When Knights Were Cold (1923)

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In spite of its title, this Stan Laurel two-reel comedy is not a spoof on When Knights Were Bold, nor was it parodying When Knighthood Was in Flower (another working title for the short was When Knighthood was in Flour). It actually riffs on Robin Hood, and its original title was Rob 'Em Good. But shortly before the release of the Laurel film, Bull Montana came out with a comedy by the same name, necessitating a title change. Stan plays Lord Helpus, a "Slippery Knight." Because King Henry the 4711 (Harry deMore) is thought to have died, Prince Pluto (Stanhope Wheatcroft) seizes the throne and, just to make sure it sticks, holds Princess Elizabeth New Jersey (Catherine Bennett) hostage. Lord Helpus demands her release, so Pluto puts a bounty on his head. Out in the forest with his band of men, called the Raspberries, Lord Helpus finds a strange knight who gives him aid. When Lord Helpus is caught trying to rescue the princess, the stranger -- who turns out to be King Henry in disguise -- comes to the rescue. Laurel (who found bigger fame when he teamed up with Oliver Hardy) later on mentioned a gag in this film which he particularly liked -- an army of knights were charging on horseback...only they're on papier-mâché horses, with the knight's legs sticking out underneath. Too bad he didn't live to see the gag brought to life once again in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.