Galloping Fish (1924)

Comedy | 10 March 1924

Director:

Del Andrews

Writer:

Will Lambert

Cinematographers:

A. Fried, Max Dupont

Production Company:

Thomas H. Ince Corp.
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HISTORY

The Feb 1924 Motion Picture Magazine reported that, because of the slapstick nature of The Galloping Fish, Thomas H. Ince hired three “gag men”—Tom McNamara, R. L. Wallace, and Ray Enright—and “comedy director” Lloyd Ingram to come up with laugh-getting ideas and make the movie “gloom-proof.”
       Several items, including one in the 20 Oct 1923 Camera, listed Madge Bellamy was being added to the cast, but she was replaced by Lucille Ricksen.
       A studio chart in the 20 Oct 1923 Camera noted that The Galloping Fish was in its first week of filming. Overall, according to the 22 Dec 1923 Camera, the production spent four weeks on location in and around Yuma, AZ, where the Colorado River scenes were filmed; two months of interiors at the Thomas H. Ince Studio in Culver City, CA; and a few days of concluding shots at Balboa, CA. The 10 Nov 1923 Motion Picture News reported that after several weeks of experimentation, the camera crew devised a new method of filming underwater in a huge tank “specially constructed for the picture.” The 29 Dec 1923 Motion Picture News stated that final scenes were being shot.
       The star of the film, the “fish,” was “Freddie,” an eight-year-old trained seal with a vaudeville pedigree. According to the Jul 1924 Picture-Play, Freddie’s “repertoire includes all kinds of tricks calculated to win applause,” including ladder climbing, balancing a ball on his nose, and “clapping his flippers whenever a cute flapper flips by.” A photo item in the Mar 1924 Picture-Play claimed Louise Fazenda befriended Freddie by ... More Less

