"First I want to say that there are NO LINER NOTES in this set, you will want to print this review for reference on what is on each disc.
This may not be the "best of Charley Chase", but it is VERY GOOD! I don't think there is a clinker in the bunch! This is a comprehensive presentation of the early works of Charley Chase (Parrott). His persona starts out raw and refines itself. His unique humor starts to build from short to short. It is interesting to see the slapstick Keystone influence in PEANUTS AND BULLETS, a rather un Charley Chase like short. But that quickly disappears in the very next film presented here, LOVE IN ARMOR. Charley was clearly bucking the trend at Keystone and going more for situational comedy over pie-in-the face humor. His Keystone Comedies seem even more sophisticated than Chaplin's Keystone comedies. They are very story driven.
The King Bee Comedy at the end of disc 1 MARRIED TO ORDER features Oliver Hardy and plays out like a Hal Roach comedy.
The documentary at the end of disc 1 is best watched after viewing all four discs as it makes references to comedies on discs 2, 3 & 4. I found the audio mix poorly done in the documentary. The mood music is overwhelming the interviews, making it hard to hear what they say. I listened to this on two different systems & came up with the same results.
Discs 2 & 3 would take some dedication to get through all at once. Each is very long, over 150 minutes, and with 10 minute comedies, some repeating the theme of romance triangles several times, it could get monotonous. I would suggest breaking up the viewing of these discs for better enjoyment. The only problem is that if you try to start in the middle, you can not continuously watch them, at the end of the short your player will go back to the first menu & you have to select the title menu and then select the next short. One quick short-cut around this is to push your "Next" button on the remote before the DVD production credit ends.
Disc 3 does contain my favorite short in this set: "HELLO BABY" (1925). What may sound like a typical 'Man-takes-care-of-baby' plot is really full of many unexpected comedic plot twists & turns that stray away from the original plot line. And it all happens in 10 minutes! Any attempt to explain it here would ruin the impact.
Disc 4 may be missing Charley on screen, but his presence as director is definitely felt. It is a pleasure to see his brother James (Paul) Parrott being directed by Charley, and Snub Pollard has always been a favorite of mine. Their shorts here are some of their best work, no doubt helped by Charley's direction. I also caught Our Gang's Jackie Condon making a brief cameo appearance in a Will Rogers short, "JUS PASSIN THROUGH" (1923). It is quite a long short (27 minutes) & the comedy plot has been repeated many times by other comedians, so it became predictable. Jackie's brief appearance is an example of how actors traveled from set to set on the "lot of fun". Unlike the other two Our Gang member appearances, there is no plot reason for Jackie being there, I bet he just dropped by to watch & they put him in the film.
Overall the shorts look good to great, some are a little light. One disappointing title is JUST A MINUTE on disc 2, this is mastered from a video tape that has tracking problems. I guess they could not get access to the original film.
The music used here is not traditional silent film music & I am unsure as to how I like it, other than kept at a low volume. Some compositions seem to compliment the film, while others seem to be general mood themes that ignore what is happening on-screen. I would actually suggest watching all of these shorts with their commentary tracks turned on (go to the "More" option in the menu & select the commentary option for all). These historians are very knowledgeable & well prepared to talk about the films. Find out who the then-popular athletes are that make guest appearances, or who that girl is (it's Fay Wray).
Sadly some films are lost, and others like SETTLED AT THE SEASIDE, DON'T FORGET, SEEING NELLIE HOME, & ACCIDENTAL ACCIDENTS are presented in fragments. Watch-able complete sequences, but not complete films. On the good side, there is no duplication between this set and the KINO sets. You will be getting all new material here.
After I finished viewing all four discs I felt a little sad, there was no more to watch. I got spoiled for a moment with some 10 HOURS of new films & documentaries to watch (O.K. I had seen some of these in the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum Edison Theater).
Yes, this a 10 hour set!
DISC ONE: (2hrs, 24min, 10sec) CHARLES PARROTT AT KEYSTONE (AND KING BEE!)
