In 1925, a group of expatriate Broadway thespians who had moved to the West Coast for film work decided to establish a social club where members could fraternize and enjoy each other’s fellowship. It would be known as The Masquers Club, and its members included at various times such classic movie icons as Joe E. Brown, Frank Morgan, Pat O’Brien, Charley Chase, Edward Arnold, and Charles Coburn. It’s still going strong today—you can even check out the club’s website when you get a notion.
If these two-reelers had one consistent quality, it was that they tried awfully hard. There was a conscious striving for offbeat humor, which at times was overbearing, but which often paid off. In Rule ’em and Weep (1932), the sound effects are always wrong. In a duel that runs through the film, every time the guns are fired, different noises are heard. And when a horse-drawn carriage pulls up to the country of Bulvania, where the story is set, the sound effect of a train slowing to a halt is heard.
|Director Mark Sandrich poses with Dorothy Granger and|
Eddie Borden on the set of Thru Thin or Thicket (1933)
here it is). A promotional short that sought to raise funds on behalf of the National Variety Artists’ campaign to combat tuberculosis, Jools spots an all-star cast in a funny tale about the hunt for some stolen bling belonging to Norma Shearer. (Included in the cast are such TDOY favorites as Buster Keaton, Edward G. Robinson, Our Gang, Laurel & Hardy, and Wheeler & Woolsey.)
|If Mack Swain is pourin'...I'm buyin'. (Mack's the bartender in Wide Open Spaces.)|