Day 3 recap of the SEE YOU IN THE ‘FALL’ BLOGATHON

Well, there were only three submissions today. Happily, we can report a drop only in quantity, not in quality, as we present the



(To read any of the Day 3 entries that you missed, just click on the appropriate blog’s name to get linked to it.)


Silver Screenings takes a look at Laurel & Hardy’s Foreign Legion misadventures in The Flying Deuces.


Silent-ology adores a good love story — even if it’s just Buster Keaton courting Roscoe Arbuckle in drag, in Good Night, Nurse!


And forgive me for stealing my own spotlight, but I just had to honor the 71st anniversary of the release of the short subject Gents Without Cents, in which The Three Stooges showed us just how slowly they turned.

And if you missed the first two days of our blogathon, here are links to our previous recaps:

Day 1 recap * Day 2 recap


Now, then…keep us bookmarked, because we still have one day left in this blogathon tribute to physical comedy. And as for those eight blog entrants who haven’t yet submitted their entries: Don’t try to hide from us…we know where to look!


Charlie Chaplin in A FILM JOHNNIE (1914) – Inside-the-studio humor


The minimal plot of A Film Johnnie is that Charlie, as an outsider, sneaks inside the Keystone Studios during work hours and generally wreaks havoc on the movies being filmed.

It’s a cute enough premise for a one-reeler, but the movie is an obvious sign that Chaplin still had a way to go in his movie apprenticeship. It wouldn’t be long before moviegoers were wishing they could sneak onto a studio lot to see him at work.

Best gag in the movie: Roscoe Arbuckle (as himself) meets Charlie, sizes him up, and surreptitiously gives him a handout.

Roscoe Arbuckle and Charlie Chaplin THE KNOCKOUT (1914) – Doesn’t have as much punch as it should


The Knockout is not a Chaplin short per se. It is also not a knockout by any means.

It’s primarily a vehicle for Roscoe Arbuckle. He plays “Pug,” a genial sort who, for reasons I still haven’t sorted out even after seeing the movie, gets talked into a boxing match against a prizefighter named Cyclone Flynn (Edgar Kennedy).

Chaplin has a very brief role as the fight’s referee. The running gag of Chaplin’s appearance is that, by being in the middle of the fight, he endures the brunt of the punches. Mild as that sounds, it’s probably the funniest thing in the movie.

The movie’s finale involves the Keystone Kops and makes even less sense. Chaplin would work the boxing ring himself to far greater effect years down the road, in City Lights (1931).

Charlie Chaplin and Roscoe Arbuckle in TANGO TANGLES (1914) – A turn for the worse


Lapses of logic abound in Tango Tangles, even more so than in the usual Keystone film.

The most startling surprise is that Chaplin, Ford Sterling, and Roscoe Arbuckle do their clowning without their usual costumes. It’s a dramatic demonstration of how much their given personas add to the comedy. Without the get-up, they could be any three men horsing around.

Sterling and Arbuckle play the band leader and a clarinetist, respectively, of a dance-hall band. The movie begins with Sterling getting romantic with the woman he thinks is his girlfriend, only to have Arbuckle come around and assertively tell Sterling, “She’s mine. I saw her first.” (Sexual politics in 1914: A girlfriend was apparently determined by who saw her first, and the girl has no say in the matter. I wonder how different some of these comedies would be if the girl voiced her opinion of these strutting macho men.)

Chaplin plays a slightly drunk dance-hall customer who decides to declare his possession of the girl as well, while the other two men are playing in the band. In a bonafide Chaplin film, Charlie would make short shrift of Sterling, but Sterling leaves his post at the band, fights with Charlie, and actually gets the upper hand, topped off by his doing the arms-spread-in-smug-triumph gesture that Chaplin eventually made his own.

Sterling’s victory is short-lived, though; Roscoe comes out onto the dance floor as well and re-asserts his girth over Sterling’s. Running away to lick his wounds, he runs into Charlie again, and even though both men have lost the girl for good, Sterling still wants to finish his fight with Charlie. Why? Because there’s still footage to tick off on this one-reeler, I suppose.

Seeing the trio in their dandified streetwear, you can’t help thinking that maybe Tango Tangles was a filmed rehearsal for another, far superior short.

Charlie Chaplin and Roscoe Arbuckle in THE ROUNDERS (1914) – A potent combination


Film history tells us that because of his assertive ways, Chaplin bumped heads with a lot of veterans during his first months at the Keystone Studios. It would appear that Roscoe Arbuckle was not one of them. Here and elsewhere, he and Chaplin are a delight together.

Here, they play drunks coming in separately from a night on the town. As it happens, they have rooms across the hall from each other, and both have wives waiting to nag them about their drinking. When the nagging gets out of hand, soon the wives are fighting each other instead of the husbands, while the husbands discover they go to the same lodge and find that as good as an excuse as any to continue their nightly binge together.

After seeing how well Chaplin and Arbuckle work together here, it’s a pity that Keystone’s keystone, Mack Sennett, didn’t try to pair them again. The movie’s only debit: It’s a one-reeler. Just when it starts to get really interesting, it ends.