The Mystery of the Leaping Fish (1916) is a short film starring Douglas Fairbanks and Bessie Love. In this unusually broad comedy for Fairbanks, the acrobatic leading man plays “Coke Ennyday,” a cocaine-shooting detective parody of Sherlock Holmes given to injecting himself with cocaine from a bandolier of syringes worn across his chest and liberally helping himself to the contents of a hatbox-sized round container of white powder labeled “COCAINE” on his desk.
The movie, written by D.W. Griffith, Tod Browning, and Anita Loos, displays a surreally lighthearted attitude toward cocaine and opium. Fairbanks otherwise lampoons Sherlock Holmes with checkered detective hat, coat, and even car, along with the aforementioned propensity for injecting cocaine whenever he feels momentarily down, then laughing with delight. In addition to observing visitors at his door on what appears to be a closed-circuit television referred to in the title cards as his “scientific periscope,” a clock-like sign on the wall reminds him to choose between “EATS, DRINKS, SLEEPS, and DOPE”.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York City screened a restored 35mm print of the film on January 10, 2009.[citation need
Directors: John Emerson, Christy Cabanne
Story by: Tod Browning
Production company: Triangle Film Corporation
Screenplay: Tod Browning, Anita Loos
Stars: Douglas Fairbanks, Bessie Love, Allan Sears