PEANUTS AND BULLETS 1/30/15 Music by the Snark Ensemble 12:13 LOVE IN ARMOR 3/11/15 Music by Ben Model 13:29 SETTLED AT THE SEASIDE 03/29/15 Music by Redwine Jazz 6:32 THE RENT JUMPERS 04/08/15 Music by Redwine Jazz 11:01 LOVE, LOOT, AND CRASH 04/24/15 Music by Ben Model 12:21 A VERSATILE VILLAIN 05/29/15 Music by Ben Model 13:00 HE WOULDN'T STAY DOWN 05/30/15 Music by Ben Model 14:23 MARRIED TO ORDER 10/30/20 w/ OLIVER HARDY (King Bee Comedies) Music by the Snark Ensemble 16:11
Bonus: "THE PARROTT CHASE" 45 minute documentary featurette (***Best if viewed after watching all 4 discs***) and optional audio commentaries on all shorts
DISC TWO: (2hrs; 39min; 44sec) CHARLEY CHASE BECOMES JIMMY JUMP
AT FIRST SIGHT 01/06/24 Music by the Snark Ensemble 9:57 ONE OF THE FAMILY 01/26/24 Music by the Snark Ensemble 10:13 JUST A MINUTE 02/03/24 Music by Ben Model 12:17 POWDER AND SMOKE 02/10/24 Music by the Snark Ensemble 9:57 HARD KNOCKS 03/02/24 Music by the Snark Ensemble 10:41 DON'T FORGET 03/23/24 Surviving extract Music by the Snark Ensemble 2:59 THE FRAIDY CAT 03/30/24 w/ OUR GANG - Music by Ben Model 10:46 PUBLICITY PAYS 05/04/24 Music by the Snark Ensemble 9:55 YOUNG OLDFIELD 06/22/24 w/ Our Gang's JOE COBB - Music by the Snark Ensemble 9:41 STOLEN GOODS 06/29/24 Music by the Snark Ensemble 10:30 JEFFRIES, JR. 07/06/24 Music by the Snark Ensemble 9:27 A TEN-MINUTE EGG 7/20/24 Music by the Snark Ensemble 9:56 SEEING NELLIE HOME 07/27/24 Partial reconstruction from surviving material, Music by Ben Model 5:43 OUTDOOR PAJAMAS 09/14/24 Music by the Snark Ensemble 8:38 SITTIN' PRETTY 09/28/24 Music by the Snark Ensemble 10:15 TOO MANY MAMMAS 10/12/24 Music by the Snark Ensemble 9:00
ACCIDENTAL ACCIDENTS 11/9/24 surviving extract Music by Ben Model 2:12 EVOLUTION OF A GAG: tracing the history of the mirror gag 7:37 and optional audio commentaries on all shorts
DISC THREE: (2hrs; 46min; 14sec) JIMMY JUMP BECOMES CHARLEY CHASE
THE POOR FISH 12/07/24 Music by the Snark Ensemble 9:30 THE RATS KNUCKLES 01/04/25 Music by Ben Model 9:17 HELLO BABY! 1/1/8/25 Music by the Snark Ensemble 10:29 FIGHTING FLUID 02/01/25 Music by the Snark Ensemble 9:50 SHOULD HUSBANDS BE WATCHED? 03/14/25 Music by the Snark Ensemble 9:34 IS MARRIAGE THE BUNK? 03/29/25 Music by the Snark Ensemble 9:54 BAD BOY 04/12/25 Charley Chase's first surviving two-reel short Music by the Snark Ensemble 18:24 BIG RED RIDING HOOD 04/26/25 Music by the Snark Ensemble 9:47 LOOKING FOR SALLY The last appearance of Jimmy Jump 05/10/25 Music by Ben Model 20:20 NO FATHER TO GUIDE HIM 09/06/25 Music by the Snark Ensemble 19:09
Bonus: "THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE" music featurette and optional audio commentaries on all shorts
DISC FOUR: (2hrs; 10min; 05sec) DIRECTED BY CHARLEY PARROTT
A ROLLING STONE Billy West 01/20/19 Music by Ben Model 18:48 THE FLIRTS Harry Mann & Jimmie Adams 04/08/19 Music by the West End Jazz Band 21:38 THE DUMB BELL Snub Pollard 07/16/22 Music by Ben Redwine and Redwine Jazz 9:23 SOFT PEDAL Paul Parrott 12/16/22 Music by Ben Model 9:50 COURTSHIP OF MILES SANDWICH Snub Pollard 06/24/23 Music by the West End Jazz Band 19:12 JUS PASSIN THROUGH Will Rogers Music by Ben Model 27:05 (1923) with a cameo by Our Gang's Jackie Condon. DEAR OLD PAL Snub Pollard and Paul Parrott, the last film directed by Charles Parrott before he became Charley Chase 11/11/23 Music by Redwine Jazz 9:38
Bonus: Interview with Charley's daughter June Chase Hargis 14:31 and optional audio commentaries on all shorts
Please note that any pre-orders you may have already placed will not be valid--because of the change of distributor, the set will have a new UPC symbol and will be treated by retailers as a new release, so you will need to re-order all over again.
