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Film / Pass the Gravy

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Pass the Gravy is a 1928 silent comedy short starring Max Davidson, directed by Fred Guiol.

Schultz is a suburban dad who raises chickens and is inordinately fond of one in particular, a prize-winning rooster named Brigham. His unnamed neighbor, played by Davidson, often gets annoyed when the chickens wander onto his property and eat the seeds in his vegetable garden.

Peace must be made, however, because Schultz's son and Davidson's daughter are engaged to be married. Davidson sends his dimwitted son Ignatz out to buy a chicken for a bury-the-hatchet dinner. Unfortunately for all concerned Ignatz decides to pocket the two dollars and chop the head of a chicken he finds wandering in his backyard—who happens to be Brigham.

There was quite a bit of talent behind the production of this film. It was produced by Hal Roach, famous for his Laurel and Hardy and Our Gang comedies; future Academy Award-winning director Leo McCarey is credited as the production supervisor; and another future Academy Award-winning director, George Stevens, was the cinematographer.



  • Ambiguously Jewish: Max Davidson's shtick for most of his career, playing characters that were pretty obviously Alter Kockers but often weren't explicitly identified as Jewish. Such is the case here.
  • Bindle Stick: Ignatz uses one of these when hitchhiking out of town in order to escape punishment.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Ignatz looks into the camera after realizing that Brigham was the chicken he beheaded.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The "1st Prize" metal bracelet fastened around Brigham's leg is how he's identified at dinner.
  • Dramatic Irony: Invoked by several ironic comments made by Schultz as he unknowingly eats his own pet chicken. "It tastes as good as one of mine!"...."They act like it's a funeral!"...."It's my chicken and I'm going to eat it!"
  • Hand Signals: How Ignatz tells his sister that they're eating Brigham. Later, the sister and Schultz's son engage in increasingly desperate and elaborate pantomimes in a frantic effort to warn Davidson of this.
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  • Improbable Aiming Skills: The film ends with Schultz throwing the chicken leg at Davidson, who has run nearly all the way down the block, and nailing him in the back of the head.
  • Internal Reveal: Complete with an anguished "BRIGHAM!" from Schultz after the truth finally dawns.
  • Mammy: Davidson's family has a maid dressed in stereotypical Aunt Jemima manner.
  • Missing Mom: The two fathers sit for dinner but no mothers are in evidence.
  • No Name Given: Of the five characters in this film only Schultz and Ignatz are named.
  • Noodle Incident: While Davidson raises vegetables, Ignatz "raised what it's not polite to mention." What does this mean? The film does not explain.
    • Ignatz probably "raised hell".
  • Oh, Crap!: A succession of these as the dinner guests realize one by one that Brigham is the chicken they're eating.
  • The Remake: Of a 1915 short film called A Bird's a Bird, which involved a turkey.


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