Stage Hand (1920)

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While this Larry Semon two-reeler is short on plot, it's particularly rich in the kind of absurd slapstick gags at which Semon excelled. Semon is a stage hand whose incompetence is exacerbated by the presence of a mischievous monkey. Things go from bad to worse when the stage hand lights his cigarette and tosses the lit match on the floor. It ignites some gun powder and the explosion literally blows the pants right off the harassed stage manager (Frank Alexander). The stage manager tries to enter a dressing room to put on another pair of pants but is shoved back out by a group of chorus girls and winds up on-stage. He angrily goes after the stage hand and the ensuing chase ruins the whole show. The whole troupe now goes after the stage hand who somehow manages to get away unscathed. A brief shot in the audience reveals the presence of Oliver Hardy, who would later become Semon's foil for a number of films, and who, later on in the 1920s, would become the heftier half of Laurel and Hardy.