VCI has taken a gamble on releasing this set during hard economic times. Lets all support their effort and buy this great set. And thanks to All Day for assembling this collection! Great job in trying to put as complete a collection of Charlie's early work together from surviving prints as possible, and not double-dipping from the KINO releases.
This 10 hour set costs less than a dollar a short!"
Recognition so truly deserved
D. Yarbrough | Decatur, AL USA | 11/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Cited by many as the fourth big comedian of the silent era (after Chaplin, Lloyd, and Keaton), Charley Chase was a multifaceted artist who, like so many others, is sadly overlooked today. Chase, born Charles Parrott, was a talented actor, director, producer, and editor with a career that spanned from 1910 until his death in 1940.
This 4-disc set features over 40 rare comedy shorts that cannot be missed for the price.
Included in the set:
Disc 1 (Charles Parrott at Keystone):
Peanuts and Bullets - (1915) Love in Armor - (1915) Settled at the Seaside - (1915) The Rent Jumpers - (1915) Love, Loot and Crash - (1915) A Versatile Villain - (1915) He Wouldn't Stay Down -(1915) Married to Order - (1920)
Bonus Features: The Parrott Chase (45 Minute Documentary)
Disc 2 (Charley Chase Becomes Jimmy Jump):
At First Sight - (1924) One of the Family - (1924) Just a Minute - (1924) Powder and Smoke - (1924) Hard Knocks - (1924) Don't Forget - (1924) The Fraidy Cat - (1924) Publicity Pays - (1924) Young Oldfield - (1924) Stolen Goods - (1924) Jeffries, Jr - (1924) A Ten-Minute Egg - (1924) Seeing Nellie Home - (1924) Outdoor Pajamas - (1924) Sittin' Pretty - (1924) Too Many Mamas - (1924) Accidental Accidents - (1924)
Disc 3 (Jimmy Jump Becomes Charley Chase ):
The Poor Fish - (1924) The Rat's Knuckles - (1925) Hello Baby! - (1925) Fighting Fluid - (1925) Should Husbands be Watched - (1925) Is Marriage the Bunk? - (1925) Bad Boy - (1925) Big Red Riding Hood - (1925) Looking for Sally - (1925) No Father to Guide Him - (1925)
Bonus Features: The Sounds of Silence Music Featurette
Disc 4 (Directed by Charley Parrott):
Jus' Passin Through - (1923) A Rolling Stone - (1919) The Flirts -(1919) The Dumb Bell - (1922) Soft Pedal - (1926) Courtship of Miles Sandwich - (1923) Dear Ol' Pal - (1923)
Bonus Features: Interview With Charley's Daughter June Chase Hargis"
GOOD NEWS: Coming This Summer to DVD!
Daniel J. Mccormick | Madtown, WI | 01/27/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"David Kalat, the head-man at All Day Entertainment, now reports that the "Becoming Charley Chase" set will be released this Summer, thanks to the lovely people at VCI Entertainment. Stay tuned to Amazon & pre-order this set at your first opportunity!!!
In the meantime, please show your support for silent comedy on DVD, and order up previous releases from All Day & VCI. Check out "Weiss-O-Rama", "Silent Comedy Mafia #1", "Harry Langdon: Lost & Found", and "American Slapstick" volumes 1 & 2."
"Becoming Charley Chase ... Charles Parrott ... VCI Ent. (20
J. Lovins | Missouri-USA | 06/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"VCI Entertainment presents "BECOMING CHARLEY CHASE" (1915-1925) (Silent) (460 mins/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) --- Charley Chase was an American comedian, screenwriter and film director, best known for his work in Hal Roach short film comedies --- While Charley Chase is far from being as famous as "The Big Three" ('Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd) today, he's highly respected as one of the "greats" by fans of silent comedy.
