The Golf Specialist

The Golf Specialist is a 1930 pre-Code comedy short subject from RKO Pictures, starring W. C. Fields. It was his first talkie. The film was shot in Fort Lee, New Jersey when many early film studios in America's first motion picture industry were based there in the early part of the 20th century.[1][2][3]

The Golf Specialist
Directed byMonte Brice
Produced byLou Brock
Written byW. C. Fields
StarringW. C. Fields
Allan Bennett
William Black
Naomi Casey
John Dunsmuir
Shirley Grey
Johnny Kane
Al Wood
CinematographyFrank Zucker
Edited byRussell G. Shields
Distributed byRKO Pictures
Release date
  • August 22, 1930 (1930-08-22)
Running time
20 min.
CountryUnited States

The film features lines such as "I would never hit a woman, not even my own mother" and "Stand clear and keep your eye on the ball", a line Fields also used in the golf scene in The Dentist (1932). Fields had first performed his golf routine on film in his silent feature So's Your Old Man (1926) and reprised it in that film's sound remake, You're Telling Me! (1934).


In a Florida hotel, the House Detective's wife (Shirley Grey) likes to flirt with other men. The House Detective (John Dunsmuir) catches her flirting with a man, and he bodily throws him out.

Deep Sea McGurk (William Black) comes in and asks the Desk Clerk (Johnny Kane) for J. Effingham Bellweather, but he is not in. McGurk dictates a note for the Desk Clerk to give to Bellweather that he wants to collect the money that is owed to him.

Bellweather (W. C. Fields) enters, and the Desk Clerk gives him the note from McGurk, which he tears up. After brief encounters with a bratty little girl (Naomi Casey) and the House Detective (John Dunsmuir), Bellweather offers to teach the Detective's Wife how to play golf.

The two of them and their Caddy (Allen Wood) go out to the golf course, but Bellweather never gets to hit the ball. He is continuously interrupted by such distractions as the incompetent Caddy's squeaking shoes, the wind blowing papers into his path, and accidentally stepping into a pie that the Caddy had brought.

Finally, the Sheriff and the House Detective come out to the course to arrest con artist Bellweather for a list of absurd crimes (including "eating spaghetti in public", "jumping board bill in seventeen lunatic asylums", "failure to pay installments on a strait-jacket", and "possessing a skunk"); the police put handcuffs on him just as he's showing the Detective's Wife the importance of keeping the wrists close together while gripping the club.[4]


  • W.C. Fields as J. Effingham Bellweather
  • Johnny Kane as Walter, the Hotel Desk Clerk
  • John Dunsmuir as House Detective
  • Shirley Grey as House Detective's Wife
  • William Black as Deep Sea McGurk
  • Naomi Casey as Bratty Little Girl
  • Allen Wood as Caddy
  • Harriet MacGibbon as Woman Walking Dog


  • The Golf Specialist is one of three W. C. Fields short films that fell into the public domain after the copyright lapsed in the 1960s (the other two being The Dentist, 1932, and The Fatal Glass of Beer, 1933). As such, these three films frequently appear on inexpensive video or DVD compilations.[5]


  1. ^ Koszarski, Richard (2004), Fort Lee: The Film Town, Rome, Italy: John Libbey Publishing -CIC srl, ISBN 0-86196-653-8
  2. ^ "Studios and Films". Fort Lee Film Commission. Retrieved May 30, 2011.
  3. ^ Fort Lee Film Commission (2006), Fort Lee Birthplace of the Motion Picture Industry, Arcadia Publishing, ISBN 0-7385-4501-5
  4. ^ The Golf Specialist (1930) on YouTube
  5. ^ DVD writeup

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