Series: Charley Chase
Director: James Parrott
Producer: Hal Roach
Titles: H.M. Walker
Editor: Richard C. Currier
Stars: Charley Chase, Martha Sleeper, Oliver Hardy
Company: Pathé Exchange
Released: 19 June 1927
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: B-20
Filming dates: February 14 - March 1, 1927;
retakes March 21, 1927
Available on DVD:
The father (WILLIAM BURRESS) reads in the newspaper that Charley, a self-made millionaire will be in town. He is eager to have his daughter (MARTHA SLEEPER) hook up with him, so when a potential suitor comes to the house to see her, the father forcibly gets rid of him and tells his daughter she ought to marry a guy like Charley instead. He shows her the newspaper, but she reads about a sale on linen sheets and rushes off out to buy them.
Her actions catch the eye of a motor cop (EUGENE PALLETTE), who chases her down the street. She zooms past Charley who is about to get into his car with his golf clubs, but he spills them and all of his balls all over the road, causing the cop to crash his bike. Charley helpfully picks up the cop and together they drive off in his car in pursuit of the daughter - who continues her reckless and speedy journey towards town, knocking over a parked car (with CHARLIE HALL underneath it) in the process.
Finally, the daughter parks her car but no sooner does she get out of it is she stopped by the cop. When she notices the handsome Charley she makes eyes at him, and the embarrassed Charley asks the cop to forgive her ("she was only doing 70mph on the wrong side of the street, give her a chance"), he says. Martha explains that she was on her way to the store for the sale, and asks the help of her two new gentlemen. The store will only sell one pair of sheets to a customer, so she asks them to each buy a pair for her.
Charley and the cop agree to her request and enter the linen store, amongst the 50-strong stampede of women customers. It's absolute chaos in there, with fights breaking out, women getting groped and poor Charley being assaulted. Charley tries all sorts of techniques to make his way to the sheets, through the over-zealous crowd of women. One way is to tickle his way through, but that only gets him so far before he and the cop end up in a tug-of-war with some sheets and Martha. After an eternity of struggling, Charley, Martha and the cop emerge from the shop with their sheets, but each wearing the others' hats.
A patrol cop spots the traffic cop in a poorly dressed state and takes his badge from him. The traffic cop then turns to Charley and offers him a fight. Not wanting to do it in public, Charley, along with a passerby (DICK GILBERT) advance to a nearby alleyway to commence. Unfortunately, the cop takes a blind swing at Charley and instead hits the pedestrian, who then chases the cop away.
Martha's father sees his daughter in town and tells her he is looking for a chauffeur. Charley is standing in an employment agency doorway, dressed for the part and is hired on the spot. Back at the house, the father receives a ransom note and is told to meet 'Big Bill' (OLIVER HARDY) at a nightclub to pay it. The father asks for Charley's help in retrieving the letter which is being used as part of the blackmail and they head off for Coffee Joe's.
When they arrive the doorman tells them that no men can enter the premises without being accompanied by a woman. A trip to the nearby costume department solves that problem as Charley dresses the father up in women's clothing. They are then allowed into the building (access is down a slide!) The two men are prompty told to leave when the manager notices the father's wig has come off. A policeman then chases the men down the street but somehow Charley manages to evade the cop by ducking back into the clothes shop and coming out with a mannequin.
He is then allowed into the club, using the mannequin as his girl and pretending she is drunk. Charley then dances around the floor with it attached to his legs, bringing about some strange looks from the other patrons. One of them is Big Bill, the blackmailer. The half-drunken Bill flirts outrageously with the mannequin (a great piece of comic timing from Chase, using the doll to good effect) and when Charley sits down with it in a booth, he disguises himself by sitting behind it and summons over Bill to his table. Bill orders two beers, and the two men sit and drink them (Charley is hiding behind the mannequin and pulling off the illusion pretty magnificently it must be observed!)
Bill pulls out the ransom letter and tells the mannequin (whom he still thinks is a woman) that the letter will make him rich. He reluctantly allows 'her' to see it, and no sooner as he hands it over, Charley grabs it and puts it down 'her' dress. Bill reacts and receives a punch in the face for his troubles, knocking him out cold.
Just then, a party of guests arrive at the nightclub which includes Martha. She takles her position behind a curtain to observe Charley, the mannequin and Bill. Bill comes to and demands the letter back, and when the woman (mannequin) refuses, he shoots her dead! Bill panics until he realises the woman he has 'killed' is actually only a dummy. Everybody in the joint then begins to launch bottles at Charley, who defends himself with a bass drum and then a banjo. Charley grabs Martha (dressed as the mannequin) and carries her out of the building before dumping her into a warehouse window. The angry mob give chase, led by Bill.
The girl's father, who has almost be forgotten by this point, shows up again being chased by the cop from previously. He finds Charley by a taxi and repeats his desperation for the letter. Charley thinks he has dumped the mannequin into the back seat of the cab and reaches into its dress to get the letter, only to find it isn't the mannequin at all, but rather, Martha. She punches Charley out of the cab and doesn't take too kindly to being fondled!
One of the best moments is Hardy's double-take when he sees the mannequin in the nightclub, and Charlie Hall's expression when he finds himself in the middle of the road with his car. But my award for favourite bit goes to the scene where Charley is sitting behind the mannequin in the booth with Oliver Hardy. The timing and camera angles are just spot on.
• Copyrighted May 18, 1927.
• There are 33 intertitle cards (plus 3 adverts) in the film. They are shown below.
• At the beginning of the film there is a newspaper article which refers to Charley Chase as being a bootblack on the streets of his home town of Baltimore. Chase really was from Baltimore.
• If you look at the road surface when Martha Sleeper pulls into her parking spot in town, followed by Charley Chase's car, you can see the exact same markings made by the cars in a previous take.
• There is a Piggly WIggly opposite the road where Martha Sleeper parks her car in town. The Culver Hotel is in the background.
• The woman who hits Charley on the floor in the linen store shows a bit of upper leg as she gets up.
• The ransom letter demanded of the father is for $10,000.
• Charley and the father pop into the Eastern Costume Company store in order to dress the father up as a woman.
• When Charley tries to smuggle the mannequin into the nightclub, watch how the doorman is laughing.
• Kay Deslys smokes a cigarette.
• Charley wears a ring on the little finger on his left hand.
• Oliver Hardy's character is a real nasty piece of work. Although we know it's a mannequin, he shot her in the head - believing it to be an actual woman. That is cold!
• When Martha Sleeper retrieves the blackmail letter from inside the mannequin's dress, Martha puts her hand over the dummy's eyes.
• This delightful comedy is very funny, but I feel it also has a few loose ends as well. Recommended.
Big Bill's girl
Man under car
Linen store manager
|(DVD) CREDITS (click image to enlarge)
|INTERTITLES (click image to enlarge)
|SHOT ON THE BACK LOT
(click any image to enlarge)
|SHOT ON LOCATION
(click any image to enlarge)
Laurel Or Hardy by Rob Stone (book)
Smile When The Raindrops Fall by Brian Anthony & Andy Edmonds (book)
Jim Reid (reconstructed title card)
This page was last updated on: 19 June 2023