5 January 2013 | boblipton
Working on a New Style
Charley Chase spent his last four years working at the Columbia comedy shorts department -- this may come as a surprise to those of you who have only seen the Three Stooges. Working with ex-Sennett director Del Lord, he developed a comedy character midway between the frenetic, overacted style with over-the-top sound effects favored by Jules White and the style favored at Roach, where he had spent the previous fifteen years, a realistic style of comedy performance punctuated by gags which went mad.
MAN BITES LOVEBUG is very early in their collaboration and they have not got matters under control. The gags are impeccably performed, but the performances start over the top. There are too many asides. The performers start mugging for the camera as soon as they show up. The comedy effect is lessened by this. Still, the gags are well executed and it is interesting to watch as Chase and Lord work on integrating their styles.
Although these Charley Chase shorts have long been unavailable except for the occasional comedy festival, Columbia has released nine of them on DVD titled "Chase Shorts, Vol.1". They are well worth your consideration, even if you are unfamiliar with the comic. Besides, if they sell enough of these they may release the others, and then some of the shorts that Andy Clyde did at that studio.