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  • When Christine McIntyre calls off their wedding, Shemp Howard tries to kill himself. Failing, he gets gangster Dick Curtis to kill him, but to do it as a surprise.... whereupon Miss McIntyre returns, and so does Shemp's desire for life.

    Movie comics have been trying to kill themselves at least since Max Linder's 1905 short, LE PENDU; Harold Lloyd made several attempts on his own life and although the Production Code cut down on that sort of thing. This short is based on a Charley Chase short, TIME OUT FOR TROUBLE; given that Chase redid the same situation every eight years or so, it probably wasn't the first time for him.

    There are some very strong gags early on, when Shemp and Miss McIntyre are in a hardware store that sells wedding cakes. After that it turns more conventional and your enjoyment will be based on how much you enjoy Shemp's tic-filled reactions.
  • OFF AGAIN, ON AGAIN is a near scene-for scene remake of a classic 1937 Charley Chase short, TIME OUT FOR TROUBLE. Shemp and his fiancé are engaged to be married. After Shemp saves a gangster's girlfriend from a near-fatal accident, a photographer snaps their picture and it ends up in the daily paper with an erroneous byline. After seeing the paper, Shemp's fiancé calls off the wedding, leaving our hero so destitute that he plans to bump himself off. After several unsuccessful attempts, Shemp calls on the gangster to 'snuff out his candle', so to speak. However, Shemp has a change of heart when his former fiancé returns and admits it was all a misunderstanding. Shemp frantically tries to save himself from extermination. Again, Dick Curtis plays the role of the gangster.
  • Back in the mid-1930s, Hal Roach Studios decided to stop making short films. They moved Laurel & Hardy into full-length pictures and got rid of some of their shorts-only actors, such as Charley Chase. Chase got another least on life by moving to Columbia Pictures, though the quality of the shorts were no where near as good as the Roach shorts had been. Now, only a few years later, many of Chase's Columbia films were remade and starred Shemp Howard. "Off Again, On Again" is Howard's remake of Chase's "Time Out For Trouble" (1938).

    Though a misunderstanding, Shemp's fiancee calls off their wedding. Despondent, Shemp is driven to suicide...though he's too stupid to actually succeed. So, he hires a gangster to kill him...though naturally when he learns he doesn't need to kill himself and his fiancee DOES want to marry him after all, he has a devil of a time getting the killer to relent.

    This sort of plot's been used many times...though if you think about it, it's a really stupid idea. Chase's version of the story wasn't very good...Shemp's isn't any better (or worse).