Today is the anniversary of the release date of Harold Lloyd’s first feature: Grandma’s Boy (1922).
Grandma’s Boy has what I call the Dumbo plot: meek, cowardly Harold is given a special witch charm by his Grandmother to make him invincible. As long as he has the charm with him, he can lick anyone in a fight. The rub is it’s actually an umbrella handle, a placebo. He’s actually had the right stuff in him all along, he just didn’t know it. At the picture’s climax, he clocks the bully who’s been dogging him all through the picture, and hurls him down a well. And of course wins the girl by his exertions.
For more on silent and slapstick comedy please check out my book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc