Vernon Dent (in blackface), Billy Bevan, in A Sea Dog's Tale
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A Sea Dog’s Tale

A Sea Dog’s Tale (1926) starring Billy Bevan, Andy Clyde, Vernon Dent

Buy from  A Sea Dog’s Tale is a Mack Sennet comedy starring Billy Bevan, but begins somewhere in the South Seas, where the cast (people in black-face) are having a contest. The contest involves spear throwing at a victim.  It’s ultimately won by Jo Jo (Vernon Dent, best known for his work with the Three Stooges).   Jo Jo wants to use his notoriety to marry the beautiful daughter of Chief Gumbo (Andy Clyde). However, she refuses, having seen in their weekly newspaper (seriously) a photo of a champion pancake eater Wilbur Waters (Billy Bevan), and deciding that she’ll marry only him.

Vernon Dent (in blackface), Billy Bevan, in A Sea Dog's TaleAccordingly, Chief Gumbo dispatches Jo Jo to fetch his rival.  Who’s in the midst of being forced to marry his homely landlady to pay his back rent.   Jo Jo dutifully kidnaps his rival and takes him back to the island, where (after some ‘fat daughter’ jokes) he meets his lovely bride-to-be.  After a spaghetti dinner (no, seriously).   However, in order to prove his worthiness, Wilbur has to catch a live shark.  “The one I want has blue eyes”.  Jo Jo takes this as an opportunity to knock Wilbur unconscious and kick him into the water.

Wilbur recovers underwater, falls in love with a mermaid, sets the underwater world on fire with a lit match (no, seriously), and gets rescued by his homely landlady. But Billy jumps back into the water to continue carousing with his mermaid.

As you can tell from the description, the comedy is uneven.  But I did enjoy seeing Vernon Dent doing his slapstick, very reminiscent of his later work with the Three Stooges.


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