Hal Roach was shutting down his production of short subjects and was giving his stars vehicles to see if they could sustain feature-length -- Charley Chase had already starred in a part-talkie for Universal, MODERN LOVE, back in 1929. Roach had Chase expand his last silent short, MOVIE NIGHT, into a sound feature. Then they struck a problem: theater owners did not want to run a feature which satirized, however mildly, the movie-going experience. So they cut the feature down to this two-reeler and tried again with KELLY THE SECOND.
Charley, wife and child go to the local movie theater on Bank Night. His daughter, played by Darla Hood from Our Gang, is chosen to draw the winning ticket for $500 -- worth about twenty times that much in today's dollars -- and guess whose number she picks? I'd like to see the full-length version of this film, because this cut-down is tremendous fun, Charley at the top of his game. Judging by what survives and comparing it to the 1929 short, there was doubtless a long sequence at the office, now cut down to a couple of minutes, and the foibles of how people behaved in a movie theater. Still, Chase on any terms is worthwhile. Enjoy this for what it is: a top-notch Chase talking short made under his own supervision. You can't do better than that.
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