Wednesday, June 30, 2021

We've Talked About This Before. . .

Harold Lloyd's influence is evident in this poster for the 2006 Greek comedy Pente lepta akoma (aka Extended Play).  The man hanging off the clock is Vassilis Haralambopoulos.

Let me take this opportunity to revisit a few of my favorite past subjects.

Comedy writers learned to be creative with old gags.  Take, for instance, Warren Foster's wild variation on the banana peel gag in the 1943 Bugs Bunny cartoon Falling Hare

Let us now see if writers were able to be creative with other old gags.

The Revolving Door 

I have discussed revolving door routines at length in two previous articles.  You can read those articles by clicking here and here.

The Million Dollar Derby (1926) 

Buster Keaton in The Cameraman (1928)

James Stewart and Joan Fontaine in You Gotta Stay Happy (1948)

A pair of ghosts spin a sheriff around inside a revolving door in the comic horror film The Frighteners (1996).

Reflection Distortion

Lonesome (1928)

Looking for Trouble (1934)

Come Live with Me (1941)

A Taste of Honey (1961)

 The Big Mouth (1967)  

The Mirror Routine

Eddie Lyons in Seeing Double (1923) 

Deanna Durbin in First Love (1939)

Jane Wyman in Just for You (1952)

Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins (1964)

Seeing Double
 (1923) can be viewed at

The Chair Routine

A Night at the Opera (1935)

Lady On A Train (1945)

Film sources: My Sister Eileen (1955), The Tragedy at Midnight (1942) and Lady On A Train (1945).

Comedians performed a variety of chair acts on stage. 

Crazy House

A variation of the "Crazy House" burlesque routine is featured in The Wrong Wrong Trail (1934).

The Oversized Set

Filmmakers found that they could make an actor appear far smaller than they actually were by surrounding them with oversized props and furniture.

In Hour of Glory (1949), an alcoholic man has a feverish nightmare in which he has shrunk down in size and is menacingly towered over by a bottle of whisky. 

The Murphy bed 

Robert Mitchum in Johnny Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1944)

The Money Shower 

I previously discussed the money shower in a 2016 article "The Unreality of Movie Money."

Nils in Poppe in Pengar (1946)

Margaret Rutherford in Miss Robin Hood (1952) 

Riley Keough in Dixieland (2015)

The Sidewalk Salesman 

A stock comedy character was the sidewalk salesman.  For a full examination of this character, click here.

Stinky Cheese

The Egg

Larry Fine cringes as gooey eggs drip onto his head.

Bobby in the City (late 1920s)

 A Soldier's Plaything (1930)

The Blue Angel (1930)

Pengar (1946)

Murder She Said (1961)

The Pink Panther (2006)

Click here for further egg comedy.


Charlie Chaplin and Mack Swain in Gentlemen of Nerve (1914) 

Stuck in an an Elevator

A previous article on "stuck" comedy can be found here.

The Handcuff Routine

The handcuff routine became a favorite on Nickelodeon sitcoms.  

The Orange Years the Nickelodeon Story (2020)

The Timid Lover

Girl Without a Room (1933)

Edward Everett Horton reacts shyly to a seductive woman in Lonely Wives (1931). 

Joe Besser faces a similar problem in Eadie Was a Lady (1945).

Shrub Disguise

A police officer disguises as a shrub in a Les Dawson sketch. 


Taffy proves as sticky as glue in Our Gang's A Tough Winter (1930).

The Mud Puddle

The sure-fire mud puddle gag surprisingly turns up in Raoul Walsh's epic Western The Big Trail (1930).

The Lion

A leopard gets loose at a club hall in the 1912 Pathé comedy Little Moritz Hunts Big Cats.

Lee Tracy and Eugene Pallette use a lion for a publicity stunt in The Half Naked Truth (1932). 

A lion creates problems for June Allyson and Dick Powell in The Reformer and the Redhead (1950).

Adolphe Menjou is frightened by a lion in Road Show (1941).

The Bratty Child Actor

Let us take a look at the bratty child actor.

The Flying Car

Many of us are familiar with Fred MacMurray riding in a flying car The Absent-Minded Professor (1961).  But I did not know until recently that MacMurray rode in another flying car sixteen years earlier in Where Do We Go from Here? (1945).

For more on flying cars, click here.

The Cop and the Anthem

O. Henry's 1904 short story "The Cop and the Anthem" was an obvious inspiration for Archimède, le clochard (1959), which features Jean Gabin as a tramp who attempts to get arrested so that he can spend the winter in a warm prison cell.

The Ouija board

Helena Pickard uses a Ouija board in Saloon Bar (1940). 

Ouija Craft (2020)

The Magician's Coat

The magician's coat routine, which originated with Harold Lloyd, is performed by Red Skelton in Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day (1941).  

Dance Instructor Routine

Double or Nothing (1937) includes a risqué version of the Dance Instructor Routine.  Martha Raye leads a group of dancers in an aquatic dance number.  Raye, a former stripper, is unable to resist performing a striptease whenever she hears her old song "It's On, It's Off."  The song is played by a man out to sabotage her show, at which point Raye removes parts of her costume and the other dancers reluctantly follow her lead.  

The Water Pump

Billy Bevan is thwarted by an uncooperative water pump in By Heck (1921).  I discussed this routine in a 2013 article "Water, Water Everywhere and Not a Drop to Drink."

The Noose

Boireau et la gigolette (1912)

Pengar (1946)

Buster Keaton, Edward Brophy and Sidney Toler in Speak Easily (1932)

High and Dizzy

This 1905 film from Hungary, Kedélyes bohémek, is a very early "high and dizzy" comedy. 

The Military Drill

Here is a brief supplement to my 2013 article "Awkward Squad."  

Ray Bolger performs a one-man drill routine in Stage Door Canteen (1943).

A Soldier's Plaything (1930)

Bud Flanagan, Chesney Allen and Jimmy Nervo perform a comic drill in Alf's Button Afloat (1938).

Jack Oakie confuses his troop with his drill instructions in The Toast of New York (1937).  

The last two scenes are included in this compilation.  The compilation also includes a drill scene with Joe Besser.  The picture quality is fuzzy to be honest, but I figured a fuzzy Besser is better than no Besser at all.

The Bridal Run

As I have discussed before, Edwin S. Porter's 1904 comedy How a French nobleman got a wife through the New York Herald personal columns is a seminal film comedy.  The key action of the film is what has become known as the "bridal run."  Many similar films followed, the most famous of which is Buster Keaton's Seven Chances (1925).

Seven Chances (1925)

Pathé Frères' 1905 comedy Dix femmes pour un mari (Ten Wives for One Husband), which I recently came across on YouTube, is a shot-for-shot remake of the Porter film.    

Dix femmes pour un mari (1905)

A more surreal version of the bridal run can be found in a 1909 Itala comedy, Troppo bello! (English translation: Too good!).  The "brides" (a bunch of men in drag) are in pursuit of a oddly charming gentleman (André Deed). 

A scene from Emil and the Detectives (1931) has elements of the bridal run.  A crowd of children pursue a sinister man who drugged and robbed a small boy. 

A 1981 Swedish film, The Rooster, climaxes with a bridal run on bicycle.

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983)

The Bridal Path (1959)

The song on this video is "Le Grand Chase" written by Kevin MacLeod (  Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.

1 comment:

  1. So good to see you back! Wonderful reads for my day off.