Series: Max Davidson

Director: Hal Yates
Producer: Hal Roach
Titles: H.M. Walker
Photography: George Stevens
Editor: Richard C. Currier

Stars: Max Davidson, Viola Richard, Thelma Hill, Spec O'Donnell, Edgar Kennedy
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 04 February 1928
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: D-7
Filming dates: November 17- December 1, 1927
Rating: 6/10

Dumb Daddies

Available on DVD:

"The story of a boy who wanted to be a great actor"... The son (Spec O'Donnell) goes to a hotel room for a rehearsal of a play he has been practicing. When there, an actress (Thelma Hill) is waiting to act out a scene with him. Papa (Max Davidson) goes down the hall peeking through the keyhole of each door until he stumbles upon the room where his son is. He overhears his son saying that he would kill his father in order to win her love. Just then another woman (Viola Richard) enters the room and lays claim that the boy is the father of her newborn child. This is all overheard by the shocked father who is standing outside the room. Thelma tells her lover to show his love for her by getting rid of the other woman. As the boy and Viola enter the boudoir, a dummy drops in. Papa thinks it is a body and envisions his son being hanged for killing the other woman. He is even more nervous when he hears his son reveal that his father's gun is the murder weapon. He hears his son saying that he will hide the "body" in his father's store before leaving the hotel.
Pursued by the father, the son takes the dummy, wrapped in a sack into his father's store. He is seen by two policeman who follow him. The cops talk the son into handing over the gun he has whilst the father sneaks in and takes the dummy (still believing it to be a dead body) away. He is seen by a suspicious cop and sneaks into a basement with the body. A service elevator at street level brings him up to the sidewalk where a crowd gathers to gawk at him with the mysterious sack he has over his shoulder. With quick thinking, he announces he is the laundry man.
The father tries to make a quick escape down the street with several nosey bystanders following him out of curiosity. A policeman also follows, and when a leg (complete with shoe) is seen by the onlookers and the cop protruding from the sack, the cop gives chase. The father runs into a back yard and quickly throws the sack over a fence but the rope holding it gets caught up in his neck. A playful dog on the other side of the fence tugs at the sack and effectively strangles the father in the process. Another cop (Edgar Kennedy) stops by and asks if the man has seen anyone with a sack? The father is unable to give a straight answer on account of the dog tugging on the sack on the other side of the fence, which is pulling on the rope around his neck. Finally when the cop's back is turned, the dog pulls so hard it flips the father through the fence.
The feisty dog runs off with a leg from the dummy, with the father chasing the dog, followed by the cop chasing the father. Meanwhile the cops have brought the son to the station for questioning when the father crawls in through their open window with the sack. The son pulls the dummy out of the sack, which effectively lets the father off the hook. The dog drops the leg on the sidewalk just as a lady (Dorothy Coburn) exits a telegraph office and slips over on a banana peel outside. Seeing the leg on the floor, the lady asserts that it belongs to her and that she is now incapacitated. She does eventually get up and realise that it is just a dummy leg and goes to get into a taxi. With one leg raised on the car and one standing on the sidewalk, she is approached by a drunken man who thinks the leg on the ground belongs to her and tries his best to attach it. She clobbers him, then gets her real leg pulled by the father, who drags her out of the taxi. Mistake.

Favourite bit
The very last shot of the film has Max Davidson dragging Dorothy Coburn out of the taxi by her legs. What a great shot! (Well, if you are a pervert, like me it is!)

The film is available on DVD, however it is not complete. The start of the film is told through several title cards which describe the action as depicted in the shooting script, interspersed with stills. The total running time, including these titles runs for 14 minutes 41 seconds. Given how much time this section of the film takes up in these cards, I would suggest that only approximately half of the film exists in the DVD print.
The drunk who tries to hand Dorothy Coburn the leg at the end of the film is played by Charles Dorety. This was his first of many film appearances for Hal Roach.
A small part of the film is included in Robert Youngson's "Laurel And Hardy's Laughing Twenties" (1965).
When the two cops see that Spec O'Donnell has a gun, would it not have been their instinct to disarm him one way or the other immediately rather than talking him into handing it over? I guess they did things differently back in 1928.
What are the odds that the dummy's leg would be wearing the exact same shoe as the woman who slips over on the sidewalk? Come on, seriously!
At around 10 minutes 5 seconds into the film, Edgar Kennedy, for some reason, turns and decides to hock a loogie.
My opinion
A series of gags involving a mannequin's leg and a few bizarre situations. Some great location shots, and a very unashamed Dorothy Coburn. It's a shame that the whole film isn't available for viewing.

Max Davidson
Viola Richard
Thelma Hill
Spec O'Donnell
Edgar Kennedy
Charles Dorety
Dorothy Coburn
Woman with cloche hat
Evelyn Burns
Bob Minford
Charles A. Bachman
Otto Fries
Chet Brandenburg
Delivery man with crate
Jack Hill
Delivery man with crate
Gene Morgan
Jeanne Morgan


INTERTITLES (click image to enlarge)

(click any image to enlarge)

(click any image to enlarge)

Acknowledgements: (still)
Tommie Hicks (identification of Charles Dorety)
Steve Rydzewski (information on Jeanne Morgan)
Jesse Brisson (identification of Bob Minford, Evelyn Burns, Chet Brandenburg, Jack Hill)
The identification of Otto Fries is my own, backed up by Richard W. Bann
Steve Wright (trivia)

This page was last updated on: 04 February 2023