The Slapstick Symposium: Charley Chase Collection [DVD]

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Crazy Like a Fox
Oliver Hardy -- who would soon join up with Stan Laurel to make a winning comic team -- has a walk-on in this Charley Chase two-reeler. A father (William V. Mong) wants his daughter (Martha Sleeper) to marry the son (Chase) of an old friend. Since she has never met the young man, Martha decides to run away, and at the train depot, she meets Charley, who is on his way to meet the girl his father told him about. He doesn't realize Martha is his intended, and vice versa, and they fall in love. To get out of the arranged marriage, Charley decides to act crazy in front of the girl's parents. The uncomprehending father obligingly tries to match Charley's nutty behavior. Eventually Charley realizes that these are the parents of the girl he loves, and he becomes sane rather quickly. Originally, Hardy had a much larger part, in which he was shoved into a fountain a number of times, but all that landed on the cutting room floor. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

All Wet
Long Fliv the King
This Hal Roach two-reeler is not one of Charley Chase's best efforts. It's notable only because it's one of the approximately ten percent of silent films known to have survived, and it features Oliver Hardy, before he teamed up with Stan Laurel, in a bit role. Princess Helga of Thermosa (Martha Sleeper) is on a shopping expedition in New York when she receives word that her father, the king, is dead. She can't become queen, however, unless she finds a husband, and quick. She makes her choice, Charley, primarily because he is about to be executed for a crime of which he is innocent. But after the new queen has gone back to Thermosa, Charley is pardoned, and with the questionable help of lawyer Warfield (Max Davidson), he goes to Thermosa to be with his wife. But first he has to deal with Prime Minister Hamir of Uvocado (Fred Malatesta), who was hoping to marry Helga himself. Hamir plots to have him killed, but Charley, Helga, and the ever-present Warfield manage to make their escape. Hardy's small role was the assistant to Hamir. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Mighty Like a Moose
In one of his best silent films, Charley Chase plays homely Mr. Moose, whose buck teeth make him a laughingstock. But Mrs. Moose (Vivien Oakland) isn't any better off -- her nose really does rival a moose's. Each of them decide to have plastic surgery and surprise their unsuspecting mate. The results, however, are so radical that when they meet on the street they don't recognize each other. Flush with their brand-new looks, they begin a flirtation and plan to attend a party together. Both of them rush home to get ready, carefully avoiding the other. But the party they go to is raided and they find their photo splashed across the front page of the paper. Back home, Charley finally realizes that the girl he's been flirting with is his wife and he hypocritically decides to teach her a lesson for going around behind his back. He still has a set of bucktooth dentures (the dentist gave them to him for "identification purposes") and he puts on a wild, quick-change show for his wife in which her husband and "lover" fiercely battle it out in front of her. Mrs. Moose is properly mortified until she notices that the newspaper also has a "before and after" ad featuring Charley's dental work. Then she really lets him have it. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Mum's the Word
Charley Chase was at the peak of his silent film popularity when he made this two-reel farce, which was quite risqué for its day. Chase's employer, Hal Roach, had recently begun hiring over-the-hill dramatic artists to perform in the comedies made at his studio, and 1910s vamp Virginia Pearson appears as Chase' mother (keep in mind that Pearson was but five years older than her "son"). Charley's mother has recently remarried, and when he comes to visit, she pretends that he's the valet until her new husband (Anders Randolph) "gets used to him." On the train to his mother's, Charley met a pretty girl (Martha Sleeper) and is happy to discover that she has been hired as the new maid. Because of the mother's strange behavior with the new valet, her husband starts to think the two are having an affair; meanwhile he appears to be having a fling with the maid. In the end the truth comes out -- not only is Charley the woman's son, the maid is the husband's daughter. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

April Fool
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