When I saw that a blogathon was coming up that was really only limited by running time and release date, the choices were bountiful. Of course, as I try to showcase every weekend, short films are still a vital, integral part of the artform. However, they are more a specialty niche in the modern era. In the past though, especially in the early days of film, shorts were produced for mass consumption. Ultimately, the way I decided to narrow it down was to decide to look up titles in Coy Watson, Jr.’s biography The Keystone Kid anew. Some of the titles he appeared in, that are still extant do resurface now and then, and I found another one I hadn’t found.
The short in question is Galloping Bungalows. The phrase Galloping Bungalows, as I have since found out, was not one created for this film. As the book by David A. Thornburg, Galloping Bungalows: The Rise and Demise of the American House Trailer, seems to to indicate it was fairly common to to describe the phenomena of mobile homes.
The aforementioned book by Coy Watson Jr., and many other online sources, share next to no information on the title. The synopsis as listed by Fandor, where I saw the film on a two-week trial, is as follows:
A bandmaster consents to marry an ugly widow because he believes she’s wealthy but then finds out that her beautiful daughter is the heir. He then rivals with a salesman for the daughter while the family’s beach bungalow is carted away on a horse by accident, catching fire. Music composed and performed by Donald Sosin. Presented by CineMuseum (on behalf of Keystone Films).
As a side-note, I had started a two-week free trial of Fandor and only managed to see this film during it, but their classic library and dedication to supporting artists definitely would make me consider adding a subscription at some point – if their portfolio interests you, you should look into them.
If you happen to speak Italian you can watch the film on YouTube here:
Being a Mac Sennett comedy the to-be-looked-for staples are slapstick comedy and insane chases, this film most definitely has both. The runaway house trailer being chased by any number of police and fire engine is breathtaking and frequently hilarious. Much of this hilarity due to Billy Bevan whose milieu when he headline was the wild marital farce, per Wikipedia, and this title certainly fits into that realm.
Whether on a DVD collection or streaming online, it’s easier than you realize to get shorts into your viewing rotation. You could add them as a warm-up to your main event on a movie-night. Typically these older shorts were one- or two-reelers, thus, they run shorter than your average sitcom episode.
While silents can take some getting used to for the uninitiated comedies usually offer the best gateway with outlandish plotting, wild chases and large gesticulations which can help those far more accustomed to modern aesthetics overcome the barriers of monochrome and title cards.
Should something like this not be your cup of tea (I was very pleasantly surprised with this one and laughed persistently, and it made for memorable viewing) remember that there are other cups to sample out there.