Billy (Billy Gilbert), Shemp (Shemp Howard) and Dave Hammond (Bernard Sell) have a carnival act with a gorilla named Barney (Art Miles).  Barney is billed as the smartest gorilla in the world.  Billy will ask Barney a question such as “How much is two plus two”.  Barney would then grunt four times.  During the act Barney is replaced by Shemp who is sporting a gorilla costume.  Shemp is the one who participates in the counting section of the act. 

On their way to their next gig, they come across a car that has broken down.  The car belongs to Mr. Gardner (John Hamilton).  Along with him is his niece, Joan (Jayne Hazard) and the family secretary, Ralph Williams (Tay Dunn).  Maxie (Maxie Rosenbloom) is their chauffer.  Dave agrees to give them a ride to their estate.  Maxie stays with the car.  Joan doesn’t like going to the old homestead, but her uncle insists.     

At the estate they are let in by the housekeeper, Mrs. Benson (Minerva Urecal).  A man wandering around the house is referred to by Benson as the electrician (Dan White).  As soon as they arrive strange things begin happening.  Billy and Shemp see what they believe is a ghost.  A mysterious man, Grogan (Tim Ryan) arrives at the house and is let in by Mrs. Benson.  Someone tries to kill Gardner, and someone lets Barney out of his cage.  Eventually Maxie arrives at the house and gets added to the mix of frightened guests and strange happenings.    

“Ghost Crazy” AKA “Crazy Knights” was released in 1944 and was directed by William Beaudine.  It is a poverty row comedy with horror and mystery aspects as well as a bit of gorillasploitation.

The movie is your basic slapstick affair complete with pratfalls and lame jokes.  There are quite a few old dark house elements including hidden corridors and staircases.  It also includes a cemetery with a secret entrance.  There is nothing new or different about the film in the realm of comedy horror.  The plot is thin but still a little difficult to follow since most of the film is comedy skits between Billy, Shemp and Maxie.  There’s even a couple throw away characters that serve no other purpose other than to round out some comedy skits.  It’s kind of like watching the three stooges but with only one original stooge.

Billy Gilbert, Shemp Howard and Maxie Rosenbloom all use their actual names in the film.  Maxie Rosenbloom was a former prizefighter.  Shemp Howard AKA Samuel Horowitz was one of the three original stooges.  Two of his brothers, Moe and Curly Howard, were also in the act.  For a time, Curly replaced Shemp and Shemp went on to develop a solo carrier.  Larry Fine was the other stooge and was not related to the other three.  Shemp was brought back into the act after Curly got sick.  For a while Joe Besser and Joe DeRita were also in the group, just at different times.

No comments

Leave your comment

In reply to Some User