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The Cook

Released: September 15, 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

Cast:
Roscoe Arbuckle: The Cook
Buster Keaton: The Waiter
Al St. John: The Toughest Guy in the World
Alice Lake: The Cashier
John Rand: The Proprietor
Bobby Dunn: The Dishwasher
Luke the Dog: The Bouncer

 

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 In the kitchen of the beachfront Bull Pup Café, Arbuckle shows off his knife skills while Luke assists the dishwasher by licking the plates clean. In the dining room, Keaton’s flirtation with Lake is interrupted by the angry boss who pushes him into the kitchen where Arbuckle nearly chops his head off. Since it’s still attached to his body, Keaton goes about his waiter’s duties. Nearly every order he yells back to the cook comes out of an amazing vat: coffee, ham, milk, and even ice cream. Arbuckle tosses the loaded plates and glasses to Keaton, who catches each nimbly. An exotic dancer entertains the patrons so Keaton and Arbuckle join in; Arbuckle’s tribute to Salome and Cleopatra is a grand success. Then the toughest guy in the world, Al St. John, comes in. He grabs Lake, and the men unsuccessfully fight him. So they call in the expert, and Luke chases him until the next day.

During the lunch break at the Bull Pup, the men display several creative solutions to the problem of eating spaghetti. Luke continues his chase up a ladder, and St. John crashes through the café’s ceiling and bounces on the lunch table. He runs out, and everyone congratulates Luke on his good work.

Next, everyone has a day off so Arbuckle goes fishing and Keaton goes courting. At the beach, Keaton and Lake take a goat cart to Goatland while Arbuckle and Luke pilot their own cart to the water. After a mishap between Arbuckle’s pole and a cop, he wades into the surf and with Luke’s assistance, catches a big fish. Meanwhile, St. John turns up again and chases Lake to the roller coaster. She gets on and he follows in another train. Her train stalls on top of a hill and he comes after her. She dives into the ocean. While Luke goes after St. John, Arbuckle and Keaton rush to the rescue. Hampered by a chained-down life preserve and rope problems, they eventually land in the water to help Lake.

The available print ends there, but according to the original press kit, “while the pest waiter is rescuing his girl with the aid of the cook, the courageous Luke dives into the ocean after the tough guy, chasing him so far out into the ocean that he can’t swim back to shore. It is fitting that after all this action, everything ends happily." — Lisle Foote