Head Waiter (1919)

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While he didn't have the charisma of a Chaplin or Lloyd, Larry Semon was immensely popular in his day, and this two-reeler received glowing reviews. Semon starts off the film in the classic kind of character favored by his contemporaries: a down-on-his-luck character in need of a meal. His efforts -- all of them unsuccessful -- bring him to a café, where he eats and tries to escape without paying. The pretty cashier (Lucille Carlisle, then billed under her real name of Lucille Zintheo) feels sorry for him and pays his bill, then sends him to an employment agency. Later, the café's head waiter is fired and the rest of the crew angrily go on strike. The employment agency sends over eight men -- Larry included -- to work there. But the men run afoul of the strikers and only Larry manages to make it through. As a result, he is made head waiter. The strikers storm the café and get their hands on Larry. Just then, the scene dissolves to an office at Vitagraph, where Semon is listening to a writer relate the story. When Semon tells him the tale isn't rough enough, the writer falls in a heap. Oliver Hardy -- eight years before he teamed up with Stan Laurel -- can be seen in a small role as a cop.