Plot & Details
Somebody at MGM had the bright idea in 1933 to build a series of feature films around the talents of popular radio comedians. This bright idea fizzled after a handful of misbegotten epics starring the likes of Jack Pearl, aka Baron Munchausen, and Ed Wynn. The Wynn film was titled The Chief, a reference to Wynn's radio fame as Texaco gasoline's "Fire Chief." What plot there is concerns a dimwitted fireman named Henry Summers (who else but Wynn?) who ends up running for the office of alderman. Actually, Henry is merely a cat's paw, a dummy candidate set up by a gang of crooks. But when it looks as though Henry will win the campaign and instigate reforms, the bad guys kidnap our hero's grey-haired mother (Effie Ellsler). To alert the cops to his mother's peril, Henry begins running around and breaking things, shouting "I'm crazy! I'm crazy!" (it's difficult to argue with that). Just when the plot is about to be resolved, the film dissolves to Ed Wynn, standing before an NBC microphone, broadcasting his "Fire Chief" program in the company of announcer Graham McNamee. Wynn apprises the audience as to the film's outcome, tells a few jokes, signs off the air -- and that's all there is! One could postulate that the scriptwriters had run out of jokes by the end of The Chief, but in fact they'd been out of material since the third reel.