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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Charley Chase On Columbia Duty


As "Charles Clayfoot Chase" in Man Bites Lovebug (1937)

From Charley Chase's first season of comedies for Columbia, Volumes One and Two of these, plus balance of the series, available on DVD. To say they were long-awaited is understating: Chase fans have been ravenous for the long unseen group (a few were never even released to television, thus invisible since 30's first run). Whether they're funny will depend on your taste for Chase. Many love him to a point of forbearing any criticism. I'm sympathetic to CC and regard him a pioneer of laughter, both on camera and behind it, but pace of production couldn't help dropping duds here and there, and not just for Columbia. Charley's face reflected a killer pace, being but 44 in Man Bites Lovebug, and looking every mile of it. Excess drink and health problems attendant on that was cause of early aging, but a steel trap mind for mirth kept Chase in demand, Columbia using him not only as performer, but directing as well. Man Bites Lovebug is no world-beater, but satisfies curiosity as to what Columbia circumstances were like for an artist who'd been at comedy's work bench since early Sennett days. Finally getting to see these will fill much needed gap.

1 Comments:

Blogger Scott MacGillivray said...

It may be worth noting that Charley Chase's Columbias were never reissued to theaters. Columbia re-released 148 of its non-Stooge two-reel comedies (some titles more than once) between 1948 and 1964, but never Mr. Chase's. I suspect this was the work of Jules White, who found himself competing with Chase as unit producer and who envied Chase's efficiency. White was content to remake the Chase scripts, but he kept Chase off the screen.

10:11 AM  

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