Huns And Hyphens
Series: Stan Laurel
Company: Vitagraph
Released: 23 September 1918
Type: silent short
Length: 2-reels
Filming dates: circa summer 1918
Director: Larry Semon
Producer: Albert E. Smith
Larry: Larry Semon
Gang member: Stan Laurel
Vera Bright: Madge Kirby
Woman: Mae Laurel
Customer: William McCall
Cafe owner: Frank Alexander
Vera's stepfather: John Rand
Fritz Nasti: Owen Evans


The owner of an American café is after the secret plans of a new gas-mask invention which are in the possession of a woman who is the girlfriend of one of his waiters. When she visits the restaurant where he works, the plan to recover them is put into motion. A group of armed villains storms the building and the papers are retrieved. The boyfriend then becomes an all-out path of destruction to get them back which results in half the building being demolished by a series of violent stunts.

The well-dressed Larry leaves his girlfriend's house and drives in his minature car to work at the American café where he is a simple waiter. As he begins his duty he notices one customer who refuses to acknowledge the national anthem as it is played in the cafe. Two of the waiters confront the man and order him to leave but the stubborn customer instead assaults them both and sits back down. Larry then takes matters into his own hands by serving the customer a drink before smashing the serving vase over the man's head and pulling the table away so that the customer falls onto the floor. Larry then continues to make his feelings known by peeling down a calendar from the wall and making a sail out of it, hooking it to the customer on the floor and placing an electric fan between his legs to blow him away out of the cafe, into the street and down into a drain.
Business resumes with another customer sitting in the cafe eating his soup and drinking a beer. He places it on the table but fails to notice that there is a steady stream of dirty water falling from the ceiling above him caused by a woman on the roof rinsing her washing. The lady then falls through the ceiling and lands on his table. Meanwhile a well-dressed, cigar-smoking gentleman (Stan Laurel) is at the counter stealing hard boiled eggs. Larry sees him and kicks the man in the pants. The man walks away and five small chicks hatch from the shell at the bottom of his trouser leg. The owner of the cafe telephones his spy who is working as a butler to Larry's girlfriend Vera. The butler/spy informs the father he is invited to a ball at the cafe and after Vera pleads with him to go, hoping she will see Larry, he agrees.
They arrive and are shown to a table by Larry who is disguised in a beard. This is ripped off by the owner after Larry assaults a customer in favour of giving his girlfriend a table and she realises that he is not the wealthy man she thought he was. Disgusted with Larry, Vera and her stepfather are led into a back room for their promised party but are then joined by the owner and his staff who demand Vera give back the plans she has in her possession. She refuses, so the owner sticks his hand down her blouse and retrieves them himself.
The butler-spy shows up at the cafe and gets into a fight with Larry when he tries to hold him up with a gun. Larry takes the gun, gives it to the stepfather whilst beating up one of the waiters. Larry and the owner then begin searching for each other by going through a rotating door but cannot find each other. A gunfight/chase begins around the cafe with Larry eventually overpowering everybody (including a rather static Stan Laurel) and bouncing all over the place kicking ass and smashing up the place, knocking down walls and ending up in the street.
The chase ends up at a farm with Larry perched up on top of a barn and fending off the bad guys. Some dangerous stunts with people tumbling down the roof are followed by some equally impressive stunts in the street with Larry and a co-star narrowly avoiding being hit by a streetcar as the whole situation escalates up onto the rooftop of a building. Larry traps the villain on the end of a plank overhanging the street far down below but when he saws through it the guy simply falls down through a window safely and escapes. Larry continues to give chase as the man has the stolen plans in his possession. The man, armed with an umbrella, leaps from a window but Larry jumps onto him and the two of them glide across town before falling through the roof of the cafe where they land on the owner. Larry takes back the plans, hands them to his girlfriend and order is restored.

Favourite bit
Some of the stunts performed by the actors in the barn sequence are truly amazing...... and shocking!

Copyrighted September 10, 1918.
This was the first of three films in which Larry Semon starred with Stan Laurel.
At least one source credits Eddie Baker as a German spy. I think this is wrong and have not included him in the cast list below.
What the experts say
"A dreary first reel is compensated by a frantic finale, with Semon showing his typical agility and a lack of fear for some of the stunts he was famous for. Stan Laurel fans will be disappointed by his lack of involvement in the film." ~ Lord Heath.

Larry Semon
Madge Kirby
Vera Bright
Stan Laurel
Gang member
Mae Laurel
William McCall
Frank Alexander
Cafe owner
John Rand
Unhappy customer/
Vera's stepfather
Owen Evans
Fritz Nasti
William Hauber
Pete Gordon
C.L. Sherwood


Laurel OR Hardy by Rob Stone
Steve Rydzewski (identification of John Rand and Owen Evans)
Jesse Brisson (identification of Pete Gordon and C.L. Sherwood)

This page was last updated on: 03 August 2018