Films of Emil Sitka: HE'S IN AGAIN (1949)
by Saxon E. Sitka
Three weeks after appearing in a Vera Vague comedy short, Emil found himself working in yet another two-reeler, his thirty-fifth role in a Columbia Pictures Short-Subject Presentation. HE'S IN AGAIN reunited Emil with the comedy team of "Schilling & Lane," composed of Gus Schilling and Richard "Dick" Lane.
Also in the cast are Christine McIntyre, Vernon Dent, Robert Williams, and Jack Overman. Written by Ellwood Ullman and directed by Del Lord, HE'S IN AGAIN tells a wacky story about a cab driver, Gus Schilling, who's involved in a case of double mistaken identity. Gus meets a man, Dick Lane, who he thinks is his girlfriend's father and owner of the cab company he works for - but in reality the fellow is an escaped lunatic. The two of them go together to a fancy restaurant for lunch and run into Emil as a "smooth, befuddled waiter."
Emil's diary for Friday, October 8, 1948:
Early at Darmour Studio my scenes with Gus Schilling and Dick Lane were already being hashed over and enlarged by these two principals and Del Lord, the director.
I was a smooth, suave waiter in a ritzy restaurant where these two zanies come to order peculiar items. Imagine, if you can, what I was to do.
Compared to the script, Emil's scenes in the film were considerably enlarged, just as he says in the diary, taking up many minutes as Emil reacts repeatedly and with increasing disbelief to Lane, the lunatic, who orders odd items such as dog food for an imaginary doberman pinscher ("He only pinches Dobermans."). Thinking this lunatic is the cab company owner, Schilling goes along with it all as if it's normal.
At one point, Emil and Lane argue over the order in French, and finally Emil storms off. He returns with fancy-looking silver-domed plates, but when the domes are removed, boxes of plain saltine cracker are revealed. The lunatic Lane promptly proceeds to stuff his mouth with the dry crackers and Schilling soon follows suit. As they converse with their mouths full of crackers, crumbs go flying about.
Emil gasps in astonishment at the scene and retreats to the waiters station where he mutters to himself and watches in amazement at the antics of the two men spewing crackers around their table. He's so absorbed in the unusual proceedings that he absent-mindedly picks up a cracker and begins to nibble on it. He glances down at the cracker realizing what he's doing, does a double-take, reacts in horror and send the cracker flying. None of this action was written into the script.
Schilling and Lane starred as a team in eleven shorts at Columbia between 1945 and 1950. HE'S IN AGAIN was their ninth episode as well as Emil's fourth and final film with the team. Previous work together includes AIN'T LOVE CUCKOO? (1946)
, PARDON MY TERROR (1946)
, and TWO NUTS IN A RUT (1948)
Before the studio brought them together as a comedy team, both Gus Schilling and Richard Lane were busy character actors, with each appearing in dozens of other movies before, during, and after their series of shorts for Columbia.
"Dick" Lane began working in films in 1936, enacting scores of often-uncredited "bit" parts and numerous small roles, including an appearance in HELLZAPOPPIN' (1941) with Hugh Herbert and Shemp Howard. He is often remembered for his role as "Inspector Faraday" in the "Boston Blackie" film series of the 1940's that starred Chester Morris. He later went on to become a legitimate news man and sports announcer, often calling wrestling and roller derby matches. One of his last roles was the "roller rink announcer" in THE SHAGGY D.A. (1976).
Gus Schilling began in 1940, appearing in several "Mexican Spitfire" Westerns and "Dr. Kildare" movies and going on to accumulate dozens of film credits over the years until his death in 1958. Schilling is remembered now primarily for his comedic work, but he enacted many roles in dramatic films as well, including CITIZEN KANE (1941) and REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (1955).
Although this was their last two-reeler together, Gus Schilling's path would cross Emil's again two years later on the set of GASOLINE ALLEY (1951)
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HE'S IN AGAIN (1949)