Chester A. Bachman: Roach Regular

West Virginia born Chester Bachman (Chester Arthur Bachman, 1882-1966), sometimes billed as Charles Bachman, or C.A. Bachman, is a distinctly minor figure in the show business annals, and yet he appears in so many classic comedies, he is worth this morning’s nod, I think.

If he is the same fellow (the dates seem right for his age), a Charles Bachman appeared in the original Broadway productions of the George M. Cohan shows Running for Office (1903) and Little Johnny Jones (1904), and then toured with the latter show at least through 1906. There are references in Variety to him performing with regional stock companies throughout the middle teens.

Most of his Bachman career was with the Hal Roach studio starting in 1923. He appeared in the comedies of Our Gang, Laurel and Hardy, Charley Chase, and others, almost always as a uniformed cop, security guard or detective. The L & H films are probably remembered best: Do Detectives Think? (1927), Putting Pants on Philip (1927), Habeas Corpus (1928), Pardon Us (1931), Pack Up Your Troubles (1932), Our Relations (1936) and Saps at Sea (1940).

Outside the Roach universe, he also worked for Mack Sennett, in His Marriage Wow (1925) with Harry Langdon; for Charlie Chaplin, in The Circus (1928); and in oddments like Taxi (1931) with Chester Conklin and Willie Best; and even some classic features like The Mad Genius (1931) and The Whole Town’s Talking (1935). In such films as the latter couple he is of course just an extra.

Bachman was only 58 when he ceased to appear in movies. Whether he returned to live theatre, broke into radio, or got out of show business entirely awaits enlightenment.

For more on classic comedy film, please read Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.