The Sunday Intertitle: Jazz Lizard Harold

TWO-GUN GUSSIE (1918) is an early, inferior Harold Lloyd short with a western setting — something Harold returned to fairly often. A pointless opening scene establishes Harold playing piano back east — I suspect deleted footage might have made more sense of this. But we do see Harold “shooting” the keys with his index finger (he still had all his fingers at this point), a la Chico Marx. The Marxes were already a big noise in vaudeville, so it’s quite possible this is a direct swipe.

The best jokes in this silent are verbal, from the insane word soup of this intertitle, to the signs behind the bar saying things like “No drink sold stronger than liquid fire” and “If you ask for credit you will get it in the neck.”

But when the hulking bad guy (William Blaisdell) wants to demonstrate his strength, he does so by plucking the legs off a chair. Now, how much strength that takes depends on how securely the legs are attached, so the gesture means nothing, and certainly lacks the hyperbolic terror of Eric Campbell bending a street light just to show Chaplin how strong he is in EASY STREET. Western saloon furniture is notoriously flimsy, but having Blaisdell maybe break the legs in half might have worked better. But he’s just torn Harold’s shooting iron to pieces, so it’s all kind of an anticlimax…

Bebe Daniels (top) also appears, but has little to do (more evidence of missing scenes). Pretty soon, Lloyd’s films would show more structure and better gags, and give Daniels slightly better roles, but they never exploited her comic potential to its full extent. She would have to wait for her own star vehicles…

 

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2 Responses to “The Sunday Intertitle: Jazz Lizard Harold”

  1. bensondonald Says:

    Maybe the deleted footage included somebody sitting on a legless (or poorly relegged) chair.

    Thinking of “Strike Me Pink”, where Parkyakarkus informs Eddie Cantor he can rip a phone book in pieces. He then proceeds to methodically rip the pages out one by one. When Cantor protests, he asks “What’s your hurry?”

    Parkyakarkus, aka Harry Einstein, was the father of Albert Brooks and Bob “Super Dave Osborne” Einstein.

    Where was I?

  2. Sitting on a legless chair?

    I’ve heard of Parkyakarkus from his famous son’s interviews, but never seen him, or Strike Me Pink… an omission that will be corrected one of these days….

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