Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Hat Mix-up Routine, Part 2

I wrote recently about Laurel & Hardy's famous hat mix-up routine. I neglected at the time to provide precedent for the routine simply because I was unaware of anyone performing the routine before the boys. Annette D'Agostino Lloyd, author of Harold Lloyd: Magic in a Pair of Horn-Rimmed Glasses, suggested to me that traces of the routine could be found in a scene from Harold Lloyd's Spring Fever (1919), but it strikes me that a vague relationship at best exists between the two routines. Judge for yourself from this clip of Spring Fever taken from the documentary Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius.

But my persistence has finally paid off. I have now found a version of the hat mix-up routine in an early Charlie Chaplin comedy called By the Sea (1915). The mix-up is brought about by winds that make it impossible for two men (Chaplin and Billy Armstrong) to keep their hats secured to their heads. Understand that this was at a time in film comedy when every complication, even those not man-made, resulted in a tussle.

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