The Bell Boy

Released: March 18, 1918
Length: Two reels
Presented by: Comique Film Corporation
Distribution: Paramount Pictures
Producer: Joseph M. Schenck
Director: Roscoe Arbuckle
Scenario: Roscoe Arbuckle
Editor: Herbert Warren
Photography: George Peters

Roscoe Arbuckle, Buster Keaton: Bell Boys
Al St. John: Desk Clerk
Alice Lake: Miss Cutie Cuticle
Joe Keaton, Charles Dudley: Guests


In a general store, Arbuckle does knife tricks as he works as a butcher. St. John and Luke grind pepper with a dog-powered grinder. Miss Teachem, from the girls boarding school, comes in and order Arbuckle about; he glides around the store walls on a rolling ladder. Keaton arrives, pops a coin into his bucket, and asks for some molasses. Arbuckle fills it. Arbuckle and Keaton are bell boys at the Elk’s Head Hotel. Clerk St. John drives guests to the station while the two do the spring cleaning. A Rasputin-like character comes in and after playing some patty-cake goes to the barbershop. Part-time barber Arbuckle transforms him into Ulysses S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln, and Kaiser Wilhelm. St. John comes back with a streetcar full of guests, but Arbuckle and Keaton ignore them all for Miss Cutie Cuticle, the new manicurist. They register her and take her up to her room in the horse-drawn elevator. After hearing complaints about them from the customers, St. John goes up to catch them, but they sneak back to work. Joe Keaton arrives and his top hat receives a variety of abuse. He retaliates with an impressive series of kicks.

Miss Cuticle sets to work in the barbershop. Keaton takes the other guests up in the elevator, but the horse balks and it gets stuck. He sticks his head out to call for help, and it gets stuck, too. After a series of mishaps with the horse, the rope attaching the elevator to him, and a board Arbuckle uses to pry Keaton’s head out, the elevator is freed and Lake lands on top of the elk’s head. Keaton rescues her and gets caught in the antlers himself. Arbuckle and Lake go for a carriage ride, leaving St. John to rescue Keaton.

On Saturday night, the Elk’s Head holds its regular dance. To impress Lake, Arbuckle asks Keaton and St. John to pose as bank robbers, whom he can capture. The two go to the bank, which is being robbed by legitimate robbers. The mayhem begins; Arbuckle soon joins in. The burglars run out and steal the streetcar. The three give chase. On a hill, the horse breaks free and the streetcar rolls backwards past the pursuers. The burglars are subdued and the cops take them away. Arbuckle gets a double reward, and Lake is impressed. — Lisle Foote