Becoming Charley Chase - July 28 Release

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Gary Johnson
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Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 4:15 am
Location: Sonoma, CA

Re: Becoming Charley Chase - July 28 Release

Postby Gary Johnson » Tue Aug 11, 2009 11:22 pm

I just finished watching disc 1 showcasing Chase's leading man work at Keystone. Fine prints and good speeds. I grew up renting Blackhawk films and it seemed that in my youth the Keystones were always racing through my projector a-mile-a-minute so it's nice revisiting them at a normal pace where, as someone stated, you can actually read their lips.

After listening to all of the audio commentaries (which used practically everyone on this board) I had a few thoughts of my own. It was mentioned that by 1914 Sennett had 6 working companies on the lot and when Chase graduated to a feature player he was placed in the sixth company. I got to thinking how much of a quota of film was each company expected to turn out? Chaplin made 35 Keystones (including a feature) so was that the norm for each company? I believe when Sennett first began Keystone he had to deliver two films a week but with in a year both Mabel & Ford Sterling appeared in around 60 films each so I assume that quota number went out the window.

The other thought centered on Mae Busch. Since she is teamed with Chase in many of these films it was only natural that her history would be commented on and her purported role as vamp in breaking up the real life romance of Mabel & Mack. No one states these accepted tales as facts but it is Brent who goes out of his way to dispel that this ever happened since in all his research not one bit of evidence or witness has every been found to substantiate these claims and as such must be called hearsay. That got me thinking of how ironic both actress ended up at the Roach lot in '26. Although both actresses were down on their luck Mabel was wined and dined by Roach to sign up promising features and putting her back on top. If that was the case wouldn't she had kicked and screamed and raised holy hell when she saw her sworn enemy who broke up her wedding and almost broke her head and her spirit and every other adjective that Busch has been accused of, and wouldn't she had told Roach, "Get that dame off this lot or I walk!!"

And yet Mabel never said that because this never happened which makes me think there was some other girl or some other reason that broke up their romance.

One more comment on Mae Busch and this one is a head scratcher. It was stated that when she went to Roach the only comedians on the lot that she appeared in were the films of Laurel & Hardy....and not once with her good friend Charley Chase who she started out with in movies.

By the way - great theme music on the menus.

Gary J.

Bruce Calvert
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Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:26 pm
Location: Plano, TX USA

Re: Becoming Charley Chase - July 28 Release

Postby Bruce Calvert » Mon Sep 07, 2009 12:28 pm ... ife-on-DVD

Charley Chase’s silent comedies jump back to life on DVD
September 6, 1:38 PM LA/OC Theatre Examiner Jordan Young

To my mind there are two kinds of people—those who love Charley Chase, and those who never heard of him. All Day Entertainment's Becoming Charley Chase, recently released by VCI Entertainment, is a 4-DVD box set affectionately put together by people who are clearly in the first category; it’s not the work of a soulless corporation trying to make a fast buck, like so many video releases these days.

This collection should do much to bolster the reputation of this most unjustly underrated comedian of the 1920s and ‘30s, perhaps best remembered now for an uproarious cameo in Laurel and Hardy’s Sons of the Desert. One disc is devoted to Chase’s embryonic 1915 work for Mack Sennett; two discs are comprised of 1924-1925 shorts made at Hal Roach Studios; and a fourth samples his efforts directing other comics, including his brother James Parrott (who himself directed many of Charley’s comedies, as well of some of Laurel and Hardy’s best), Will Rogers and Snub Pollard. Our Gang, whose earliest comedies Chase supervised as Director General at Roach, are seen as guest stars in The Fraidy Cat.

Even the Chase aficionado who has all or most of these 40-odd comedy shorts in 8mm, 16mm, Laserdisc or VHS will find the box hard to resist. There are new scores for all titles, with some highly entertaining and imaginative work by the Snark Ensemble, Ben Model, the Redwine Jazz Band, and the West End Jazz Band. There are also optional audio commentaries on all films by a gaggle of Chase historians and film scholars; a 45-minute documentary, The Parrott Chase; and an archival interview with Chase's daughter June.

The quality of the films is erratic but not for lack of effort; producer David Kalat notes how he acquired six prints of one especially poor-looking title, and choose the best of the lot. We’re fortunate so many of Chase’s silent shorts exist, as the tantalizing fragments of some lost ones remind us. The box’s missing booklet, a victim of the recession, can be downloaded here. A DVD set of his ‘30s Columbia shorts is in the works; meanwhile, for more on Charley visit the definitive website.

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