( From: Mr. Muckle )
If you are here on this page, you have ALREADY watched the MR. MUCKLE segment of W.C. Fields’ 1934 “IT’S A GIFT.” ( Honor bright! ) This is my entry for the “SEE YOU IN THE FALL” blogathon hosted by MovieMovieBlogBlog. Tell me, how many moments did you come up that were funny to you, or were Easter Egg’d sight gags? I’ve come up with sixteen. Count ‘em sixteen. If you have one that I missed, please let me know in my Comments section below. These are moments that made me laugh:
( 1. ) “I’ve got a piece of chalk. Do you want to play hopscotch?” – I think that’s little Jane Withers with chalk in her hand, asking him to play with her. Ahhh, the innocent happy expectant way she approaches him…and the gruff way he pushes her and blows her off is funny in a mean way. That a grown man is playing hopscotch with a little kid is funny to me. And how he shooos her away leads me to believe they play on a regular basis.
W.C. Fields plays Harold Bissonette.
( 2. ) Fields doesn’t realize the store clerk has already opened the door as he fumbles with his keys to open the door.
( 3. ) Fields’ walk. Those quick mincing steps he takes tickles me. He walks to the backroom where Everett the store clerk ( Tammany Young ) helps Fields take off his coat. The clerk lets the coat fall to the floor in a heap.
( 4. ) Fields puts his arm through the hole in his straw hat instead of the sleeve of his work coat. Why there’s a hole in the hat somebody will have to explain to me.
( 5. ) Fields puts his foot on a chair to read the paper and when he’s startled, he steps into a nearby garbage pail.
( 6. ) “OPEN THE DOOR FOR MR. MUCKLE! OPEN THE DOOR FOR MR. MUCKLE THE BLIND MAN!!”
When Fields yells those words in a hurried and frantic manner, the hijinks ensue. Everett, the store clerk, is slow on the uptake, so Fields rushes to open the door. His hat falls off. When he bends down to pick it up, Mr. Muckle busts through the glass door with his cane, saying:
“Ya got that door closed again, huh?”
( 7. ) Fields accidentally pushes Mr. Muckle into a stack of boxes. Mr. Muckle is blind and deaf…a double whammy.
( 8 . ) Fields has Mr. Muckle ( played by Charles Sellon ) settled in a nice safe spot. As he walks away Fields spots a display of light bulbs and walks back over to Mr. Muckle quietly imploring him: “Please sit there ‘till I come back.” Of course he doesn’t. Mr. Muckle is a weapon of mass destruction.
( 9. ) As his first customer, Mr. Fitchmueller ( played by Morgan Wallace ) cries about his order: “Where are my kumQUATS?!” Mr. Muckle starts to stand up. Fields gets anxious:
“Siddown Mr. Muckle, honey. Siddown, dear!”
He calls him ‘honey’ and I fall out.
( 10. ) Mr. Fitchmueller is getting frustrated at not being served. He stomps the floor as Fields walks near him. The way Fields shuffles past him to get behind the counter is funny. But Fields is still dealing with Mr. Muckle who’s in the store for a pack of chewing gum. Fields rips an oversized piece of wrapping paper to wrap Mr. Muckle’s gum.
Look at the pack of chewing gum in a sea of brown wrapping paper
( 11. ) Fields is startled by the sound of a breaking lightbulb. Yep…it’s Muckle. Because he is startled, Fields drops the chewing gum from the wrapping paper onto the counter, unbeknownst to him, and is now just wrapping a large wad of brown wrapping paper with too much string.
( 12. ) Mr. Muckle touches the lightbulb display as we hear Fields off camera yelling to the blind and deaf man to put down the bulb.
“Put it down, honey. Put it down, pleeeeeeze.”
( 13. ) Mr. Muckle is now totally messing with the lightbulbs. Fields’ desperation is at a fever pitch with the lightbulbs display swinging and swaying in the balance. Fields runs over to Mr. Muckle with his package of chewing gum:
BISSONETTE: “Here’s your chewing gum. That’ll be five cents please.”
MR. MUCKLE: “I’m not going to lug that with me. Send it!”
( Uhmmm…the gum is still on the counter where it fell out the wrapping paper ).
( 14. ) Mr. Fitchmueller is still waiting and fuming:
FITCHMUELLER: “HOW ABOUT MY KUMQUATS!! How does he rate all this attention?! Who IS that man?!”
BISSONETTE: “The house detective over at the Grand Hotel.”
( 15. ) As Mr. Muckle leaves the store, Fields can’t get the door opened fast enough and there he goes again…the blind man crashes through the other glass door with his cane saying:
“Ya got that door closed again, huh?”
( 16. ) Fields walks Mr. Muckle outside, checks for traffic and sends Mr. Muckle on his way across the empty street. Half-way across the street, traffic picks up…in both directions with fire-trucks and automobiles barely missing the blind man.
Muckle is safe but Fields is a hot mess and look at Mr. Fitchmueller all the way on the left side of the picture, apoplectic with fists balled up. Yeah, Fields is wedged in that can good and tight:
The word KUMQUATS is said eleven times in this six and a half minute sequence, each time more exasperatingly shrieked than the previous time. His last time puts me over the edge…listen for it.
( H O M E )