Series: Snub Pollard
Director: Hugh Fay
Producer: Hal Roach
Titles: H.M. Walker
Stars: Snub Pollard, Marie Mosquini, William Gillespie
Company: Pathé Exchange
Released: 14 October 1923
Length: 1 reel
Production No.: B-11
Filming dates: October 2-6, December 13-18, 1922
and January 4-19, 1923; retakes June 11-12, 1923
It's A Gift
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|Our story opens with a "Meeting of Oil Magnates ~ Brokers, Promoters, Financiers ~ and a few Honest Men." being fronted by the chairman Weller Pump (William Gillespie). Outside in the street, a crowd of men are peddling their oil to anyone who they can entice, whilst inside the board room a decision is made to get Inventor (Snub) Pollard to demonstrate his substitute for gasoline to attract customers. Only problem is Snub is lazy and relies on an assortment of self-made inventions to get himself out of bed in the mornings.
These include an alarm clock with a feather attached to tickle his bare feet when the alarm is activated; another is a rope above his bed which is pulled to stop the alarm, and another starts his breakfast by swinging a lever to light a match on a rotating gramophone player and lighting the toaster for him. Hell, he even has a chicken in a cage above the cooker which can drop an egg or two on cue. Top this off with a plastic cow whose tail you have to pull in order to extract milk into his cup of tea and the routine is complete! Even the postman attaches the mail to a piece of string and throws it into the upstairs window for Snub.
The letter informs Snub that his services are required by the Onion Oil Company, which finally prompts him to get out of bed and get dressed (again through using a series of conveniently-placed ropes and clothing.
|Snub pulls a self-made rocket-type vehicle out of his garage and sets off down the road riding in it and using an oversized magnet to attach himself to passing vehicles (probably the film's most famous scene). When the first vehicle takes a sharp turn in the road Snub ends up under a parked car, but not for long. The owners return to their vehicle but as they attempt to pull away, Snub's magnet pulls down the entire frame into the road. He soon attaches himself to another passing car and is off again, passing a policeman and knocking him off a trashcan with his magnet. The cop gives chase on foot but is knocked off his feet by the discarded can and then drops through a manhole in the road which Snub's magnet has lifted up.
Another car (driven by Marie Mosquini) is cruising along in the opposite direction and Snub tags on to her - until he sees her boyfriend in the passenger's seat and then quickly steers off in a different direction. Snub stops off by a park where a man has gotten into difficulty in the small lake. Snub offers a policeman his waterproof shoes and the cop jumps in to save the man, but the cop also becomes stranded so Snub quickly leaves.
Snub arrives at headquarters where he offers his gasoline substitute to a bunch of top-hat wearing execs. They pour the substance into their cars and all drive off erratically before smashing into one another. Having witnessed the carnage, Snub sneaks away from the crash site and gets back into his 'vehicle' and flies away (yes, it apparently has wings!)
The entire film seems like a showcase to demonstrate a few ideas for inventions, with a very thin plot and quite a disappointing climax. That said, it does stand out for the scenes wher Snub Pollard uses a large magnet to latch on to vehicles in the street in order to obtain a free ride.
• Copyrighted December 24, 1923.
• Originally produced as a 2-reel short.
• At least one source claims that Eddie Dunn is the postman. This is in fact Charles Lloyd.
• In the animation of the car being driven across the map of America you can see a string pulling the car.
• Snub Pollard doesn't show up in the film until 2:30, which is 25% into the film! Worse still is leading lady Marie Mosquini who doesn't show up until after 7 minutes (and in a film which runs only ten minutes that is quite shocking). Her screen time is approximately 15 seconds. The man in her car is Noah Young, whose screen time is only a couple of seconds.
• Snub's alarm clock (a feather attached to the alarm which tickles his feet to wake him up) goes off at 7:30am.
• There are sixteen ropes suspended above Snub's bed, each used to make his lazy life even lazier.
• During Snub's car journey we see a policeman behaving inappropriately with a nursemaid by the side of the road. The cop even has a cheek to chase after Snub when the trashcan he was sitting on is pulled away by Snub's magnet.
• The scene in the park with the man drowning in the lake was shot at Hollenbeck Park. Screenshots from this scene can be found below.
• After Snub vacates the park he arrives at the company headquarters, where he is met by two executives. This was shot in front of Hal Roach's Admin building.
• When the cars all collide (on the Hal Roach backlot) there is a man sitting precariously on the roof of one of the buildings (on the left of the screen). Pretty dangerous.
What the experts say
• "Probably the definitive Snub Pollard. We sold tons of 8mm and 16mm prints of this at Blackhawk." ~ Richard W. Bann.
The girl in the car
Weller Pump, oil executive
Man in car
White-haired board member who suggests Snub
|SHOT ON THE LOT
The following scenes were filmed on the Hal Roach Back Lot and are included in the TOUR
(click any image to enlarge)
|SHOT ON LOCATION
(click image to enlarge)
Chris Bungo, John Bengston (location confirmation)
Jesse Brisson (help and assistance; identification of Chris Lynton)
This page was last updated on: 15 October 2019