Hal Roach Studios (1927) Two Reels
Cast: Mae Busch, Stan Laurel, James Finlayson, Oliver Hardy, Charlotte Mineau, Vivien Oakland, Ed Brandenburg, Charlie Hall, Gale Henrey, Mae Wallace
Producer: Hal Roach
Director: Fred Guiol
Businessman Titus Tillsbury ( James Finlayson ) is visited by his old girlfriend Peaches ( Mae Busch ) who demands money from him or she will go to the press and tell them they are having an affair. As proof she produces a picture of them together in their bathing suits taken years earlier. Tillsbury tells her that he will have dinner with her that night and pay her a settlement. But then his wife comes by and announces that she has invited Judge Chigger over for dinner. Tillsbury asks his assistant Romaine Ricketts ( Stan Laurel ) to go to to Peaches house and explain that he will be late, then take her to the Pink Pub Cafe and entertain her until he is able to show up. Romaine goes to Peaches apartment as planned and she is not to happy that Tillsbury sent his assistant, but she agrees to go with him to the pub. While Romaine is waiting for her outside in his car he is approached by Old Lady Scandal, the town gossip. She immediately wants to know what Romaine is doing there when he told his wife he would be working late. He tells her that his boss is inside the apartment and he is waiting for him. Once she is gone he takes Peaches to the pub but while trying to pacify her he sees that the gossip has followed him and is sitting at another table watching him. Meanwhile Peaches has grown fed up waiting for Tillsbury and announces she is going to go to his house. The two run out into the street where they wrestle each other for Romaine’s car keys. The gossip comes outside and sees this, then both Peaches and Romaine drive off. The gossip then runs over to Romaines house and tells his wife she saw him with another woman. At Tillsbury’s house he is still entertaining his dinner guest Judge Chigger ( Oliver Hardy ) and his wife. Tillsbury’s wife has grown suspicious of the many phone calls he had been getting from his assistant. He arrives with Peaches and Tillsbury immediately announces that they are his assistant Ricketts and his wife. Once they are in a room by themselves Tillsbury threatens Peaches with a gun and she faints. Tillsbury’s wife enters the room and asks what happened. They tell her she had sun stroke and she insists that Ricketts and his wife spend the night until she recovers. Deciding it is not a good idea for Peaches to spend the night Tillsbury and Romaine try to move her out of the house. Knowing his wife would never allow an unconscious girl to be taken out of the house Tillsbury bends over and puts Peaches on his back. Her coat is put on and they attempt to make it appear that Tillsbury’s feet are Peaches feet. But the jig is up when Tillsbury’s head pops out from under Peaches coat, and while Romaine is bringing her outside his angry wife shows up. While both husbands are being beaten by their respective wives Judge Chigger breaks out laughing causing his wife to beat him as well.
This movie was important for several reasons. It was the first movie to have Laurel, Hardy, and Finlayson on the screen together. It was also the first Hal Roach movie for actress Mae Busch who got top billing. It was the beginning of the studio looking at the possibility of Laurel and Finlayson as a team, something that would quickly evolve into a Finlayson, Laurel and Hardy team and then finally officially as a Laurel and Hardy team with Finlayson as just a supporting player. And it was this movie that would be remade into “Chickens Come Home”. Another historic milestone in the eventual emergence of the Laurel and Hardy team, but not memorable for being a Laurel and Hardy movie. Hardy plays a minor role as Finlayson’s dinner guest and doesn’t do much more that stair in amazement when things get crazy.