Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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

The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™ has scheduled a few two-reel goodies to run between their regularly scheduled classic film features…so I thought I’d give a few interested TDOYers a heads-up in case they were interested in adding these timeless Hal Roach comedy shorts to their collection.  The one comedy in the bunch that I’ve not seen is Sealskins (1932; I have it on DVD around here in the archives but haven't had a chance to view it), which features Thelma Todd and ZaSu Pitts in a haunted house romp in which newspaper typist Thelma catches wind of a story involving a missing “seal”…and thinks it’s an aquatic animal (it’s really a precious gem).  Thel and Zase get mixed up with a spooky old manse with the usual two-reel horror elements: strange butler, man dressed in a skeleton costume, gorilla on the loose, etc.  It’s not supposed to be one of the girls’ strongest comedies—but I’ve been known to enjoy even the weakest Todd-Pitts offering simply on the basis of their winning personalities.  Sealskins airs after A Free Soul (1931) this Friday (September 26) at approximately 7:34am.

Thel also figures in the two-reeler The Real McCoy (1930), a Charley Chase outing that I originally saw back in August of 2010 when Tee Cee Em saluted Ms. Todd during Summer Under the Stars; Charley displays his fondness for rural comedy in a short that finds him mingling with several backwoods folks while on the run from a cop played by…well, who else but Edgar Kennedy?  Thelma is the object of his romantic pursuit, a gal whom he thinks is hillbilly to her core (but he’s in for a bit of a surprise).  Baltimore’s favorite son indulged in a number of these bucolic frolics—he made two more while he was at Roach, One of the Smiths (1931) and Southern Exposure (1935), and one during his stint at Columbia, Teacher’s Pest (1939).  (I think Smiths is the only one of the quartet I haven’t seen.)  Not the funniest comedy in the Chase canon…but any outing with Charley, Edgar Kennedy and the delightful Thelma can’t be all bad—decide for yourself when McCoy airs after The Life of the Party (1930) on September 29th (next Monday at approximately 7:49am).

Before McCoy at 6am, however, check out Edgar doing his slow burn thing in the “Boy Friends” entry Doctor’s Orders (1930)—a first-rate comedy starring former Our Gang kids Mickey Daniels and Mary Kornman in a wild two-reeler that also features ace stuntman Dave Sharpe, Gertie Messenger, Dorothy Granger and TDOY idol Grady Sutton (it was the first offering in the short-lived series).  Mickey and Grady have faked an automobile accident to get attention from Gertie and Mary, and Dave masquerades as a doctor—which necessitates he perform hilarious business changing in and out of clothes between the two floors of Kennedy’s house.  The “Boy Friends” shorts never completely overcame their overall hit-or-miss reputation but I think Orders is a lot of fun (watching Sharpe is worth the price of admission).

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