Edison Bugg's Invention (1916)

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This slapstick comedy featured Raymond McKee and Oliver Hardy, and was released over a year after it was made (Lubin, the studio that produced it, was going out of business and continued releasing films for many months after it halted production). The members of the Tyretown fire department are hooked on pinochle -- even when an alarm goes off they are hard-pressed to leave their card game. To solve this dilemma, Edison Bugg (McKee) ties ropes to the chairs and attaches a counterweight -- at the press of a button, the chairs are all pulled out from under the card-playing firemen. Edison brings his girlfriend and some pals down to the station, but the other firemen embarrass him, so he pushes the button and dumps them all on their rear ends. A fight results and Bugg ends up the worse for wear. In the middle of the battle, an alarm goes off and the fire chief (Hardy) is found under the counterweight. The men pull the chief out and continue to beat up Bugg.