Goodness, a Ghost (1940)

Article 4604 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 8-10-2014
Directed by Harry D’Arcy
Featuring Harry Langdon
Country: USA
What it is: Comedy short

A sound effects man gets an acting break to play a cop while wearing his grandfather’s police uniform. However, the ghost of his grandfather shows up and insists that if he’s going to wear the uniform, he has live up to the standards of a real cop, and won’t let him back out when he’s confronted by dangerous criminals.

I’m going to start out by saying that I’m not familiar with Harry Langdon’s work from the silent era; reportedly, he was at his peak during that era and his sound work doesn’t live up to it. Therefore, I don’t really have that benchmark with which to compare this one. I say this because I get the sense that fans of the comic are appalled by this one, and though I don’t find the short particularly good (it’s passable at best), I don’t find it awful. It does seem to go for easy and obvious slapstick gags, and the poker game is perhaps the sequence that I found the most amusing. Still, I find if I imagine someone like Buster Keaton being stuck in this role, I can sense the disappointment fans of Langdon might feel at this one.


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