The Harem Scarem Deacon (1916)

The Moving Picture Weekly, July 8, 1916, synopsis for THE HAREM SCAREM DEACON with Gale Henry and William Franey

"The Harem Scarem Deacon"


Written by Eugene B. Lewis
Produced by Allen Curtis.


Miss Crobar

Gale Henry

Deacon Stillwaters

William Franey


Lillian Peacock

Ching Ling Foo

Charles Conklin

"Dopey" Jones

Milburn Moranti

The action of this story begins with a meeting of the Anti-Sin League, of which Miss Crobar is leader. The meeting takes place in the village church, and is held for the purpose of receiving a report from a Special Committee, which had been appointed to investigate vice conditions in Chinatown. There is present at this meeting Deacon Stillwaters, who is there for the purpose of lending his moral support and powerful intellect to the cause in which the women are interested. This Special Committee reports that opium is being flagrantly used in Chinatown, but the Committee has not first-hand knowledge of this; so it is decided to send the Deacon into Chinatown to ascertain the real conditions. The Deacon assures the women that they have made a wise choice in selecting him for this dangerous work, and that they can rely on him to make a thorough investigation.

On entering Chinatown, the first person the Deacon encounters is Celeste, a very pretty and ingenuous flower girl. He tells her of his mission and she advises him to give it up. But the Deacon is not the man to be turned from his purpose, simply because it involves an element of danger. Fearing that he will soon come to harm, Celeste volunteers to act as his guide, which suits the Deacon perfectly. But, unfortunately, the Deacon, while trying to follow Celeste through the mazes of Chinatown, falls through a trap and into the quarters of Ching Ling Foo, the most powerful Celestial in Chinatown, and the proprietor of an opium den. The Deacon carries off the mishap in the presence of Ching Ling Foo as if it were an everyday occurence (sic) with him; and with his native subtlety, takes the Chinaman into his confidence and tells him of his mission. Ching Ling Foo, being a courteous Chinaman, cheerfully volunteers to let the Deacon in on all the secrets of the place. He assures the Deacon that there is no real harm in opium and induces him to take a smoke to convince him.

The Deacon smokes and drops off into a dream and what a dream! He awakens to find Miss Crobar and her crew around him. The Deacon is disgraced until little Celeste comes to take his part. Then he doesn't care what happens. 

From The Moving Picture Weekly, July 8, 1916, page 18

with Gale Henry, William Franey and Milburn Moranti. Directed by Allen Curtis. Joker/Universal.

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Last Modified May 5, 2012.