Series: All Stars w/Irvin S. Cobb

Director: Hal Yates
Producer: Hal Roach
Writer: Irvin S. Cobb
Photography: Kenneth Peach
Editor: William H. Terhune
Sound: James Greene

Stars: Irvin S. Cobb, Kathryn Clare Ward, Benny Baker, Frank Darien, Snowflake
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 03 July 1934
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: B-8
Filming dates: June 1934
Rating: 3/10

Speaking Of Relations

Irvin, the captain of the Belle Of The Bends is at home bottling wine from a keg and singing so badly that his dog starts whining. However, when Irvin gets called away by his sister Hattie who is complaining about having seen the no-good Zak Buckner going fishing, he fails to see that the cork tap has popped out and leaking the contents onto the floor. The dog is clever enough to plug the hole in the barrel with his tail to prevent any further leaks. Irv's annoying nephew Benny asks for directions to Irv's house from a guy and thanks him by shaking hands (which turns out to be a false hand used for comical affect). Despite Hattie's objections Irv tries to sneak off with Zak to go fishing, crawling under the window to avoid being seen but she catches him and calls him into the house (see favourite bit). Inside she introduces Irv to nephew Benny who has just arrived. Irv isn't impressed with what he sees.
Benny likes to play practical jokes and after offering Zak a fake cigar he constantly interferes with Irvin's table etiquette by removing his napkin and then bending the spoon in his cup of coffee so that Irv spills it all down himself. Outside as Zak sits waiting for Irvin to rejoin him he starts drinking from the liquor jug but the dog keeps stopping him. Benny has rigged the breakfast table so that every time Irv tries to eat his pancakes the plate suddenly lifts up off the surface. Benny has attached a balloon underneath the plate attached to a piece of string which he inflates at the right time. Irv sits there getting more and more confused.
In what becomes a rather excruciating scene to sit through Irv asks Benny if he saw the plate move and Benny tells him that there must be something wrong with his liver. Benny warns Irv about feeling so well and then warns him that some people who say that just drop down dead. Benny gets Irv to close his eyes before shoving a lily into his clothes and "wondering what you would look like?" Heidi brings in more breakfast but as the three of them sit there at the table Zak tries to grab Irv's attention from the window. Irv points with his thumb to signal him but Benny raises Heidi's attention that Irv is acting oddly. Benny calls Irv "an indoor hitchhiker". Zak whistles from outside but Heidi reminds Irv that he is not going fishing but in an unexpected twist Benny offers to go with Irv.
Benny is soon up to his tricks again when he deliberately snags Irv's fishing line and then catching his cardigan in the hook. Irv is so mad he snaps his fishing rod, with a little assistance from Benny who then attaches a dummy hand to a stick and lowers it into the water. Irv sits back down next to Zak and shows him the hand sticking out of the water. The fishing warden comes by and initially is satisfied that Irv hasn't over-fished the river but that is until he sees Benny's haul and then threatens to fine them. Irv talks him down and explains that Benny is a "feeble-minded relation" of his and the warden relents. To show his gratitude Irv helps himself to one of Benny's cigars and offers it to the warden as a peace giving gesture. Naturally the cigar explodes in the warden's face and Irv has to hand over the money for the fine. In an attempt to get his revenge Irv tries to shove a big stick into Benny from behind a bush but ends up shoving his sister into the river instead.

Favourite bit
The scene where Irv and Zak try to sneak underneath the window with their fishing gear to avoid being seen.

Copyrighted July 3, 1934.
This was the last 2-reel short film in the All Star series to be released. From this point on, all films released under the All Star banner were made into features.
Although technically this film was an "All Stars" film, a brief series featuring Irvin S. Cobb followed but it didn't last long.
Irvin calls his dog Tony. What a stupid name for a dog.
When Irvin tells Zak to crouch and crawl under the window so as not to be seen by his sister even the dog crawls along on its belly!
As the film progresses Benny addresses Irv as Lieutenant, then Colonel and then General. Gaining in rank each time.
Frank Brownlee has a small role as the fishing warden near the end. This would be his last film for Hal Roach.
My opinion
Here's an example of starting with a plot that has absolutely nothing and then stripping it down so that is ends up with even less. The star of the film is the dog!

Irvin S. Cobb
Kathryn Clare Ward
Hattie (Irv's sister)
Benny Baker
Frank Darien
Zak Buckner
Fred Snowflake Toones
Frank Brownlee
Fishing warden

CREDITS (click image to enlarge)

(click any image to enlarge)

Dave Stevenson (print)

This page was last updated on: 12 September 2021