Clothes Make the Man (1915)

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Raymond McKee is the star of this one-reel Edison comedy. Ethel (Jean Dumar) has two suitors, Harold (McKee) and Kearney (Yale Benner). Although she prefers Harold, she agrees to go rowing with the persistent Kearney. Harold finds out about the date and becomes depressed, not realizing that the pair, along with his other pals, are planning a surprise party for him. He sends his pants out to be pressed and not long afterwards, one of the other boarders falls asleep with a lit cigarette and sets the house on fire. When Harold's friends arrive, he refuses to come out because he has no pants and then the fire is discovered. Kearney, wanting to impress Ethel, goes to rescue Harold, who is on the second floor. But Harold knocks him out, takes his pants, and emerges from the burning building carrying his unconscious rival. Ethel is impressed by Harold's heroic act. Oliver Hardy -- Stan Laurel's future comic sidekick -- has a bit part in blackface as the janitor of the boarding house where Harold lives.