Monday, July 1, 2013

Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink

A stock situation in silent film comedy was a luckless man becoming flustered by an uncooperative inanimate object.  A good example is provided by the 1921 Sennett comedy By Heck, in which Billy Bevan is humorously thwarted by a tricky water pump.  Billy West reprised the routine three years later in Not Wanted (1924). 

A variation of the routine (in which the water pump was replaced by a water fountain) was performed by Abbott & Costello in Who Done It? (1942).  Costello is less fortunate than either Bevan or West as he must contend with both the water fountain and surly Abbott.

Here, Ben Turpin outwits rascally cabinet doors. 

Love and Doughnuts (1921)

More can be found about humorously troublesome inanimate objects in the "Mannequins and Other Dummies" chapter of The Funny Parts.


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