16 November 2015 | boblipton
Hunting for a Series
Irvin Cobb takes Governor Oscar Apfel duck hunting. He figures if the great man has a good time, a cushy job will will result.
Until I saw this short subject on TCM, I had no idea that Hal Roach tried out Cobb for short subjects. The IMDb lists three others in 1934, which I also have never heard of. Roach was still trying to produce quality short subjects, but within a year he would decide he could not make any money in them and give up.
As for this one, it is not top-notch Roach, and a lot of the gags are standard ones or depend on photographic effects. There is an attempt to build some byplay between Cobb and Apfel a la Laurel & Hardy, but it doesn't come off. Cobb comes equipped with a sister and idiot nephew and there isn't enough screen time to build anything more than a series of gags.
It's impossible to say what, if anything, the Roach staff intended for this series, but the family set-up indicates that they had Edgar Kennedy's "Average Man" series at RKO as a model. Perhaps it was that thought of not knowing what they wanted that kept this one from being more than intermittently funny. I suspect they just plugged on ahead regardless of the results.