Hats Off (1927)

Sub-Genres - Slapstick  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy can't even tell whose hat is whose, so it's no surprise when they lose their jobs as dishwashers. But it isn't long before they once again obtain employment, this time selling washing machines. Their duties involve dragging a sample machine from door to door. One woman (Anita Garvin) mtions them to come to her door. It's up a very, very high flight of steps, but they make it up there, machine in tow, only to find out that the woman just has a letter she wants them to post. Then when they get back down the stairs she calls them up again -- she forgot to stamp the envelope. Back on the street, another woman (Dorothy Coburn) really wants a demonstration...but she lives back up those steps, so a frustrated Stan kicks her. Angrily, she hits Ollie and leaves the two arguing. Once again they have a mix up with their hats, which spreads a whole streetful of passersby, with everyone mangling everyone else's hats. A steamroller comes by and runs over the washing machine and the crowd of hat destroyers are all arrested -- except for Stan and Ollie, who are still getting their now-raggedy hats on the wrong heads. Sadly, this is the one Laurel and Hardy short that appears to be a lost film -- a brief look at the situations it contains shows how much was borrowed from it in later pictures (the hat switching and reciprocal destruction are only a couple of examples). The stairs in this film -- which are located in the Silverlake district of Los Angeles and still exist today -- were also used in the boys' Academy Award-winning 1934 short The Music Box.