Series: Charley Chase
Director: Gus Meins
Producer: Hal Roach
Photography: Hap Depew
Editor: Richard C. Currier
Sound: James Greene
Stars: Charley Chase, Billy Gilbert, Muriel Evans, Eddie Dunn
Released: 04 February 1933
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: C-13
Filming dates: September 20-26, 1932
NOT ON DVD
Mr. Gilbert, President of Atlas Products Inc, storms into his office furious with employee Charley, whom he says takes everything too literally. Gilbert orders his secretary Miss Layton to tell Charley to come in and to 'shake a leg'. Charley enters, shaking his leg. Gilbert tells him that he is expecting an important client soon and wants to order something to eat before he arrives. "I'm so hungry I could eat a horse". Charley: "How do you want it cooked?" Gilbert tells Charley he wants him to 'take a hike' to their San Francisco office and take charge after the manager absconded with $20,000. So Charley sets off to hitchhike, as instructed. He, and another 50 or so men all lined up on the same stretch of road all wanting the same thing!
The President's daughter (Muriel Evans) tells her father that she is heading out to Denver for a trip so he tells her to keep an eye out for Charley along the way. Charley continues to walk along the wooded road limping in order to attract sympathy from any motorist who may stop for him. One motorist drives past and simply throws him a crutch, which Charley tosses away, hitting a hitchhiker (Charlie Hall) and knocking him over. When the hitchhiker gets to his feet he is picked up by two women who stop by in their car. Things look up for Charley when another motorist stops by and offers to pick up the 50 guys hoping for a lift. Charley jumps onto the car before it collapses completely, leaving everybody in the road. Muriel, who is driving along the road (with rear-projected backdrop) when she spots a guy matching the description of Charley; a tall man with glasses, who is seen with the stolen money from her father's San Francisco company. She gives him some railroad tickets but he jumps into her car saying he will ride with her instead. They stop off at an ice cream parlour along the way where Muriel asks the stranger to fetch her an ice cream. As he gets out of the car she throws his belongings at him and drives off.
Muriel parks her car in a clearing, over the top of a sleeping Charley. He awakens to see her shapely legs from under the car as Muriel quickly gets into a bathing costume (an absolutely MUST-SEE scene!) The very UN-shy Muriel realises she has caused Charley's face to be covered in oil from him being under the car and takes him down to a lake to clean him up. Whilst they chat (and we the viewers are transfixed with Muriel's now-wet bathing suit), the thief catches up to them and steals the car leaving Muriel and Charley to hitchhike. As good luck would have it, they are picked up by a kind motorist, but their journey is short-lived when he gets his car stuck in a ditch in the road. Charley gets out and tries to push the car but only ends up with a face full of mud from the spinning back wheels. When he tries a second time the car rolls into a large puddle and becomes almost submerged.
The ever-helpful Charley somehow manages to find a guy with a tractor (you know, just hanging around conveniently) and gets him to help tow the car our of the puddle. After Charley attaches a cable to the rear of the car the tractor pulls off the car's entire rear axle. To make matters worse a motorcycle cop happens to pass by and reprimand the driver for 'parking' in the ditch. He goes to issue a ticket but the driver cannot remember his license plate on account that it is now under the water. No problem for the cop, who dives head-first into the water to find it. Later, and with the car owner's car seemingly fixed (?), Charley and Muriel spot her car parked outside a blacksmith's and with the stolen money inside it. Charley gets out, finds the crook and punches him out right in front of the sheriff, who then arrests the crook. Muriel admits she was wrong to have mistaken the crook for Charley and tells him that someone ought to give her "a good spanking". I am so glad the film ended here because I was getting too excited!
Seriously, this is one of the easiest decisions I have ever had to make. Muriel Evans. In a wet bathing suit. Easy. Wow. Just WOW.
• Copyrighted January 23, 1933.
• The poster for the film bills Muriel Evans name under the title with Billy Gilbert third; but the credit roll seen in the opening of the actual film reverses the billing, giving Gilbert second with Evans third.
• The first line of the film is spoken by Dorothy Layton: "Oh, the boss is coming!" With Dorothy Layton it's easy to see why! Okay, that was a bit rude.... moving on....
• When Gilbert is in his office you can see a mock-up building out of the window which has the words "Union Oil" written down the side of it.
• According to Gilbert, Charley Chase is a "tall, dark haired, simple-looking fellow. With glasses."
• Charlie Hall has the briefest of cameos at around 5 and half minutes into the film as a hitchhiker who lifts his hat as Charley walks past him before Charley throws his crutch at him.
• When Muriel parks her car over Charley she twice goes to take off her top before the film shows a cutaway shot of Charley. Damn, I hate you Richard Currier!
• Muriel takes Charley down to a beautiful, isolated lake and tells him to "slam her" (well on first hearing it that is what it sounded like!) Unfortunately, Muriel doesn’t say “slam me”, but rather “Salam me”, though in such a way as to lead us all (including Charley) into thinking she says “slam me”. "Salam” is a common greeting in Arabic (the equivalent of Hebrew’s “Shalom”), and Muriel made it quite clear when they were introducing themselves that she was the “Queen of Sheba”. And you can’t get any more Arabian than that. So in her “guise” as the Queen of Sheba, she was playfully commanding Charley to address her properly by saying “Salam”. No salaciousness here, I'm sad to say. It seems obvious to me now that she was directed to say it the way she did for the sake of setting up the joke, but as she keeps repeating it, you can hear it evolving into two syllables, which is how she should’ve said it in the first place. But, you know, for the sake of a joke, etc. However, Muriel does has the last line of the film where she admits she needs a "spanking".
• The bridge that Charley rides on top of the truck under has a clearance of 12 feet (it is stated on the bridge).
• This was the fifth film where Muriel Evans played alongside Charley Chase.
What the experts say
• "If there is one excuse to see this film then you don't have to look beyond Muriel Evans wearing a very revealing swimsuit. Which gets wet. Which then becomes see-through. Charley is a bit of a simpleton who gets just a bit too irritating at times, but just try taking your eyes off Muriel. I know I couldn't. She surely has to be THE most beautiful actress who ever appeared in a Hal Roach comedy?" ~ Lord Heath.
|James C. Morton
Helpful driver's passenger
|SHOT ON LOCATION
Smile When The Raindrops Fall by Brian Anthony & Andy Edmonds (book)
The Charley Chase Talkies 1929-1940 by James L. Neibaur (book)
Stan Taffel (poster)
Rick Greene (lobby cards)
Jesse Brisson (identification of Evelyn Burns)
Matthew Brydon (information relating to the "slam me" line!)
This page was last updated on: 10 August 2019