"You Bring the Ducks" is the first I've seen from the set of short subjects that Hal Roach produced starring Irvin Cobb, a well-known writer of rustic humor. Cobb, not originally a comedian or actor, was, I suppose, chosen to star as he was a well-known and -liked figure with a distinctive appearance. An older, larger man, Cobb delivers most of his dialogue very slowly to no particular comic effect. The chief impression he gives is one of not really acting for the camera but simply being himself while it is rolling. This works a little better for a great performer such as W. C. Fields than it does for Cobb. When he is called upon to do some deliberate "acting" it looks stilted, out-of-place and way overplayed.
The material he is given here is also not the best that the Hal Roach creative team ever devised. Essentially, after an overlong sequence in which everybody wakes up in the morning, Irvin is going to go fishing with the Governor in an attempt to get appointed to a position. For some reason, his wife and nephew maliciously do their best to make him as miserable as possible and ruin his trip. Irvin's response is to attempt to lock his nephew in a closet for the duration of the excursion.
There are a few good gags in here amidst this strange ill-will, but a surprising number of them fall flat, including anything to do with a dog acting cutely human-like. Some will be interested to note that there are some sequences combining animation with the live action, but these are relatively forgettable. It seems the Roach creative didn't really know what to do when presented with a star such as Cobb, and the result was not one of the studio's lesser comedy shorts.
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