Traveling Salesman (1921)

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Even before the Labor Day scandal that ruined him, 1921 was a tough year for Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. Arbuckle's contract with Paramount reportedly earned him one million dollars (worth many times that today), and producer Adolph Zukor wanted to get his money's worth. As a result, the rotund comic was put to work nonstop, sometimes at the expense of quality. This picture, based on the James Forbes stage play starring Frank McIntyre (who also starred in the 1916 film version), was obviously made cheaply. In addition, there wasn't the time (and perhaps there wasn't the desire) to add much of the slapstick that had brought Arbuckle fame. So it's a relatively low key Fatty who stars here as traveling salesman, or drummer, Bob Blake. While on the trail to Grand Rapids, Blake -- a self-professed woman-hater -is the victim of a practical joke and winds up leaving the train before his stop. It is pouring rain and he breaks into an empty house to spend the night. When he tracks down the home's owner, Beth Elliot (Betty Ross Clarke) to pay for his lodging, he falls in love for the first time. He also discovers a plot to take away Beth's property. Blake vanquishes the villains -- Franklin Royce (Frank Holland) and Martin Drury (Wilton Taylor) -and wins Beth's hand. this picture, released only a few weeks after Arbuckle's, last one, The Dollar A Year Man, received decidedly mixed reviews. No copy is known to have survived.

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Keywords

bad-guy, con/scam, damsel-in-distress, good-guy, land-scheme, love, rescue, salesperson, storm