Public Ghost No. 1 (1935)

Article 3260 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-23-2010
Posting Date: 7-18-2010
Directed by Harold Law
Featuring Charley Chase, Joyce Compton, Edwin Maxwell
Country: USA
What it is: Comic short

An unemployed man searching for a job mistakes a lunatic inventor for a powerful executive. The inventor talks the man into partnering with him as a professional ghost. When the man is hired by a realtor to drive out residents of a newly-bought home, complications ensue.

This turned out to be a very entertaining comedy short, thanks in part to a scene-stealing performance by Edwin Maxwell as the crazed inventor. It never tries to be scary; it’s obvious the ghosts are being faked from the beginning. Some of the tactics used to scare the residents are truly bizarre, including a silly banjo number, a dog in a skull mask blowing a duck call, and a recording of someone being shot in an argument. The biggest laughs surround the inventor’s Rube Goldberg-like fly exterminator. The story relies on some pretty outrageous coincidences, but that’s part of the amusement.


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