Elmer owns a gas station out in the California desert. Soon he has a business rival in Jim, who opens up another station, and is also trying to steal Elmer's girlfriend. She plays both ... See full summary »
Elmer Butts leaves his small Arizona town for New York where he has decided to try his luck on a radio amateur show. The trouble is that, though not without talent, Elmer is a very clumsy fellow with a knack for being off the mark and putting himself in impossible situations. To begin with, he arrives late at the studio and he has to wait a whole week before the next broadcast. Which leaves him extra time to rehearse but he blunders once more in annoying the girl in the room below, which is all the more regrettable as he is smitten with her. When the great day comes, he announces a... juggling act! Not really radio-friendly, is it? To cap it all he creates havoc among the musicians and incurs the band leader's wrath. In these conditions, Elmer's career is bound to be short-lived! Written by
After spending years in the MGM factory and nearly losing his mind, Keaton pulled himself together in 1935. At that time he worked for Educational, a low budget company that had seen much better days. The 16 films Keaton did for Educational between 1934-37 are nevertheless viewed today which respect. Despite meager budgets and often not very original scripts they still show that here Keaton was given some creative control (compare to the most films he later did for Columbia) and was still able to create great gags. But only in a few films he could work with an own script. GRAND SLAM OPERA was one of the few. It is a Keaton Film from start to finish, with a clever story, fast pace and some good support by Harold Goodwin and especially John Ince (good supporting actors are quite rare in low budget comedies). The "Hotel room dancing" and the juggle performance in front of a micro are classic scenes. Not surprisingly GRAND SLAM OPERA is now regarded as (almost) equal to the quality of his silent films. Others, like PEST FROM THE WEST were very funny, but GRAND SLAM OPERA provided the special "Keaton-Touch" that was nearly destroyed by MGM.
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