And another Laurel and Hardy silent, a slightly odd one since it's a music-based one: 1928's You're Darn Tootin. Here Laurel and Hardy play a pair of musicians who might well carry on to produce semi-competent music except, well, they're comic performers and you know how that turns out. Laurel has particular problems with his clarinet falling apart at its joints.
There's various shenanigans, but what strikes me is the opening scene, set at the rehearsal of a small orchestra, and the chaos that's instilled by Laurel and Hardy just not being quite able to keep all their sheets of music and their instruments together, particularly at the same time as their playing. Pages of music go flying and land under the director, whose stomping foot keeps smashing Hardy's fingers, or the attempt to straighten things out leads to a domino-chain collapsing of the music stands, and so on, up to the point that the conductor throws them out of the band.
It's reasonably funny business, although what strikes me is that these are pretty much the same sorts of gags which would become part of every cartoon attempt-at-playing-the-orchestra. These specific jokes might not have been done in Tom and Jerry At The Hollywood Bowl or the others in its genre, but they'd certainly be able to slip in easily. Many books about the dawn of cartoons talk about how silent comedians generated many of the basic gags which would become cartoons, but this is a case where the intellectual heritage stands exposed to all.
The short does build to a pretty satisfying conclusion where there's a big mob of angry men, all ripping one another's pants off and kicking each other in the legs. Quite worth looking into.
Trivia: Beginning in 1683 Gottfried Leibniz worked as mediator in attempting to reunify the Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches. Among the proposed compromises were that Catholics would no longer officially count Protestants as sinners, and Protestants would stop referring to the Pope as the Antichrist. Source: The Calculus Wars: Newton, Leibniz, and the Greatest Mathematical Clash of All Time, Jason Socrates Bardi.
Currently Reading: The Circus: MI-5 Operations, Nigel West.
PS: Are You Stronger Than Jupiter? The answer may surprise you! It surprised me. Well, the Venus and Mars parts surprised me more.
PPS: Happy Birthday, Frederik Pohl!