SPRINGTIME SAPS (Weiss Brothers-Artclass released 1929)
Writer/Director: Les Goodwins,
Cast: Snub Pollard, Marvin Loback.
When Harry “Snub” Pollard was rather unceremoniously dumped from the Hal Roach Studios roster in 1924, he first returned to vaudeville, where he actually did quite well. When he returned to Hollywood in 1926, he decided to go into independent production of his own comedy shorts with release by the fledgling Weiss Brothers- Artclass, who just that year had decided to go into the production and distribution of comedy shorts and serials. Snub Pollard Comedies Inc. made six shorts for the 1926-27 season before going under and sending Snub back to the stage.
In 1928, the Brothers Weiss beckoned again, and back came Pollard for another series of two-reelers, this time partnered with Marvin Loback in what was unquestionably an attempt to, how can one put this delicately, RIP-OFF the Laurel and Hardy teaming currently going on at Pollard’s former employer. Not just ripping off the concept of Stan and Ollie, but even remaking certain of the Boys pictures! Even when they’re not “borrowing” plotlines from the L and H films, they’re lifting whole gag situations and sequences from other comedies.
SPRINGTIME SAPS actually has what may pass for an original plotline for one of these knock-offs, but the knowing comedy fan will recognize bits taken from YOU’RE DARN TOOTIN’, PAY DAY (yes, not only were Laurel and Hardy not safe, Chaplin was fair game too) and, the most memorable and completely off-color gag is lifted from a Mack Sennett Taxi Man comedy we showed last year called TAXI FOR TWO. Yep, the notorious “hosiery saleswoman with the fake leg samples sticking them out the car window” gag, done with even less propriety than in the Sennett short. In fact, SPRINGTIME SAPS must have flown so low under the censor radar that all sorts of vulgarity gets by, watch for the man who gives Snub the finger!
Ironically, these Pollard Weiss Brother shorts were some of the last silent comedies to be released, the final ones going out into early 1930. There were still many small-town theaters that hadn’t the money to re-equip for sound, and independents like the Weiss Brothers did what they could to fill that niche’ while it lasted. These films were Snub Pollard’s last hurrah as a starring comic, but he would spend three more decades as a busy supporting and bit player, working right up to his death in 1961.
RICHARD M ROBERTS
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