Dk Canada’s oh so enjoyable Monsters in the Movies dabbles with a bit of comedy as I delve deeper into the chapter on Monstrous Apes. For today’s entry I got to enjoy some comedic gold from Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy as they take some work in a circus and find themselves babysitting Ethel the Chimpanzee (Charles Gemora in an ape-suit and definitely not chimpanzee size) and some acrobatic fleas.
Running a brisk twenty-five minutes the short packs in as much comedy as it can, as the pair are charged with looking after Ethel and the flea circus. Intent on getting a good night’s sleep, they book into a hotel, where the landlord (Billy Gilbert) is upset about the possibility of a philandering wife, also named Ethel (Dorothy Granger).
Filled with genuinely funny moments, the iconic screen duo show why their legacy has endured as strongly as it has with physical gags, great lines, and outrageous bits.
Sure the man in a suit is a little big to be considered a chimpanzee, just calling her an ape would have worked better for the story, but that’s a minor nitpick, considering you can still tell that it is a man in a suit.
Having the simian and the wife share the same name makes for some great confusion as the story nears its conclusion, and works better than the Superman-Batman moment with the same reveal.
It’s simple, it’s quick, and it’s funny. There’s no higher message here, no big intention. This is a short simply meant to entertain and make you laugh at the very funny occurrences.
And it still works.
More so than some of the monster movies that were made around the same time featuring a man in a suit, simply because they were playing for laughs instead of scares.
I have been remiss in my screening of Laurel and Hardy films, which is a shame, because each one that I have watched for the blog over the years has entertained me. I think I really do need to track more of them down. They are timeless, entertaining, and yes, still very funny.
It’s also a delight to discover that DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies can take a break from the blood, gore, shlock and scares, and recognize the fact that some monsters were just made to make us laugh.
Don’t believe me? Pick up a copy today, and find something entertaining to watch tonight!