One Too Many
Series: Plump & Runt Distribution: Vim  Director: Willard Louis  Cinematography: ?
Production: - Type: Silent short Producer: Louis Burstein  Editor: ?
Released: 17 February 1916 Length: 1-reel


Plump (Babe Hardy) wakes up still tired and uses a water spray over his head to liven himself up, before falling backwards over his bed.  Sleepily, he grabs a note which has been put under his door which informs him that his Uncle John is due to arrive to meet his (ficticious) wife and baby.  Plump panics when he envisions the scenario and seeks the help of a newlywed neighbour across the hall, but all she has to offer is a porcelein dog in place of the baby he requires.
A couple with a small baby argue in their room before the husband storms out, knocking the janitor (Billy Ruge) flying.  The newlywed husband (Joe Cohen) returns to the apartment as Plump leaves.  Back in the hallway, the janitor is attempting to carry a large trunk on his back up the flight of stairs when another tenant is coming down them.  A scuffle takes place before once again the janitor is abused - this time by Plump, who sends him wildly across his room and straight into the bath.  Eventually in his state of panic, Plump offers him $50 to find him a baby, which the janitor agrees to do.  The tenant with the baby drops her child off with a babysitter, barges past the janitor and leaves.  The janitor strolls right in, takes the baby and hands him over to Plump to his delight. Of course, this only solves one half of the problem, and a 'wife' is still required/expected.  The janitor goes in search of the second request, whilst the newlywed husband from across the hall walks into Plump's room and takes the baby.  The janitor propositions another woman into posing as Plump's 'wife', which she reluctantly accepts. Of course, when the janitor returns to Plump's room to give him the good news they discover the baby is no longer there and he is commissioned to find a flock of babies in replacement.
Out he goes in search of renting random babies from unsuspecting mothers whilst the mother-tenant returns to pick up hers from the babysitter only to discover it is not there.  Then it all starts picking up in speed and confusion, as the father comes home, the janitor tries to unload all the babies he has acquired and the husband overhears his wife and child in the room with Plump and jumps to the wrong conclusions.  When all the plans fail, Plump resorts to offering the janitor more money for him to impersonate the baby (!)  All the while the newlywed husband is hiding in Plump's room holding the baby he himself has snatched from the mother across the hall.
Uncle John finally arrives to meet his nephew Plump, his wife and baby.  Oblivious to the scam, the uncle plants a kiss square on baby's mouth.  When the uncle turns away to congratulate Plump, the janitor-baby takes a couple of lugs on a cigar.  The real baby which is close by makes a noise and thinking on his feet, Plump reveals the babys are in fact twins.  In walks the woman whom the janitor has paid off to play the role of Mrs. Plump and introduces herself.  She is soon followed by all the other tenants in the house; the wife, the babysitter and the newlywed.  Plump desperately tries to get his uncle out of the way rather than trying to explain what on earth is going on.  Worse still, the husbands of all the women barge in and everybody flees.  In the mele the uncle leaves too and Plump is left with the janitor still sitting in the baby's cot.  Not sure whether he regards the situation as a success or a failure to be honest?
Pretty dull and uneventful comedy with Billy Ruge making the most of his screen time.  Hardy flaps around without direction and I have to say it does get a bit confusing keeping up with who's who at times!

Favourite bit
In search of a replacement baby, the janitor (Billy Ruge) is asking all mothers in the area if he can 'rent' theirs.  He approaches a black woman who is scrubbing her clothes whilst her small  child sits close by.  He offers her money and she waves him off after accepting the deal.  It's the expression on Ruge's face when he realises that's another one for his collection.  Also made funny by the fact of how he will explain how Plump would require a black child?

Filmed in Jacksonville, Florida.
• No copyright registered.
Filming dates

The film was restored recently and is scheduled for a Blu-Ray release at some point.
This was the fourth film in the series and is the oldest that survives.
Oliver Hardy's real wife, Madelyn is seen in the film as one of the mothers in public.
The bath was full of water when we first see it - which begs the question how long had the water been there, because the story begins with Plump waking up, so the bath could not have been used for a few hours.
When Plump picks up the janitor to place him in the baby's cot, watch Billy Ruge bend his knees and help Hardy's elevation of him.  This is an old trick used by wrestlers to make it appear easy to pick up a heavy man with a show of strength.

What the experts say
"[The film] does give the two comedians a few occasions to work together, yet there is no great rapport between the two.  Rather, we see just two comedians being funny, separately, in the same frame." ~ Rob Stone.

Babe Hardy
Billy Ruge
Billy Bletcher
Babysitter's husband
Edna Reynolds
Madelyn Hardy
Woman on street
Joe Cohen
Roy, the newlywed husband
Florence McLaughlin
Wife/Mother of baby


Rob Stone (help)

This page was last updated on: 29 August 2016