They Bought a Boat (1914)

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In this Lubin split-reel comedy, a young Oliver Hardy plays support to two long-forgotten comic actors. Jack Burns (Roy Byron) and Billy Hale (C.W. Ritchie) decide they must own a motorboat -- regardless of the fact that they know absolutely nothing about boating. Not only do they purchase the boat, they also buy themselves uniforms and hire a 300-pound cabin boy (Hardy). After being warned by an inspector, Captain Jack and Captain Billy load their craft with so much safety gear that it begins to sink. The cabin boy -- whose extreme avoirdupois isn't any help either -- tries working the pump but gets it backwards. As a result, even more water is pumped in instead of out. When the boat hits the bottom of the ocean, which isn't very far down, an old mariner (James Levering) wades up to the two pseudo-captains and suggests that they walk to shore. Jack and Billy decide that taking up crocheting is a much better idea.