The Joy Rider
Series: Snub Pollard Distribution: Pathé  Director: Hal Roach; Charles Parrott Cinematography: ?
Production: H-83 Type: Silent short Producer: Hal Roach  Editor: ?
Released: 27 November 1921 Length: 1-reel Titles: ?


Harry (Snub Pollard) is driving his car and reading a love letter from his girlfriend (Marie Mosquini). She tells him she "will marry him whenever he gets an automobile" because, according to her father, "car owners make the best husbands - they're never home." So distracted is he by reading the letter that he drives his car into a ditch. He pulls over to the side of the road and a crowd of men gather around to hear of Harry's automobile polish - which removes everything, including the paint! Made from the oil of the root-a-toot tree, Snub offers a stranger a trial of it and the whole crowd begin polishing his car.
His girlfriend, The Fair Juliet awaits his arrival, suitcase in hand at the upper window in her house whilst her father (Noah Young) waits downstairs with tender thoughts of assault and battery. Harry arrives and grabs a ladder to rescue the girl but as he tries to climb the ladder sinks into the ground. All the while, her father is merrily swinging on a swing in the garden (what is it actually attached to?) Harry manages to pass underneath him as he swings (looks like a video game!) but her father catches his daughter and determines her intentions to elope and confronts her. Hiding behind the window, the father entices Harry to climb up to the window on the ladder and then reveals himself with a punch to the face, sending Harry off the ladder and into a pond. Harry dusts himself off and gets back into his car and drives away, taking the hint that he is not welcome at the house. He doesn't realise that his girl has fallen from the upstairs window and landed in his back seat after a struggle with her father!
A despondent Harry claims he will "kill himself and drive straight to the cemetery", but almost gets there prematurely when he is almost killed by a train after he momentarily stops his car on a rail crossing. In the nick of time he notices his girl in the back of the car. Harry takes the car into a nearby garage where the mechanic begins stripping it down. The mechanic then calls over a midget mechanic for a second opinion. A third mechanic insists they will give the car a complete overhaul and with it a bunch of guys and midgets lift up what's left of the car and move it with Harry and the girl still seated in it. It is decided that the car is simply out of gas.
The steam whistle signals lunch time and the workers run off and leave their customers stranded at the garage. The girl's heartbroken father, who has suddenly become an alcoholic, wanders into the garage and fills up a jerrycan with 'petrol' but is then seen drinking it by a suspicious policeman (I think this is William Gillespie?) who then takes him away (the petrol has been substituted with alcohol). Harry pushes his rebuilt car into the same spot and begins filling up with petrol from the same pump. He drives away and the car becomes unstable, crashing through walls, people and telephone polls before veering up the side of a building and smashing through the sidewalk (see favourite bit). In the carnage, Harry drives the car through a supporting beam which drops a priest from his balcony into the back of his car. A stroke of luck and convenience means that the priest can marry the couple there on the spot!

Favourite bit
Snub driving his alcohol-fuelled car around the face of a building at the end of the film is the most memorable moment in the film, without a doubt!

Production H-83 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard.
Copyrighted December 6, 1921.
At least two different sources lists Hal Roach as director of the film. One source lists Charles Parrott as director.

Filming dates
The shop where Snub stops his car to sell the polish has "Southern Counties Gas Company" in the window.
I think Sammy Brooks may be in the scene where Snub tries to sell his oil to the gathering crowd near the beginning of the film, but it's hard to tell.
What the experts say

Snub Pollard
Marie Mosquini
The Fair Juliet
Noah Young
The girl's father
Mark Jones
William Gillespie
Robert Finlayson
Leo Willis
[unidentified character]




Tommie Hicks (identification of Robert Finlayson)

This page was last updated on: 06 March 2017