Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wednesday’s sticky note

This week at the Radio Spirits blog, I cover the last film in the Whistler movie franchise, The Return of the Whistler (1948).  Despite it being the weakest in the series—actor Richard Dix, who headlined seven of the films before retiring in 1947, is sorely missed—it has its moments; it’s based on a short story by author Cornell Woolrich, the mystery great whose works were adapted for such films as Street of Chance, The Leopard Man and Fear in the Night.  (He also contributed the story—under his nom de plume, William Irish—for 1929’s Seven Footprints to Satan…a film that is on my must-see radar after a friend described for me its general WTF-ness.)  One of the things in Return that made me giggle was an appearance by this man…

…that’s Olin Howland, a veteran character thesp many might remember as the drunk in Them! (“Make me a sergeant and charge the booze!”)  Howland plays a night clerk whose attitude is not too far removed from a certain nostalgia blog author who was once in the same line of work (I would be talking about me, of course), and it just struck me as funny watching Howland demonstrate rude above and beyond the call of duty to the movie’s would-be newlyweds, Michael Duane and Lenore Aubert (seriously—Olin has attitude to spare).

Jack Rice (in the middle, above) is also in Return—Jack was appearing in Columbia’s Blondie films at that time (as “Ollie Shaw”) but most movie buffs remember him as Edgar Kennedy’s worthless brother-in-law in the Slow Burn Master’s R-K-O comedy shorts.

And of course, having Richard “Inspector Faraday” Lane in your movie is always a plus.

The villains in this film are James Cardwell (who played the sap-of-a-boyfriend in Voice of the Whistler), TDOY fave Ann Doran, Trevor Bardette and Ann Shoemaker.  I really liked Doran in this one (though her role is pretty small)—she’s at her nasty best.  This next guy…

…may not be all that recognizable—he’s actor-director Fred F. Sears, who helmed much of Columbia’s B-western product (he also co-directed the Blackhawk serial) but is probably better known for his horror and exploitation films in the 1950s, gems like Rock Around the Clock, Don’t Knock the Rock, Calypso Heat Wave and the ever popular The Giant Claw.  Sears also held the reins on Cell 2425 Death Row (which I still haven’t seen yet) and proved that even a blind squirrel finds an acorn (The Blind Squirrel Film Theory™) with Earth vs. the Flying Saucers…though he got a major assist from Ray Harryhausen on that one.  (You can also tell where my copy of this film originated by the “Encore Mystery” logo prominent in the last two screen caps.  Well, whaddya gonna do…)

And with that, I need to retreat back into my sanctum sanctorum and finish up some outside assignments…but I will do my darndest to get this week’s edition of Serial Saturdays up at the usual time.  Play nice!


Tom Pain said...

Sorry, Ivan but the correct quote is "Make me a Sergeant IN charge of the Booze!"
It has become a kind of mantra used by myself and a old friend when hanging out, camping, carousing etc.
Great Blog, by the way, keep up the good work!

Cappy said...

This is so sticky!