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No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Author: boblipton from New York City
21 February 2010

This Charley Chase comedy is a good one, but not, alas, because of Charley Chase. Although the nominal lead, this short does not concentrate on him. Instead it is about the gang of boys he and his girl friend pick up from Juvenile Hall to give the pleasure of a day out to celebrate his getting a new car -- once again, I am gobsmacked at how attitudes have changed in eighty years; not that I expect that in 1927 a man and a woman could have gone to reform school, pointed to six kids and said "We'll take those" but it looks like the audience would have accepted the idea back then.

Anyway, the short is a good one, as you would expect from Roach in this period, but it is not about Charley: it's mostly about how kids can get into trouble, using a carnival as a background to big comedy set pieces and figuring out how to get a touring car up at the top of a Ferris Wheel. Charley and Edna Marion get a great opening, thanks to the wonderful Beanie Walker titles and Charley gets some good reaction shots, but it's about the kids.

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