The Charley Chase Collection
Directed by Leo McCarey
Charley Chase, the man who elevated situation comedy to a hilarious art form in six two reel comedies
Welcome to the funny and frenetic world of Charley Chase, the top box office comedian in short subjects in the mid-to-late 1920s. It is a place of madcap adventures and wild misunderstandings. In a series of one and two reelers at the Hal Roach Studios, he elevated the style of situation comedy to an art form.
In 1923, after a decade of working in front of and behind the cameras, he was persuaded to start work on a new series of one reel comedies. From the first release, Charley Chase was a hit with the public. "America's New Joy Boy" filled theaters with laughter from coast to coast. Chase discovered that by starting with a simple predicament that any average person could get into, the public could identify with him. Then, gradually, by building a once plausible situation into a fiasco, he could take them to a riotous conclusion that is unbelievable, yet, somehow conceivable. Charley Chase was the master of the comedy of embarrassment.
His collaboration with director Leo McCarey (The Awful Truth) proved to be fruitful. Their 45 films together showcase two comic geniuses in perfect tandem with each other. After decades of languishing in film vaults, several of their best appear in this collection.
Charley Chase was the proverbial comic with good looks, who almost always got the girl (he usually had her at the beginning) He was what the '20s were all about. Carefree, frivolous, wild and woolly, he was the "Good Time Charley" that we all wished we could be. Stan Taffel is a three-time Emmy Award-winning actor and film archivist
- Mum's The Word
1926 24 Min.
Charley poses as a butler for his newly remarried mother until the suspicious new papa can get used to his "son".
- Long Fliv The King
1926 25 Min. Having to marry within 24 hours or she won't become Queen, a Princess (Martha Sleeper) looks for any man that will say yes. Fine performances by Oliver Hardy and legendary Jewish comic Max Davidson as Charley's valet, Warfield. Watch for the food tasting sequence when Davidson refuses to eat the ham.
- April Fool
1924 12 Min.
What happens when you tell someone that they can't trick you on April Fool's Day? They do anything to get you, and that's the gauntlet poor Charley lays down to coworker Noah Young in this breezy one reel comedy.
- Mighty Like A Moose
1926 23 Min.
A couple with outrageous facial features transform themselves so even they can't recognize each other Not just one of Charley Chase's best films, one of the finest two reel comedies made in the entire silent era! Part of the National Film Registry
- Crazy Like A Fox
1926 25 Min.
When two capitalists arrange a marriage between their children, the groom-to-be conjures up a scheme to make his prospective bride (Martha Sleeper) and in-laws think he's nuts! A tour de force for Charley as he delivers one of the funniest crazy man routines ever filmed. Oliver Hardy plays an innocent victim of Charley's escapades.
- All Wet
1924 12 Min.
While driving to meet a train, Charley gets into some car trouble. That's putting it modestly. One of the best Chase / McCarey one reel outings, this film was reworked and borrowed from by virtually every silent film comic.