austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

He says, ``Now judge, suppose I fail?''

Double Whoopee is another Laurel and Hardy short. I'm not sure what the title is getting at; I assumed it to be doing a gosh-here's-someone-famous-who-looks-just-like-our-star plot. I was a bit off.

It opens at a swanky Manhattan hotel with news that the prince is coming! and also Laurel and Hardy are showing up for their first day on the job as doorman and footman. They're initially taken to be the Teutonic prince and his minister, and greeted by the front desk with appropriately ridiculous over-doneness until, against how it seemed to be going, it all gets straightened out.

Anyway. The Prince is there to make ``what you Americans call --- whoopee'', while sneering and falling into an open elevator shaft because Hardy's taking the elevator down. You know how that happens. Most of the rest of the short comes to the mishaps of Laurel and Hardy in their respective jobs, poorly handling problems like guessing which door to open for the exiting guests, or accidentally blowing a whistle for a taxi too often. (I think the taxi driver's rage is a good punch line, but not given enough setup; he needs more false alarms for it to work.)

The whole thing turns into a decent bunch of spot gags set in a hotel lobby, although for most of them Laurel and Hardy are split up. I'm inclined to think this was a generic hotel-misfits short which the two were dropped into, since their real strength is when they're acting against each other. They get that right as a squabble over a tip gets them challenging each other while a cop looks on, and then later as the two create a chain-reaction brawl of the kind that makes a really satisfying Hal Roach short.

The Prince pops back in for the final minute, like they realized his part was set up as something big and then perfectly forgotten.

Trivia: Prudential Insurance and A C Nielson Company were among the first purchasers of UNIVACs, at $150,000 per machine. Source: Eniac, Scott McCartney.

Currently Reading: Mother Lode, Zach Hughes.

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