The Feb 1924 Motion Picture Magazine reported that, because of the slapstick nature of The Galloping Fish, Thomas H. Ince hired three “gag men”—Tom McNamara, R. L. Wallace, and Ray Enright—and “comedy director” Lloyd Ingram to come up with laugh-getting ideas and make the movie “gloom-proof.”
       Several items, including one in the 20 Oct 1923 Camera, listed Madge Bellamy was being added to the cast, but she was replaced by Lucille Ricksen.
       A studio chart in the 20 Oct 1923 Camera noted that The Galloping Fish was in its first week of filming. Overall, according to the 22 Dec 1923 Camera, the production spent four weeks on location in and around Yuma, AZ, where the Colorado River scenes were filmed; two months of interiors at the Thomas H. Ince Studio in Culver City, CA; and a few days of concluding shots at Balboa, CA. The 10 Nov 1923 Motion Picture News reported that after several weeks of experimentation, the camera crew devised a new method of filming underwater in a huge tank “specially constructed for the picture.” The 29 Dec 1923 Motion Picture News stated that final scenes were being shot.
       The star of the film, the “fish,” was “Freddie,” an eight-year-old trained seal with a vaudeville pedigree. According to the Jul 1924 Picture-Play, Freddie’s “repertoire includes all kinds of tricks calculated to win applause,” including ladder climbing, balancing a ball on his nose, and “clapping his flippers whenever a cute flapper flips by.” A photo item in the Mar 1924 Picture-Play claimed Louise Fazenda befriended Freddie by carrying fish in her pocket. One of Freddie’s fellow “actors” for the flood scene was a hundred-year-old alligator named “Ethel” that climbed up on a floating rooftop during the film’s flood scene.
       In a column called “A Letter from Location” in the Apr 1924 Picture-Play, Fazenda reported from the Colorado River, fourteen miles from Yuma, where she was filming atop the roof of a house in the water just below a dam. She good-naturedly complained that river silt got into the hair and ears and under the fingernails of the actresses. To calm Freddie, his owner-trainer brought in a female seal from Santa Barbara, CA; Fazenda reported that Freddie wooed her with vaudeville tricks.
       The title was shortened to Galloping Fish before its release. The film opened in New York at the Broadway Theatre on 14 Apr 1924, according to that day’s FD. Reviewers, including the 5 Apr 1924 Exhibitors Trade Review gave “the inimitable Freddie” rave reviews. The 29 Mar 1924 Exhibitors Herald called the performing seal “a real surprise as a motion picture actor and the way he tumbled in and out of cabs, ran up and down stairs and followed [Sydney] Chaplin about was a revelation.”
       Galloping Fish was released at roughly the same time as The Galloping Ace and Galloping Gallagher (see entries), which had nothing to do with each other.
       The film was reissued by Selected Pictures in 1930 with talking sequences, and had a New York showing on 22 Jul 1930. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Camera
20 Oct 1923
p. 13, 17.
Camera
27 Oct 1923
p. 6.
Camera
22 Dec 1923
p. 15.
Exhibitors Herald
29 Mar 1924
p. 53.
Exhibitors Trade Review
5 Apr 1924
p. 26.
Film Daily
4 May 1924
p. 8.
Motion Picture Magazine
Feb 1924
p. 90.
Motion Picture News
10 Nov 1923
p. 2276.
Motion Picture News
29 Dec 1923
p. 3045.
Moving Picture World
22 Mar 1924
p. 304.
Picture-Play
Mar 1924
p. 53.
Picture-Play
Apr 1924
p. 65, 109.
Picture-Play
Jul 1924
p. 84.
Variety
30 Jul 1930
p. 38.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Galloping Fish
Release Date:
10 March 1924
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 14 April 1924
Production Date:
mid October--late December 1923
Copyright Claimant:
Thomas H. Ince Corp.
Copyright Date:
4 March 1924
Copyright Number:
LP19963
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
5,559
Length(in reels):
6
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Freddy Wetherill and his bride, Hyla, quarrel at her mother’s beach cottage, and Hyla sends her new husband home alone. Seeking distraction from his troubles, Freddy enters a vaudeville theater where Undine, “the diving Venus,” and her trained seal, Bubbles, are performing. Outside the theater, Freddy meets Undine’s fiancé, George Fitzgerald, and becomes involved in George’s effort to hide Undine’s seal from a bill collector armed with an order of attachment because of an unpaid hotel bill. Complications arise when Freddy Wetherill’s dying rich uncle, Cato Dodd, notifies him that he wants Hyla to nurse him. To insure he stays in his uncle’s will, Freddy substitutes Undine for Hyla and takes George along to act as his “valet.” Naturally, Bubbles comes along, too. Hyla soon arrives in jealous pursuit, just in time for a nearby dam to break. As the Dodd home and other houses float downriver, various swept-away circus animals, including an alligator and a rhinoceros, find shelter with the humans on the roofs. The cab driver that brought Hyla to the house is also swept away, but he keeps the meter running in hopes of getting her back in his taxi. Bubbles rescues everyone with a floating telegraph pole, Freddy reconciles with his loving wife, and Uncle Dodd remains kindly disposed to his ... +


Freddy Wetherill and his bride, Hyla, quarrel at her mother’s beach cottage, and Hyla sends her new husband home alone. Seeking distraction from his troubles, Freddy enters a vaudeville theater where Undine, “the diving Venus,” and her trained seal, Bubbles, are performing. Outside the theater, Freddy meets Undine’s fiancé, George Fitzgerald, and becomes involved in George’s effort to hide Undine’s seal from a bill collector armed with an order of attachment because of an unpaid hotel bill. Complications arise when Freddy Wetherill’s dying rich uncle, Cato Dodd, notifies him that he wants Hyla to nurse him. To insure he stays in his uncle’s will, Freddy substitutes Undine for Hyla and takes George along to act as his “valet.” Naturally, Bubbles comes along, too. Hyla soon arrives in jealous pursuit, just in time for a nearby dam to break. As the Dodd home and other houses float downriver, various swept-away circus animals, including an alligator and a rhinoceros, find shelter with the humans on the roofs. The cab driver that brought Hyla to the house is also swept away, but he keeps the meter running in hopes of getting her back in his taxi. Bubbles rescues everyone with a floating telegraph pole, Freddy reconciles with his loving wife, and Uncle Dodd remains kindly disposed to his heir. +

GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
Animal


Subject

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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