The Guilty Ones (1916)

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Although it's likely that he had directed films for Vim before, this one-reel comedy marks the first time Oliver Hardy was given a director credit. Along with that, it was announced in the trades that he now had his own company, which continued until the studio closed down a few months later. Hardy also stars in this film, along with Kate Price, and Billy Ruge -- Hardy's co-star from the Plump and Runt series -- has a supporting role. Price is an ex-con who decides to go straight and becomes a newspaper reporter. She is given the assignment of interviewing a stranger who has come to town, and she's surprised to discover it's Babe (Hardy), her former partner in crime. Babe convinces her to help him out with a scheme, and they place a newspaper ad that says a questionable deal has been discovered, and if the party wants to keep it a secret, he must pay Babe off. Dozens of men, believing the ad is meant for them, shower Babe with money. Babe and Kate are ready to leave town, but they're caught by an amateur detective (Ruge).