SERVANTS SUPERCEDED (1911)
Directed by Percy Stow
What it is: Trick short
When a manservant accidentally destroys a dinner, his master fires him and decides to replace him with two sleight-of-hand artists.
This short basically takes the trick short gimmicks of chairs moving of their own volition, etc. and gives it a slightly new approach; instead of the diner being victimized by willful furniture, here he is helped by magicians who use their mystical powers to control objects for his benefit. At heart, there really is no plot here; it's just an illustration of the concept, and several of the magicians' tricks do go into the realm of the fantastic. Dramatically, it's a little disappointing; you keep waiting for something to go wrong and the tycoon to get his comeuppance, but such is not the case. At any rate, I can't help but notice that the title is deceptive; if he has two magicians helping him out to replace one manservant, you can't really say that the servants have been "superceded"; he still needs them, only now they do magic. There is a certain charm to this short.