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The Chief (1933)

Approved | | Comedy | 3 November 1933 (USA)
A timid man (Ed Wynn) is thrust into the spotlight when his father is honored as a hero. He blunders into a series of adventures because of a woman (Dorothy Mackaill) and becomes a hero ... See full summary »


Charles Reisner (as Charles F. Riesner)




Complete credited cast:
Ed Wynn ... Henry Summers aka The Perfect Fool
Charles 'Chic' Sale ... Uncle Joe
Dorothy Mackaill ... Dixie Dean
William 'Stage' Boyd ... Dan 'Danny' O'Rourke (as William Boyd)
Effie Ellsler ... Ma Summers
C. Henry Gordon ... Paul Clayton
Mickey Rooney ... Willie, Boy Throwing Firecracker
Bradley Page ... Dapper Dan
Purnell Pratt ... Al Morgan (as Purnell B. Pratt)
George Givot ... Greek Clothing Merchant
Tom Wilson ... Blink, a Henchman
Nat Pendleton ... Big Mike, a Henchman
Bob Perry Bob Perry ... Frank, a Henchman


A timid man (Ed Wynn) is thrust into the spotlight when his father is honored as a hero. He blunders into a series of adventures because of a woman (Dorothy Mackaill) and becomes a hero himself. Although two political parties try to use him for their benefit, he unwittingly foils all their plans. This is based on Wynn's famous radio character, and the film ends with Wynn on his own radio show. Written by Ed Lorusso

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A FOUR ALARM FROLIC OF FUN. (Print Ad- Cohoes American, ((Cohoes, NY)) 19 January 1934)




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Did You Know?


This film's first telecast took place in Chicago Wednesday 19 June 1957 on WBBM (Channel 2); it first aired in Portland OR 6 November 1957 on KGW (Channel 8), in Baltimore 23 December 1957 on WJZ (Channel 13), in Hartford CT 17 May 1958 on WHCT (Channel 18), in New York City 7 July 1958 on WCBS (Channel 2), in Philadelphia 17 July 1958 on WFIL (Channel 6), in Tampa 14 August 1958 on WFLA (Channel 8), in Kalamazoo 8 October 1958 on WKZO (Channel 3), in New Haven 4 November 1958 on WNHC (Channel 8), in Miami 17 December 1958 on WCKT (Channel 7), in Cleveland 31 December 1958 on KYW (Channel 3), and in Indianapolis 23 August 1959 on WLW-I (Channel 13); it finally found its way to Des Moines 22 February 1961 on WHO (Channel 13) and to San Francisco 16 August 1961 on KGO (Channel 7). See more »


The Sidewalks of New York
(1894) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Charles Lawlor and James W. Blake
Played by the band at the statue unveiling
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User Reviews

For nostalgic fans of Ed Wynn only
12 July 2006 | by vandino1See all my reviews

Ed Wynn is listed in the cast as Ed Wynn "The Perfect Fool" and that's because he first gained fame on stage from a show with that title. In 1932 he became an overnight sensation with his radio show 'The Fire Chief' and this film is an attempt by MGM to make some money off Wynn's success. But taking his show to film was not a success, either at the box office or as a movie. It's all wheezy stuff now. Wynn does his dithery, silly shtick as the turn-of-the-century doofus "hero" of a local fire department who is co-opted by political wheeler dealers trying to make him an alderman. Oddly, the film ends with Wynn dropping any pretense of playing his character and instead doing his radio show: explaining into a microphone what happens with the remainder of the story and characters. The film has shades of a Harold Lloyd feature, but without the laughs. And Wynn is an acquired taste, seeing as he's both physically repulsive and cartoonish in voice and manner. But fans of Wynn and/or Golden Age of Radio buffs may find it of interest.

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Release Date:

3 November 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

My Old Man's a Fireman See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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