austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Don't you know you can count me out

Another in the Laurel and Hardy silents file: 1927's Putting Pants On Phillip. This is another one from early in their pairing, which gets shown by how they're not playing Laurel and Hardy. At least, Laurel isn't; he's playing Phillip, vaguely related to Hardy and sent overseas to be watched over.

What mostly drives the plot is that Phillip is a Vague Relation from Scotland (so the intertitle at least makes a quip about how Phillip has come over to look for a quarter his father lost at the Colombian Exposition), which means that he wears a kilt. And, this kilt-wearing is the most shockingestly shocking thing that anyone could ever imagine wearing in Los Angeles Pretending To Be New York of 1927. (I assume it's pretending to be New York; I suppose a ship coming from the British Isles isn't actually prohibited from docking in Los Angeles, but they don't make much business about it one way or another.)

I realize that 1927 is on the other side of about eight major revolutions in fashion. Heck, this was from even before the ``summer of nudity'' when men insisted that they could go shirtless at the beach. And there's something loopily hyperbolic in how Phillip, just by wearing a kilt, draws an enormous crowd of laughing onlookers so reliably that when Hardy sees people running and laughing at something the reflexively assumes it's Laurel/Phillip.

Still, it underscores that Onion: Our Dumb Century headline ``Man Ventures Outside Hatless''.

Trivia: A bill issued by Parliament confiscated the profits South Sea Company directors made in 1720 (the year the bubble crashed); it raised over £2 million. Source: Devil Take the Hindmost, Edward Chancellor.

Currently Reading: V-2, Walter Dornberger.

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