Here’s a fun little rarity, one of the few talkie shorts made by light comedian Johnny Hines. It’s an Educational Short from 1930; although Educational’s sound shorts have a reputation for being cheap, at this point they still had a bit more prestige, with decent budgets and good supporting casts. DON’T LEAVE HOME is a tightly plotted farce showing what happens when Johnny and his wife (Jean Reno) are forced to spend time apart and plan a surprise visit for each other. Hines is pretty good as a talking comedian, and the short gives him a nice mixture of dialogue, sight gags and reaction comedy to get his teeth into. It also has a juicy comic role for James Finlayson as a cynical cab driver, and a talking bit for Snub Pollard (he’s the plumber, without his usual moustache!)
There’s a blackface gag that it would have been better off without, but the rest of it is really pretty good, and it’s nice to see some silent veterans doing their thing in a strange new idiom. This is just one of the many delights on Joseph Blough’s YouTube channel, which has recently been spoiling us with many rare 1930s shorts, including Joe Cook, Ernest Truex and Lloyd Hamilton. Thanks Mr Blough for sharing these rarely seen gems!