Saturday, July 08, 2017

Tonight In Brooklyn: That Slapstick Show Spotlights Charley Parrott Chase

At 8:00 p.m. at the City Reliquary in Brooklyn, laughs will rule as Nelson Hughes and Tommy José Stathes present The Celebrity Roast Of Charley Chase as part of the ongoing That Slapstick Show series. Mr. Hughes has curated tonight's tribute to the favorite producer-director-writer-comic of Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog, the one, the only Charley Parrott a.k.a. Charley Chase. Mr. Stathes of Cartoons On Film, as well as vintage silent-era animation Cartoon Roots programs on Blu-rays and DVDs (too numerous to list here), shall co-host.

Charley Chase was an inspired and unique director, writer and comedian whose comedy has weathered the test of time quite well.

First starring in breezy 1-reelers as "Jimmie Jump" in 1924 and then graduating to 2-reelers as Charley Chase, Charles Parrott would star in some of the very best silent film comedies, most notably those he co-directed and wrote with Leo McCarey; such brilliant comedy shorts as His Wooden Wedding and Mighty Like A Moose were certainly among among the funniest films ever made.

After directing a gazillion comedy shorts for every studio around from 1916-1924, Chase began his own starring series at the Roach Studio. Collaborating with his brother James Parrott, the aforementioned Leo McCarey and other top comedy directors at Roach, Chase starred in masterpiece after masterpiece in 1925-1929 - and, unlike most of his contemporaries, then to a significant degree carried that formidable comedy mojo into the sound era.

Chase's high water mark in talkies, in this writer's opinion, would be several tremendously funny, romantic and charming farces co-starring the most beautiful, talented comedienne whose name was not Carole Lombard or Claudette Colbert, Thelma Todd. Two particularly wonderful short comedies in which Chase and Todd co-star are Looser Than Loose (1930) and The Pip From Pittsburg (1931).

Quoting the press release for tonight's show:

"He was one of the most prolific and influential comedians of the 1920s, with a film career that spanned nearly three decades. Today, some 77 years since his passing, Charley Chase (a.k.a. Charles Parrott) still remains one of the most beloved silent screen clowns among modern day fans of classic film comedy.

Chase boasted a lengthy resume, including actor/director/writer and producer, from the 1910s straight into the 1930s. With stints at the Al Christie studios and, most importantly, Mack Sennett's Keystone Studios, it was his arrival at the Hal Roach studios in 1920 where he would reach superstardom in comedy film history. Beginning with one reelers and later moving on to two-reel shorts for Roach, the Chase comedies were centered on situational comedy rather than overt slapstick. Chase knew comedy like no one else did and it clearly shows in his films as both an actor and director.

That Slapstick Show! returns to the great outdoors over at The City Reliquary with its second annual Celebrity Film Roast. Sit back and relax while we honor one of the true comedy masterminds of the silent film era. This special screening will include some rarely seen shorts, so don't miss out—and bring your cinephile friends!

Live accompaniment will be provided by ragtime pianist Charlie Judkins!

Also: There will be a mini tag sale featuring VHS tapes, DVDs, books, filmic collectibles and other goodies...all from the personal collection of That Slapstick Show! co-organizer and cohost Tommy José Stathes."

The City Reliquary is located at 370 Metropolitan Avenue in Bugs Bunny's hometown of Brooklyn, NY. The Celebrity Roast Of Charley Chase starts at 8:00 p.m. For the most up-to-date information, please call (718) 782-4842 or e-mail The City Reliquary at

For more info on Mr. Chase's highly varied directorial career, see Lame Brains And Lunatics: The Good, The Bad And The Forgotten Of Silent Comedy by historian Steve Massa. For a comprehensive look at Charley's later work, there's The Charley Chase Talkies 1929-1940 by James L. Neibaur.

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