An obnoxious heckler at a baseball game infuriates everybody.

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Tom Hanlon ...
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An obnoxious heckler at a baseball game infuriates everybody.

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baseball | remake | See All (2) »

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And you can tell the folks I'm not going to give 'em a chance to catch their breath between laughs! (Title lobby card).

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Comedy | Short

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16 February 1940 (USA)  »

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(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
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Connections

Remake of The Fight Pest (1928) See more »

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A Generally Rollicking Change of Pace for Charley Chase
12 December 2004 | by (Murray Hill, NJ) – See all my reviews

In most of the Charley Chase shorts I have seen, Chase delightfully played a likable everyman who innocently stumbled into trouble. In THE HECKLER Chase abandons his usual persona to play an obnoxious loudmouth. Although he projects his usual winning vulnerability when his character gets into a jam, Chase's character is devoid of any redeeming qualities. But due to his cheerfully enthusiastic performance, Chase's character is a riot.

The scenario, in which Chase's heckling affects baseball games' outcomes and some shady characters hire him for their own advantage, is slight. This doesn't matter since THE HECKLER is a short subject. What makes the short work are the gags, adroitly presented through Del Lord's direction. One cannot help but laugh at all the things Chase's character does to inconvenience his fellow spectators at the ball game- using someone's entire tobacco and matches to smoke a pipe, tearing a bandage off a man to fix his leaky cushion, distracting everyone from the game in order to obtain a loudly demanded hot dog, among other offenses. The gags are not only enhanced by Chase's performances but by those of the supporting players as well. Particularly amusing are Vernon Dent and Monty Collins as two unlucky fellows who are forced to sit next to Chase.

The short slackens a bit at around mid point but it rebounds for an energetic climax. It ends on quite an offbeat note. The old cliché 'It has to been seen to be believed' perfectly applies to this finish.

As enjoyable as THE HECKLER is, one feels a tinge of sadness viewing it. This was one of Chase's last films before his early death. Although his performance is lively, he looks older than his forty-six years. One can wonder what Chase might have accomplished if he had lived longer. That he actually was able to do such wonderful work like THE HECKLER during his brief lifetime testifies to his greatness. Chase was a comedic genius who shouldn't be forgotten.


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