Slapstick Symposium: The Charley Chase Collection, Vol. 2 [DVD]

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Overview

Special Features

  • Shine 'Em Up (1922) 15 min.
  • A very rare comedy from Paul Parrott, Charley Chase's younger brother
  • A Charley Chase Biography (2004) 8 min.
  • special montage about Chase's life, narrated by Serge Bromberg and directed by Eric Lange

Synopsis

Isn't Life Terrible
One of Charley Chase's co-stars in this comic short is Oliver Hardy. The two comedians knew each other from other studios, and Chase brought him to Hal Roach. He also is responsible for Stan Laurel coming to Roach, too. While it is likely that Laurel and Hardy would have wound up at the studio anyhow -- it was the best comedy studio at the time -- it is interesting to note that Chase had a hand in their fate. Chase plays a beleaguered husband who is in desperate need of a vacation. He wants to go camping, but his wife (Katherine Grant) wants to go on a cruise -- so does her lazy mooch of a brother, Remington (Hardy). It turns out that there is a contest, in which whoever sells the most fountain pens wins a cruise, so Charley decides to give it a try. At first he fails miserably; he climbs a huge flight of stairs (the same used in the Laurel and Hardy 1932 short The Music Box), only to be turned away by a housewife (Fay Wray) and attacked by an extremely small dog. But, somehow, Charley manages to win the cruise and he and his family are off -- except they accidentally leave their little girl behind. More disasters and mishaps happen on board the dilapidated ship (Charley mistakes a dinner bell for an alarm and thinks the boat is sinking, for example). Remington's presence also threatens to ruin the trip. But all ends well -- the ship makes it to port, and the couple's daughter has beaten them there. Best of all, the ship's steward (Lon Poff) informs Charley that Remington broke his leg and had to be shot. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Innocent Husbands
Charley Chase stars in this amusing Hal Roach-produced short. Although she has no reason to doubt Charley, his wife (Katherine Grant) is an extremely jealous woman and she's looking for an excuse. She decides to go to a fortune teller to find out the truth, and of course the fortune teller foresees the worst. The wife and seer head back to Charley's home, unfortunate timing since a couple of women from the party across the hall (Kay Deslys and Martha Sleeper) have made their way over there. Charley hides the women with no idea how to get rid of them. The fortune teller holds a seance, and Charley uses the opportunity to pass the women off as spooks. He gets them out of the apartment by draping them in white sheets. When the wife calls on her dead uncle, Charley impersonates him. In the end, the wife promises Charley she will never be suspicious of him again. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

A Charley Chase Biography
His Wooden Wedding
In this silent two-reel comedy, Charley Chase is getting ready to wed the lovely Katherine Grant. But when his jealous rival hands him a note suggesting that his bride-to-be has a wooden leg, he gets cold feet. Instead of getting married he gets drunk and decides to sail to the South Seas and become a beachcomber. The bride and her father go chasing after the steamer in their yacht. Everything is cleared up when they discover that the rival was responsible for the note. Then the bathing-suit clad bride kicks the badguy off their yacht with her very shapely -- and very real -- legs. The film contains a bizarre segment in which Charley looks into the future and sees himself saddled with not only a wooden-legged wife, but also four peg-legged children...and a peg-legged dog! ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Bromo and Juliet
Charley Chase will do just about anything to marry his sweetheart Madge (Corliss Palmer) in this amusing two-reeler. So she promises herself to him -- providing that he play Romeo to her Juliet in the Shakespeare/variety benefit show she's holding. He agrees, though reluctantly, and once he's in costume it's easy to see why he balked -- the tights make his toothpick legs seem even skinnier. With the use of some sponges he gives his legs some shape. But when he has to pick up Madge's inebriate father (William A. Orlamond), it looks like he may never get to the show -- a cab driver (Oliver Hardy) won't let them go until he gets the forty dollars the old man owes him, and when Charley tries to sell some bootleg liquor to raise the money, he's forced to drink it. But after being chased by the driver and a cop and running through sprinklers (making his legs even more ridiculously shapely than before), Charley does arrive -- intoxicated to the point of insensibility. He proceeds to turn the show into an crazed melee -- but instead of being its ruination, he's the hit of the night. Madge is delighted with his performance and tells him, "There were times when I imagined you had really been drinking!" ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Shine 'Em Up
Dog Shy
Stuart Holmes spent much of the 1920s playing villains. He even played them in comedy two-reelers for Hal Roach. Here, he gives funnyman Charley Chase a hard time. Chase has been afraid of dogs ever since he was a little boy, and this causes him no amount of trouble. He is chased into a phone booth where Holmes, as a phony Duke, was making a call. The phone has been left off its receiver, and Charley winds up talking to the girl at the other end of the line -- it's Mildred June, who desperately doesn't want to marry the Duke. Charley decides to help her out and gets a job as a butler in her home. One of his first duties is to wash the dog, which happens to be named Duke. Charley grabs Duke the human, instead of Duke the dog, and mayhem ensues. Eventually the human Duke is revealed to be bogus, and Charley wins Mildred. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

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