Papa is reading his newspaper and his little girl tickles his neck with a long straw. Thinking it is a fly papa "shoos" away the supposed fly with his hand. The tickling continues now on ... See full summary »

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Papa is reading his newspaper and his little girl tickles his neck with a long straw. Thinking it is a fly papa "shoos" away the supposed fly with his hand. The tickling continues now on his ear, and papa waves his newspaper round his head. Not yet content, the little mischief maker continues her fun, and the man loses all patience, and makes such a wild commotion that he loses his balance, and falls over backwards, chair and all. Sure to make fun for children, both great and small. Written by Edison Films (1900)

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Short | Comedy

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September 1898 (USA)  »

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The Rule of Three
11 April 2011 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

For 1899, this is an exceedingly primitive movie. The camera sits in one spot and the actors in it -- a man sitting, reading a newspaper and a young girl who plays a practical joke on him by tickling him in the back of the neck -- seem rather clueless as the man never bothers to look behind him, which would quickly reveal the source of his torment. At this stage, movie comedies often consisting of practical jokes, as they had since the Lumieres filmed L'AROSEUR S'ARROSE. This is still a 30-second effort. Longer works were only being essayed rarely at this point, particularly by Melies.

Nonetheless, the movie clearly shows the use of the 'rule of three' in comedy construction, as the little girl pulls her little joke twice to the same effect, and then there is a major pay off result on the third iteration. Not very interesting, but at least the makers understood this basic rule of comedy.


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