The Nickel-Hopper 1926

The Nickelhopper

Partially written by Stan Laurel and Hal Roach, produced by Hal and directed by F. Richard Yates who also directed THE EXTRA GIRL (1923) this is a fabulously funny film. What a cast! Mabel Normand as the title character, a girl who works in a nickel-a-dance dive. She is described by a title card as “A girl who chased the bluebird of happiness but never caught a feather.” Her good for nothing father is played by Michael Visaroff, who in 1931 would be the nervous innkeeper who tried to prevent Dwight Frye from going to Count Dracula’s castle. The guy pounding the drums in the dancehall is Oliver Hardy, still one year away from his official teaming with Stan Laurel. Also in the cast, under a porkpie hat and behind a set of false teeth is Boris Karloff. Yes, I said Boris Karloff! Introduced as a “big bohunk” (an antiquated derogatory term for an unskilled labourer from Eastern Europe) Karloff tries to impress Mabel by flashing a ten dollar bill (admittedly a lot of money in those days) but she tosses the bill to a blind beggar. Karloff tries to steal the bill back but is spotted by a cop and chased out of the picture. A rich guy (Theodore von Eltz) spots Mabel but before they can live happily ever after there is a case of mistaken identity, a mad chase involving Mabel, her dad, the rich guy and his father (James Finlayson!). Since this is a comedy you KNOW there has to be a happy ending but there are a lot of laughs before we get to it! This is not an easy film to find on video (probably due to the 3 reel 37 minute running time) but it is well worth looking for. All these years later it is still just as hilarious as when it was new….. by reptilicus (Vancouver, Canada)

Directors: F. Richard Jones, Hal Yates
Writers: Frank Butler, Stan Laurel

Producer: Hal Roach
Stars: Mabel Normand, Michael Visaroff, Theodore von Eltz, Boris Karloff, Oliver Hardy

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Author: Old Boy

Love the past and the future but live in the present