Sunday, March 30, 2014

DVR-TiVo-Or whatever recording device strikes your fancy-alert!

Yesterday morning, I happened to be watching towards the end of the proto-Mexican Spitfire series film, The Girl from Mexico (1939), when The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™ ran one of their “filler” shorts—a little musical two-reeler called Rhumba Rhythm at the Hollywood La Conga (1939).  The (always reliable) IMDb lists the two actresses featured in the short’s opening credits—one of them a very young Mary Treen—and a few of the celebrities that have cameos—George Murphy, Lana Turner, Chester Morris—but one individual who doesn’t get mentioned is J. Scott Smart, who demonstrates that despite his girth he was quite limber on his feet; he, in fact, leads a conga line at one point in the short that’s loads of fun to watch.  (Mr. Smart, for those of you in the dark, was best known as radio’s The Fat Man—though he worked on a goodly number of other programs, notably TDOY comedy idol Fred Allen’s show [he played “Senator Bloat” in the early days of “Allen’s Alley”].)

I started out with this mention of this two-reeler partly because it amused the heck out of me and partly because someone at the Charley Chase Facebook page noticed that Tee Cee Em has three scheduled comedy shorts featuring Ballimer’s Baltimore’s favorite son:

High C’s (1930; March 30 @1:21am) – This three-reel Chase comedy (which will be shown right after the Silent Sunday Nights feature The First Auto) stars our hero as a soldier in France during WWI who’d much rather harmonize in a quartet than do any shootin’ and fightin’—he also makes the acquaintance of a lovely French maiden, played by TDOY goddess Thelma Todd.  As a rule, I’m not a big fan of the three-reel shorts that were produced around this time at Hal Roach (many of them suffer from a lot of noticeable padding) but this effort is a few notches above the usual efforts.  While I wasn’t completely bowled over by it, it does have a number of vociferous defenders; check out what my Facebook compadre Yair Solan has to say at his invaluable website, The World of Charley Chase.

The Tabasco Kid (1932; March 31 @1:36pm) – Charley tackles dual roles in this Western spoof; hizzownself and the Zorro-like titular bandit.  I watched this one when TCM had their Roach festival back in January 2011…and I may have to see it again because quite honestly, I don’t remember it well enough to remember if it was good or bad.  Another one of my Facebook acquaintances, Jim Neibaur, gives it a good recommendation in his reference book The Charley Chase Talkies: 1929-1940…so I’ll take that as a “watch this one if you can.”

Now We’ll Tell One (1932; April 6 @11:27pm) – This is the only short of the three here that I’ve not yet seen…the plot synopsis from Jim’s book describes it as a science fiction comedy in which a scientist invents a belt that allows the wearer to transmit his/her personality to another person wearing the same belt from up to ten miles away.  All right then.  I’ve already got this programmed on the (I really should be getting a check for this) AT&T U-Verse Total DVR for Life©, so I’ll get a gander at it when I can.

Because I made all those upcoming blogathon announcements on Friday before Fritzi at Movies, Silently announced the sequel to her successful Sleuthathon, I promised to mention that June 1-3 will see the unveiling of a similar event…only the concentration will be on spies and espionage, and the ‘thon has been affectionately dubbed The Snoopathon.  Once again, the temptation to participate proved hard to resist, and so I told her she can count on Thrilling Days of Yesteryear (weather permitting, of course) to examine of my favorite Bob Hope comedies, My Favorite Spy (1951).  Skate on over if you’d like to join in, too.


KC said...

I've noticed that many men of considerable girth are graceful. I wonder if it might be because of the weight, rather than in spite of it. Not sure what I'm trying to say there.

Page said...

Hey, Ives!
I love when TCM runs these shorts. Quite often I see a new one. Ones you've done so much research on and mention here.
When you've seen all of the films they tend to air over and over it's nice to see something new and as you've pointed out, very entertaining.

Hard to keep up with these Blogathons. I remember when there was one every few months. Now it seems there is one or two going 365 days a year. ha ha
I hope you're having a great weekend.

roger said...

Thanks for the heads up on the Chase shorts. I try to follow TCM's posted schedule as much as possible but they don't post these shorts on the schedule until nearly the last minute (I missed the recent showing of I'LL TAKE VANILLA because of this). Is there a hidden, super-secret schedule somewhere that lists *everything*?

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

Is there a hidden, super-secret schedule somewhere that lists *everything*?

I wish I had an answer...I'm a member of the Charley Chase Facebook group, which is where I got the info. I will keep an eye peeled for more announcements and post them here when I get word.