The Sunday Intertitle: Boy Meets Girl

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I had started feeling like I was neglecting Harold Lloyd a bit — you know, that feeling you get when you’ve been neglecting Harold Lloyd a bit — so I watched two shorts from 1919, BUMPING INTO BROADWAY and BILLY BLAZES ESQ. Both films co-star Bebe Daniels, whose comic gifts are somewhat underexploited, and Snub Pollard is a second, backup banana. The latter is a western parody with some great things in it, notably super–cowboy Harold’s way of rolling a cigarette: paper placed flat in hand, tobacco poured wantonly over it, whole lot crunched up in fist and furiously smushed about — palm opens, revealing one perfectly rolled ciggie.

But BUMPING INTO BROADWAY has the best intertitles so I thought I’d just reproduce a bunch here. Not only are they reasonably witty, every one of them has a bit of cute artwork.

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Some very funny stuff in this one, too, though it’s pretty brash and violent by Lloyd’s standards. The Harold of a few years later probably wouldn’t have clobbered so many policemen for so little reason. The best bit of violence is Noah Young, a popular thug player of the day, beating up a defaulting boarder (Mark Jones). This demonstration of savagery is a plot point to show Harold the terrible fate awaiting him if he doesn’t pay the rent, and this idea is borrowed from Chaplin’s THE IMMIGRANT, where Eric Campbell mangled a restaurant customer who couldn’t pay for his meal, as the hero watched in alarm. But the Young/Jones fight is even more impressive and startlingly acrobatic: the massive Young (Buster Keaton’s rival in ONE WEEK) had been a circus weightlifter, which explains why he has a neck with the circumference of Delaware, while Jones was a Lloyd/Hal Roach regular, often playing drunks.

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Good work! And Harold’s mortified expression in the background really ices that comedy cake of inhuman brutality.

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6 Responses to “The Sunday Intertitle: Boy Meets Girl”

  1. Ah, but Carax and Lavant are clearly Chaplin people…

  2. Don’t recall if this came up before, but Bebe Daniels had a major radio & TV career in England:
    http://greenbriarpictureshows.blogspot.com/2006/04/monday-glamour-starter-bebe-daniels-it.html
    One of the commenters reports that Daniels is now mostly forgotten there too. I’d like to think the Lyons have at least the trivia game longevity of Ozzie and Harriet, their stateside counterparts.

  3. For some reason, awareness of Life with the Lyons was never passed on to the succeeding generation, so nobody younger than my parents is likely to have heard of it.

    Bebe and her hubbie were greatly respected in the UK back in the day, for crossing the Atlantic in the wrong direction during wartime and broadcasting during the Blitz.

  4. Fatty Arbuckle originates Harold’s ciggie technique:

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