Charley Chase after a brief career in vaudeville entered Al Christie's movie studio as a comedian in 1913 before settling down at Keystone Films the following year --- Chase's career in films did not start off with remarkable success --- He played bit parts in a large number of short comedies, appearing with Charlie Chaplin and Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, among others, before he finally got his chance at Hal Roach Studios as a director, before Roach realized what a gifted performer he had hired. "I can play anything!" Chase once told Roach, and eventually his claim was confirmed --- Although Mack Sennett's Keystone studio has earned legendary status as the ultimate factory of comic invention, it can hardly be denied that Roach developed a more refined style of comedy which obviously fitted Chase better (indeed, Sennett's unsophisticated product increasingly lost favor with the movie-going public by the early 1920s, while Roach's studio flourished). During five years, 1924-29, he starred in nearly a hundred two-reelers, most of which were directed by Leo McCarey.
Chase usually portrayed an apparently gentle and charming man who in reality, it eventually turned out, was quite a loser after all. His character was largely inspired by Lloyd Hamilton, another neglected comedian whom Chase had directed in several two-reelers. Among Charley's most memorable shorts are Innocent Husbands, Mighty Like a Moose, and Movie Night.
Must send my complements to Paul J. Mular the reviewer from San Carlos, California for his in depth review with inclusive titles, year and date, plus time and music which has been added this year 2009 --- Totally agree that we need to support VCI Entertainment for this silent comedy set and other nostalgic releases --- Also own WEISS-O-RAMA collection, but please do check out VCI's catalog and website for other wonderful titles and give them our support.
SPECIAL FEATURES: 1. The Parrott Chase (45 Minute Documentary) 2. The Sounds of Silence Music Featurette 3. Interview With Charley's Daughter June Chase Hargis
BIOS: Charley Chase (aka: Charles Joseph Parrott) Date of Birth: 20 October 1893 - Baltimore, Maryland Date of Death: 20 June 1940 - Hollywood, California
Hats off and thanks to Robert Blair and his staff at VCI Entertainment --- VCI was named in Variety and Hollywood Reporter as the first company to produce and release motion pictures directly to the home marketplace --- order your copy now from Amazon or VCI Entertainment where there are plenty of copies available on DVD, stay tuned once again for top notch releases --- VCI are experts in releasing long forgotten films and treasures to the collector -- looking forward to more Nostalgic Collections.
Total Time: 460 mins on DVD ~ VCI Entertainment ~ (07/28/2009)"
Long Awaited Chase Set Is Almost Perfect.
Chip Kaufmann | Asheville, N.C. United States | 07/29/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Charley Chase began his career as Charles Parrott (his real name) at Keystone in 1914 where he worked with Arbuckle, Normand, and Chaplin in small unbilled parts. He turned to direction at roughly the same time and eventually went to work for Hal Roach in the early 1920s where he met a young fellow named Leo McCarey. Together they made a 1924 short called SITTIN PRETTY which has an almost identical version of the mirror gag McCarey would later make famous in DUCK SOUP (It features Charley and his younger brother James Parrott who would also become a comedy director). This 4 DVD extravaganza clocks in at 450 minutes and covers his career as comedian and director from Keystone to the end of the Hal Roach era.
He became Charley Chase (hence the name of the set) to distinguish the comedian from the director. His onscreen character bears a remarkable resemblance to Dick Van Dyke who must have been familiar with Chase's comedies. It was initially based on a once popular comedian named Lloyd Hamilton. He became Roach's number one comedy headliner until he was eclipsed by Laurel & Hardy in the late 20s. He continued to act and direct (at Columbia including a few 3 Stooges shorts in the late 30s like VIOLENT IS THE WORD FOR CURLY) until his early death from a heart attack at the age of 46. That was in 1940. The various audio commentaries on the shorts and the brief bio THE PARROTT CHASE provide excellent background information.
This set has been years in the making as some of the early material was very hard to come by and there were a number of complications over who was going to release it. Thanks to Allday Entertainment and to VCI Entertainment for finally getting the job done. Chase had a significant influence on screen humor directing it away from outright slapstick and more into the situational comedy we know today. It's astonishing how much of his late teens and early 20s stuff got recycled by others. My initial reaction is one of admiration tinged by a touch of sadness over how he has been forgotten. Hopefully this set will change that. The only thing that keeps it from being a perfect release is the lack of liner notes or at least a listing of what shorts are on which disc. Still a 5 star effort."