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In his earlier short "Crazy Like a Fox" (and its later remake "The
Wrong Miss Wright), Charley Chase pretends to be insane in order to get
out of an arranged marriage. Here, Charley plays an innocent travel
agency employee who has to deal with a husband who is playing that same
trick to keep his wife and daughter from going to Bermuda without him.
It's not as huge a success as those other two shorts or as unified, but
it still has plenty of laughs.
While Chase ends up in his usual number of humiliating and bizarre situations, this is somewhat unusual among his comedies in that he doesn't do anything but show up to precipitate them, and the real protagonist is the father that Dell Henderson plays. Hence, I suppose, the title. Henderson is fine and a funny sight prancing around in his absurd robe, but Charley is better. I think he's especially good in his character work here, combining his "nance" persona with slow-building frustration on an Edgar Kennedy level and the smooth talk of a salesman.
They have a great bit together in which they each try to get the other to taste a spoonful of olive oil first, and when it turns out to be soap by mistake (I don't know why this family keeps olive oil in the bathroom), there is an opportunity for an amusing scene using some charming early animation on film. Billy Gilbert has a small supporting role, which is nice, and it almost seems strange to hear him speak in his natural American accent. It also includes perhaps the weirdest musical number of any Charley Chase short.
The ending feels a little tacked on but is fun nonetheless, and one very odd shot seems to suggest bestiality. A very funny entry overall, even if Chase did the "faking crazy" story even better on a couple of occasions.
Dell Henderson's wife and daughter (the last played by Julie Bishop as
she made the transition from child actor to ingénue) are off to
Bermuda, leaving Dell with his mother-in-law. He objects to their
abandonment and pretends to be crazy to forestall their leaving, when
in walks Charley with their steamship tickets.
Dell was in a dozen of Charley's sound shorts -- he had directed Charley in one Sennett short in 1934 -- and frequently played crazy, leaving Charley to comic befuddlement. This one is clearly based on Charley's 1926 short, CRAZY LIKE A FOX and they get on like a comic house on fire. They sing a duet, they blow bubbles and if it's not one of Charley's best sound shorts, it's filled with Charley's usual fine comic bits.
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