Just before he made Frank Capra’s “The Strong Man” in 1926, Harry Langdon starred in “Tramp, Tramp, Tramp,” an engaging and very funny story about a little man who enters a cross-country walking race for a $50,000 purse that will save his father’s business. Joan Crawford plays the love interest, Betty Burton, who is the daughter of the race sponsor, shoe baron John Burton. Burton’s shoe company provides the shoes and the long-sleeve tee shirts for the arduous and lengthy walk to California.
While walking across the country, Langdon provides a few hilarious set pieces. He hangs precariously from a cliff, and later manages to escape from a chain gang. I like the outstanding visual effects of the cyclone scene, in which Harry pits himself against the howling winds while most of the scenery blows away. A lot of destruction occurs in another scene as Harry accidentally destroys his hotel room.
Joan Crawford doesn’t do much. At one point, she watches Harry stare lovingly at a billboard picture of her. That scene replaces long romantic sequences, since she immediately takes a liking to him and becomes his girl. The director, Harry Edwards, made only one feature length film and this is it. But he went on to make dozens of comedy shorts until his last one, “Maid Trouble,” in 1946. He directed several Harry Langdon shorts during the silent era.