The Ups and Downs (1914)

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Before he teamed up with Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy already had a long career in comedy films. While it has been said that he frequently played comic "heavies," in reality Hardy didn't always play the bad guy (perhaps his most famous turn in this type of role would be opposite his future partner Laurel in 1920's Lucky Dog). This Pokes and Jabbs film is one of the first times Hardy is seen playing the heavy. He is a villainous character called Shifty Mike who is trying to force himself on innocent Ethel (Ethel Burton), the daughter of the wealthy Plaid Jabbs (Bobby Burns). Jabbs comes to his daughter's rescue and gives Mike a well-deserved thrashing. Mike swears revenge and somehow gets Ethel's sweetheart, Pokes (Walter Stull), embroiled in his plot. Pokes needs a job so he and Ethel can marry and he is unaware that he is being paid to toss a missile into Jabbs' window. Of course, it all turns out badly for Pokes, and somehow the missile winds up getting back into his hands before exploding. Jabbs tosses him out the window and falls right on top of Mike, who once again is forcing himself on Ethel. So, in spite of himself, Pokes saves the girl.