Doughnuts was the third of Billy West's two-reel comedies for King-Bee Productions. A fine comedian in his own right, West chose to "bury" his own personality, offering instead a staggeringly accurate imitation of Charlie Chaplin. While the public as a whole was resentful toward Chaplin imitators, West's interpretation of the Little Tramp was so good that he was able to retain his popularity through a staggering 33 films (even Chaplin himself acknowledged West's uncanny skill, telling him personally that he was "a damned good imitator"). Released June 15, 1917, Doughnuts was structurally similar to Dough and Dynamite, one of Chaplin's final Keystone comedies. Despite its kinship to the earlier Chaplin opus, this little comedy served up a number of original and ingenious gags, all of them stemming from West's efforts to satisfy his customers at a ramshackle bakery. Oliver Hardy, a decade removed from his teaming with Stan Laurel, costarred as an all-purpose villain, while former Chaplin supporting player Leo White went through his usual paces as a gesticulating "foreigner."
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