Dear Lon Chaney,
Dear Echo the Ventriloquist, the main character in the 1925 silent film The Unholy Three,
How’s it going? I’m sure it must be tough for you right now, what with your girlfriend dumping you and your partners in crime getting mauled to death by a a gorilla.
I want you to know: I’m here for you. And by “here,” I mean, “about 90 years in the future, unable to invent a time machine.”
But still! It must have been so hard for you, after you went to all that effort! Although I’m not quite sure why you had to commit to such a convoluted plot: First, you disguise yourself as a harmless little old lady, the strong man as your son or possibly trophy husband, and the dwarf as a toddler. Then you open a bird store and use your ventriloquism skills to convince rich people to buy parrots. Then you deliver the parrots to their houses, which you then rob. And you call yourselves “the unholy three,” because movie titles need to come from somewhere, I guess.
In the meantime, you’ve enlisted your pickpocket girlfriend to pose as your granddaughter, and you hire some dude to work at your phony bird store, and I don’t know why any of this was even necessary. Also, why did you insist on bringing that gorilla along? Were you really planning all along to murder your treacherous partners with the gorilla? Was that really your plan?
I know it sounds like I’m criticizing you, Echo the Ventriloquist, but I assure you, I’m not. (Well, maybe I am, a little.) The truth is, I love you because of your fondness for overly-difficult schemes. I love you for your willingness to hop into granny-drag. I love you for your forethought of carrying a violent gorilla around with you everywhere you go, just in case your partners in crime turn on you, which of course they will, because who can trust a strongman and a dwarf? I love you for the way you, when the man your pickpocket girlfriend fell in love with (seriously, WHY DID YOU HIRE THAT DUDE TO WORK AT YOUR BIRD STORE?) was charged with the crime your traitorous cohorts committed, figured the best course of action would be to use ventriloquism to save him from the electric chair! That’s so stupid, it’s adorable!
Anyway, now that you’ve confessed to the crimes and somehow been forgiven (because that’s totally how the justice system works), and your villainous gang is dead, and your girlfriend has dumped you for the nice guy from the bird store (although what they’ll do for money, I don’t know, since she doesn’t pickpocket any more, and he doesn’t have a job and was recently in prison), and you’ve gone back to the sideshow, I want you to know that I still love you.
No matter how ridiculous your movie was. (Maybe the talkie remake is better?)