In Nurse, Charley plays the chief clerk for a company headed up by autocratic Clarence Wilson (the hatchet-faced old essobee from the Our Gang shorts), who refuses to allow him to take a half-hour off from work so that Charley can meet a doctor’s appointment and find out the results of an insurance physical exam he’s taken. Forced to give up his lunch period, Chase goes to the doctor (played as always with his usual aplomb by Billy Gilbert) but since he’s mistaken for another patient (a decrepit old geezer named “Chase”) he’s told he only has six months to live. Despondent over this news, he sadly makes his way back to his office when he gets a dressing-down from a traffic cop (Ben Taggart)—and as Gilbert’s words reverberate through his head, Charley not only tells off the cop, but his boss as well! It’s only when Mrs. Chase (Muriel Evans) returns home and learns of Charley’s “malady” that everything gets straightened out; in fact, not only does the boss not fire our hero—he promotes him for finally showing some backbone!
Granted, the plot in this short isn’t entirely original—but it serves as an excellent example of prime character comedy and contains some real rib-tickling gags (check out how Charley “shares” a newspaper and shoeshine). It’s also a marvelous showcase to present the neglected comic genius with one of his most sympathetic roles (I worship Chase, but sometimes his characters in the sound shorts come off as a tad obnoxious). Chase made a similar comedy in his silent days entitled The Fraidy Cat (1924), in which he plays the “coward of the county” who only discovers his gumption when he’s convinced he doesn’t have long to live. (This entertaining one-reeler boasts the casting novelty of having the neighborhood children who taunt Charley played by some of the then-Our Gangers, including Mickey Daniels and Joe Cobb.)
Update: The aforementioned Mr. Solan sent me a message via Facebook that a few other individuals are reporting The Chases of Pimple Street (1934) is also showing on TCM On Demand this week. I didn't see it in my lineup but it's possible that it may be accessible only to Bombast subscribers. Still, as Yair points out: "2 Chase talkies on demand...what a darb!"