Should Married Men Go Home? - In the Cast

John Aassen, a Norwegian-born giant, appeared as a golfer who menaces Stan near the film's end. For years, before and after SHOULD MARRIED MEN GO HOME?, Aassen traveled with the Barnum and Bailey Circus as a sideshow attraction. He first came to Hal Roach's attention in 1923 when the studio was searching for a titan to act with Harold Lloyd as "Colosso" in WHY WORRY? Roach was worried because he couldn't cast the part. Aassen was then living in Minneapolis. Roach communicated with him after seeing an article in the newspaper about the problems a cobbler experienced making oversize shoes for the huge man. Next Roach met with Aassen in Chicago for an interview and gave him the part in WHY WORRY?

The bit in SHOULD MARRIED MEN GO HOME? was actually an afterthought. Aassen had returned to the studio to appear in the concurrently filmed Our Gang comedy GROWING PAINS. The prop department made special golf clubs for the man to use, or at least hold, in SHOULD MARRIED MEN GO HOME? In 1936 Aassen was cast in CHARLIE CHAN AT THE CIRCUS with Warner Oland. Within two years both were dead, Aassen of a glandular disorder at age 51.

The scenes with quick-tempered Edgar Kennedy ("He made an art of hypertension") are memorable. Curious how he can't tell the difference between a hunk of dirt on his head and his hairpiece.

Kennedy didn't need a hairpiece the day he went 14 rounds of boxing with future heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey. When his pugilism career ended, Kennedy sought work at Mack Sennett's Fun Factory. He just showed up one day on a whim. Movies seemed like fun. A brand new industry. Sennett asked the burly job applicant, "Well, what kind of talent do you have?"

Kennedy told the King of Comedy, "I can lick anyone on this lot."

He had to prove it, too, and when he did Sennett hired him as an actor in his knockabout comedies! During Kennedy'' tenure at Hal Roach Studios he often played a character called "Kennedy the Cop." In fact, at Sennett, he was one of the few genuine original Keystone Kops!

Kennedy was another long-time Lakeside golfing crony of Oliver Hardy. As he was dying of throat cancer in 1948 Kennedy's pals at Lakeside arranged a huge testimonial dinner for him.

Edgar Kennedy was born in Monterey, California. When Bing Crosby staged his inaugural Pebble Beach Golf Invitational Tournament there in 1947 he invited Edgar Kennedy. It was reported in the San Francisco papers that of all the celebrities and movie stars, Kennedy was the gallery's slow-burning favorite. Just like he stole SHOULD MARRIED MEN GO HOME? from his acting compeer, Oliver Hardy.

Decades earlier, before another of Kennedy's pals, W.S. "One-Take Woody" Van Dyke was a top M-G-M director (TRADER HORN, SAN FRANCISCO, THE THIN MAN) there was a period when meal-money was tight. The year 1920, just prior to making Ruth Roland serial adventures for Hal Roach, was especially tough. Kennedy and Van Dyke were then bunking together in a small house behind the Charlie Chaplin Studios on La Brea Avenue in Hollywood. According to Van Dyke's authorized biography, written in 1948, "Had it not been for some golf matches he might have gone hungry. Edgar Kennedy, famous comedian of the Keystone Kop series, cooked up these games. He knew that Van Dyke and he could shoot a darn good score together, so Kennedy would arrange a foursome by getting two other fellows that he knew couldn't shoot as good a game as they. Upon arrival at the golf course, Kennedy and Van Dyke would team up, taking on the other fellows at a dollar a hole."

As he himself said later in NIGHT OWLS, "Kennedy'll fix it." That same year, 1930, Charley Chase made his first golfing comedy, ALL TEED UP. It was shot at Lakeside Country Club and once again featured a soda fountain routine. Edgar Kennedy not only appeared in ALL TEED UP, he directed it as well. The next year Kennedy began his marathon "Mr. Average Man" series of short subjects for RKO, and the eighth entry was entitled THE GOLF CHUMP.

In 1997 the international Laurel & Hardy appreciation society, SONS OF THE DESERT, staged an elaborate July 4 weekend tribute to Edgar Kennedy in his hometown of Monterey. Hundreds of fans came from all over the world. The event was also a reunion for the families (down through great-grandchildren) of Messrs. Laurel and Kennedy. The four day affair was a wonderful celebration its participants will never forgot.

Edgar Kennedy's daughter, Colleen Deach, told me how her father earned the title "Master of Slow Burn." His early Keystone films with Charlie Chaplin, Mabel Normand, and Roscoe Arbuckle all featured frantic action that never paused for closeups. By the mid-1920s Kennedy was directing films but wanted to get back into acting, if that description could be correctly applied to what performers did at Mack Sennett's Keystone operation. W.S. Van Dyke advised against this notion, and that Kennedy needed a signature of some kind to distinguish his personality and ordinary looking features. "Otherwise you're wasting your time as an actor," Van Dyke cautioned his friend, as Kennedy's daughter remembered it.

Days later, out on the golf course, Kennedy missed a shot with a sand wedge, always a troublesome club for him. Exasperated, he grimaced and slowly raised his right hand as though he were trying to rub the hair off the top of his head. Van Dyke immediately pointed to Kennedy and shouted, "That's it! There's your signature."

Fans of TWENTIETH CENTURY, A STAR IS BORN, TILLIE AND GUS, DUCK SOUP, HOLLYWOOD HOTEL, KID MILLIONS, even AIR RAID WARDENS and hundreds of two-reel comedies including SHOULD MARRIED MEN GO HOME? can be thankful golf is such a difficult game.

Not long after W.S. Van Dyke ignited Edgar Kennedy's slow burn, the actor-director began his five year association with Hal Roach Studios. Later, as a freelance actor, in between his annual quota of RKO shorts, Kennedy was able to appear in Van Dyke feature films such as SAN FRANCISCO, and the screwball comedy IT'S A WONDERFUL WORLD. The stars were James Stewart and Claudette Colbert, who when asked years previously to list her favorite movie stars for the LOS ANGELES TIMES named Edgar Kennedy among them!

The Edgar Kennedy tribute in Monterey was organized by Bill Cassara. In 1996 he spoke to Colleen Deach about her father. "At home he was a gentle giant with a witty sense of humor and an insatiable thirst for knowledge," she recalled with obvious affection. "In public he was a clown, a superb golfer, a high-stakes poker player, and a good friend.

"As a father, he taught me to think, be true to my friends and beliefs. The day he died, he was telling jokes to all the nurses, and he left this world a happier place."

-- by Richard W. Bann --