The Hayseed

Released: October 26, 1919
Length: Two reels
Presented by: Comique Film Corporation
Distribution: Paramount Pictures
Producer: Joseph M. Schenck
Director: Roscoe Arbuckle
Scenario: Jean Havez and Roscoe Arbuckle
Photography: Elgin Lessley

Roscoe Arbuckle, Buster Keaton: Store Clerks
Molly Malone: Fanny
John Coogan: Cop/Rival
Also: Kitty Bradbury, Luke the Dog


Arbuckle and Keaton work in a general store/post office/community center. After they use the mail as missiles against each other, Arbuckle and Luke take the mail wagon on its appointed rounds. After he gives an abandoned empty liquor bottle a decent burial, he stops to flirt with Fanny, his girlfriend. They play hide and seek, but the local constable (Roscoe’s arch-rival) distracts her and Arbuckle and Luke fall asleep in their haystack hiding place. Her father wakes him with a pitchfork.

Back at work, Arbuckle and his boss discuss and insured letter that contains $300. While he’s busy drilling holes in some cheese for a customer who wanted Swiss, the skulking constable steals the money. Keaton sees him and gets several socks in the jaw for pointing out his wrongdoing. Fanny comes in, and inspired by another woman’s engagement ring, asks Arbuckle if he’d buy her a ring like that. For an answer, he sticks her ring finger into a cheese. She joins the hen party and Arbuckle sends an order to a mail order company from an imitation gold ring with a diamond. He fits a pickle into the hole in the cheese, and sends it along for sizing. He also orders a new suit, so Keaton measures his wide circumference.

Later, the constable presents Fanny with a real diamond bought with the stolen money. As he goes out, Arbuckle goes in and puts an even larger “diamond” on her finger. On the street by the store, the constable chats up two women. Keaton dumps water on him from the roof. He responds by throwing boxes up, which knock Keaton onto a ladder. The constable tips the ladder, and Keaton lands in Arbuckle’s moving mail wagon.

That weekend, the store serves as a dance hall. After some acrobatic dancing, the entertainment begins with magic from Buster the Great. Then the constable dances — badly. In the wings, singer Arbuckle’s voice gives out, so Keaton recommends onions to make it strong. Arbuckle munches several, then brings tears to his audience’s eyes with a combination of lachrymose lyrics and onion breath. The constable accuses him of stealing the money and Arbuckle turns to his friends for consolation. Repelled by his halitosis, they turn away — even Luke. But Keaton reveals the real criminal and Luke chases him down the road. Fanny wants to kiss Arbuckle, but his breath is still stinky. He suggests she have some onions too, to cancel it out. — Lisle Foote