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Dad's Day (1929)

A middle aged Dad gets no respect from his ungrateful family at home, so he goes to the beach for the day. The family decides to go too, bringing the daughter's obnoxious boyfriend. He ... See full summary »

Director:

Hal Roach
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Cast

Cast overview:
Edgar Kennedy ... Michael Kennedy
Eddie Dunn Eddie Dunn ... Jimmie
Irma Harrison ... Irma Kennedy
Ben Hall Ben Hall ... Benny Kennedy
May Milloy May Milloy ... Mrs. Kennedy
Gertrude Messinger ... Gertie (as Gertie Messinger)
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Storyline

A middle aged Dad gets no respect from his ungrateful family at home, so he goes to the beach for the day. The family decides to go too, bringing the daughter's obnoxious boyfriend. He torments the Dad by switching bathing suits and stealing his clothes from the public lockers, and Dad reciprocates, causing more trouble. Written by WesternOne

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Genres:

Short | Comedy

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 July 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Father's Day See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hal Roach Studios See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Hal Roach Studios production number S-23. See more »

Goofs

Although Edgar Kennedy's character's name is Michael, Eddie Dunn at one point calls him "same old Eddie". See more »

Soundtracks

Oh! You Beautiful Doll
(uncredited)
Music by Nat Ayer
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User Reviews

 
Father does not know best . . . but he'll learn
24 July 2016 | by wmorrow59See all my reviews

When cable TV came along in the 1970s, there was a station in the Midwest that aired a package of RKO's 'Average Man' comedies. This was a series of two-reel shorts, produced from the early 1930s to the late '40s, starring familiar character player Edgar Kennedy as the beleaguered father of a suburban family. I saw many of these comedies, and usually enjoyed them. Regardless of the material, Kennedy was always worth watching, always reliably amusing. He'd been a prolific performer since the early silent days, and worked with practically every popular comedian of the era: Chaplin, Normand, Arbuckle, etc. In the late '20s he wound up at the Hal Roach Studio, where he appeared in support of every comic on the lot, and even directed two of Laurel & Hardy's best silent shorts.

Kennedy also played leads in a few Roach comedies during this period, as silent cinema gave way to talkies. These films are hard to find nowadays, but I happened to catch Dad's Day this weekend at the Museum of Modern Art, where a rare print was shown as part of a Leo McCarey retrospective. Ironically, McCarey most likely had little or nothing to do with the final product, which was released months after he left the Roach lot. His story credit on this short could mean that a scenario he left behind was adapted by others, but it's also possible that the credit was granted McCarey strictly as a contractual obligation.

In any case, Dad's Day concerns the misadventures of Pa Kennedy, who is trying to relax at home on a Sunday despite the disruptive presence of his family. Most annoying of all is Jimmie, the obnoxious boyfriend of his young adult daughter. Driven to distraction, Pa leaves home and heads for the beach. At Jimmie's behest, the whole family follows. Even at the beach, Pa has aggravations. The swimming suit he rents from a belligerent attendant (Charlie Hall) turns out to be too big. While Pa is swimming the suit comes off, so he pulls Jimmie into the water and manages to purloin his suit. When he tries to return to the changing room, the attendant won't let him enter, so Pa scales the wall—but accidentally winds up in the women's dressing area, and is mistaken for a masher. The police are called. Pa's perfect day ends badly.

That's the gist of it. And while there's an amusing moment or two along the way, I have to say I didn't enjoy Dad's Day as much as I'd anticipated, or as much as I usually liked the later RKO series. The difference, I believe, is not so much in the material as in the characterizations. In the later series, Kennedy is gruff and easily vexed, but basically likable. He was often irritated with his dotty wife (usually played by Florence Lake) and steamed at his lazy brother-in-law (Jack Rice) or his grouchy mother-in-law (Dot Farley), but underlying it all was a sense of family, in every sense of the word: that is, they may drive you crazy sometimes, but they're FAMILY. In this short, however, that familial feeling isn't there. The actress playing Mrs. Kennedy barely registers as a presence. Pa has very little interaction with her, or with his son or daughter. The hostile relationship with Jimmie is central. Beyond that, the film has a harsh tone that undercuts the comedy. We're given little reason to like or care about any of the characters. Whatever fondness we might feel for Dad is a residual effect of seeing Edgar Kennedy elsewhere, because the guy he's playing here generally behaves like a jerk.

At the MoMA screening the other night, Dad's Day was introduced by film historian and preservationist Richard Bann. He told us there were no follow-up Kennedy Family films made at the Roach Studio because exhibitors were not enthused about them. Which means, presumably, that they weren't a hit with audiences. Despite occasional amusing moments in Dad's Day, I can well understand the lukewarm response. On a brighter note, however, Kennedy must have learned a thing or two from the experience, because his subsequent RKO comedy shorts were of higher quality, and the series ran for well over fifteen years!


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