaster was plugged into a wall socket it is unlikely he could have done this without first taking the lead out of the wall. We do not see any such action.
Charley's house is next door to Mrs. Ryan. When they meet on the doorstep, the numbers above the door read 223, and 224.
When Charley says goodbye to his wife, he accidentally kisses the neighbor (as scripted). But in that quick moment, she reacts by pursing her lips to receive the kiss. This would indicate that she knew what was about to happen. If this happened in real life, I doubt the woman would have offered the mutual exchange of a kiss because she would not have been expecting it.
Apparently, forgetting your wedding anniversary is justifiable grounds for divorce, according to Mrs. Chase.
When the husband drops his wife on the floor for the first time, she seems to bang her head quite hard.
Watch when Charley takes a flying jump through the window of his house at the end. He lands on a trolley and smashes hard into the wall. The whole house shakes, indicating that the wall was false.
There is a scene between Charley Chase and John T. Murray which makes a big deal about the date February 12th. It’s kind of eerie that John T. Murray actually died on – you guessed it -- February 12th, in 1957.
What the experts say
"Delightful comedy." ~ Lord Heath.

Charley Chase
Charley Chase
Ann Doran
Mrs. Dolly Chase
Bess Flowers
Mrs. Ryan
Beatrice Curtis
Ben's secretary
Vernon Dent
Mr. Ryan
John T. Murray
Ben Johnson


(click any 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)
Richard Finegan (still)

This page was last updated on: 01 October 2020