The bellhop or bellboy character is a timeless comedic classic. Could this cap wearing uniformed hotel porter's position have been created first for comic purposes and secondarily for the transportation of baggage? So many of the great American comics have taken a turn with the role both as bellhops and interacting with bellhops, I seriously wonder. Some particularly hilarious bellhop performances were given in 3 silent short films;The Bell Boy with Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton , Laurel and Hardy in Hop to it Bellhop and Bughouse Bellhops with Harold Lloyd. The first 2 Marx Brothers features The Cocoanuts(1929) and Animal Crackers(1930) included quality bellhop scenes. Even Donald Duck tried his hand at bellhopping in his 1942 short Bellboy Donald. Jerry Lewis reset the bar in 1960 with his feature film The Bellboy. Search your favorite comic actor and bellhop and see what you find. One of my favorite contemporary Bellhop scenes occured in the finale of the 4th season of Curb Your Enthusiasm entitled "Opening Night" where the bellhop is taking the notoriously paranoid and thrifty Larry David up to his room and trying to coax a tip out of him by explaining how to use the various amenities the high end hotel has to offer including how to use the room key, how to turn on the television and how to use the shower.
Here is my Grandfather doing a bellhop routine at a Vaudeville show in Detroit Michigan circa 1915.
Harry Delf wrote The Family Upstairs during the early part of the 1920's. It was produced and staged at the Gaiety Theater on 46th and Broadway in the year 1925. The play was a comic exploration of the dynamics of middle class family life in New York City.
He wrote about what he knew, which was not the New York of high society and parties that comes to mind when we envision the roaring Twenties. It wasn't the wealthy and powerful New York of Riverside Drive, Park or Fifth Avenues; nor was it the down and out street New York of Chaplin's little tramp or Keaton's lovable drifter characters. He wrote about the New York of the Bronx, Harlem, West End and the pockets of the city where families of moderate middle class means lived. In 1925 writing about a middle class family was a novel concept to the entertainment world both because it was about the middle class and because it was about the family.
He wrote several plays about this subject matter that all had the word Family in their titles and became known as the "Family Series." Besides The Family Upstairs he wrote Too Much Family, The Family Picnic, The Family Wedding and a few others.