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Hooligan Assists the Magician (1900)

This is a new adventure in which our friend, Mr. Hooligan, appears in an entirely new capacity. On a stage a professor of magic is performing some wonderful experiments, and when he ... See full summary »

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(comic strip "Happy Hooligan")
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This is a new adventure in which our friend, Mr. Hooligan, appears in an entirely new capacity. On a stage a professor of magic is performing some wonderful experiments, and when he requests some assistance Happy Hooligan immediately volunteers his services and climbs upon the platform. As he does so, the professor vanishes through the floor and the amateur assistant is left along with nothing but a couple of barrels, which, however, immediately begin to cut up some remarkable capers. They absolutely refuse to be tampered with, and as fast as Mr. Hooligan knocks them over they regain their balance, and during their evolutions, clowns, ghosts, demons, and goblin appear and disappear in an alarming manner; not, however, without each of them having a crack at the unfortunate Hooligan. Finally he captures two of them, only to find when he yanks them out of the barrels they have changed into immense masses of white muslin, which the professor, who now appears again, divides into two ... Written by Edison Films (1901)

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Comedy | Fantasy | Short

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November 1900 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Practically the same film as THE CLOWN AND THE ALCHEMIST
8 March 2008 | by See all my reviews

In the late 1890s and up to almost WWI, the Frenchman, Georges Méliès, made a huge number of wonderful short films that were significantly better than his competition. Instead of the usual dull 30 seconds to a minute and a half of static filming of mundane subjects (such as the work done by the Lumiere brothers or Edison), his films abounded with great camera trickery and wild stories. This was probably inspired by the fact he was a magician and then a film maker. His work was so popular that soon other film makers copied his films. Some made broad copies in the style of Méliès whereas others copied the films nearly exactly--never crediting the source--though they were invariably inferior films.

This film appears to actually be a case of an idea "borrowed" from Méliès and then re-made almost immediately by Edison in at least two versions--THE CLOWN AND THE ALCHEMIST and HOOLIGAN ASSISTS THE MAGICIAN. Both are very similar with all kinds of stop-motion magic that by today's and even Méliès standards very crudely done. This one is slightly better than THE CLOWN AND THE ALCHEMIST--partly because a film crew member isn't accidentally shown in several shots--as he IS in the other Edison film!


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