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A southern country doctor is called on by a visiting circus man to cure his sick elephant. After the doctor heals the grateful beast, the elephant becomes so attached to him that it starts to follow him everywhere. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <email@example.com>
This film was originally developed as a Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy vehicle, but was re-scripted after Stan Laurel, whose contract with Hal Roach had run out, declined to re-sign with the producer. Hardy's contract was still in force, and the team believed that if they waited until it expired, they could re-sign as a team and be in a stronger bargaining position. Ultimately that is what happened. See more »
For those wondering what Oliver Hardy was doing in a film without Stan Laurel, we have to remember that Hal Roach created the team back in silent days when he had these two comedians both signed to contracts with him. Their contracts were negotiated separately unlike Abbott and Costello or the Ritz Brothers, etc. So with Ollie signed with studio again and Stan balking at terms, Hal Roach decided to pair Hardy with Harry Langdon who was trying to recapture the stardom he enjoyed in the silent era.
Ollie is a country doctor in post Civil War Mississippi who lives with wife Billie Burke and daughter Jean Parker in genteel poverty. James Ellison, late of the Hopalong Cassidy series, wants her hand in marriage, but his mother Alice Brady forbids it as Jean's parents are just not her sort.
Nevertheless Ollie and Billie try to help Jean with her romance, but Ollie gets himself entangled with traveling medicine show man Harry Langdon and his performing elephant Zenobia. When the pachyderm becomes ill, Ollie effects a cure and the beast's gratitude makes his life miserable.
Though they were advertised as a team, Langdon and Hardy are not a team really in this film, though their scenes with Zenobia are pretty funny. They're like Abbott and Costello in The Time Of Their Lives, a comedy team in two separate roles in which they only interact occasionally. Actually Burke and Brady, a couple of veteran Broadway performers, have some scenes together and they're pretty good in and of themselves.
Getting Alice Brady and Billie Burke was a casting coup of sorts for Hal Roach. Look at the rest of his cast which he got from the major studios, if he was to have a new comedy team, they would be launched properly.
Of course Stan Laurel came to terms and Langdon and Hardy were no more. But Zenobia is a film filled with gentle humor and some good comic situations.
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