Two weeks ago in this space, I reviewed the Alpha Video release Ultra-Rare Pre-Code Comedies, Volume 2—and at the end of the post, I mentioned in passing an additional Alpha release in Blondes and Redheads: Pre-Code Comedy Classics, Volume 2, which contains four comedy two-reelers from a brief series churned out at RKO that starred June Brewster (later replaced by Dorothy Granger) as the ginger, Carol Tevis as the peroxided dame, and my main man Grady Sutton as their male sidekick (or boyfriend, depending on the situation in each short). The “Blondes and Redheads” comedies were initiated by future Academy Award-winning director George Stevens, who had helmed a similar series at the Hal Roach Studios entitled “The Boy Friends” (Sutton was a star in those shorts, and Granger turns up in a few as well).
a set of Blondes and Redheads shorts back in March of last year (I reviewed the set on the blog), and because it was so enjoyable I’m glad they went to the well a second time with four additional two-reel comedies. (I only got the chance to sit down with the entire DVD Tuesday night, though I did previously watch Wig-Wag (1935), a very funny outing.) The premiere short in this franchise, Flirting in the Park (1933), is on Volume 2, and it’s singled out by Leonard Maltin in his Selected Short Subjects book (a.k.a. The Great Movie Shorts) for effusive praise, noting that it’s not only a showcase for Sutton (the difference between the B&R series and The Boy Friends is that B&R focused more on the women than the guys) but that it’s “reminiscent of the Roach comedies in more ways than one, and with good reason: it was directed by Stevens, written by Stevens and Fred Guiol, co-photographed by Len Powers, and it featured, in small roles, Charlie Hall and David Sharpe—all Hal Roach alumni.” (Former Our Gang member Donald Haines also appears in Park as an office boy.)
|Phil Dunham and the missus|
|June Brewster and Carol Tevis|
“You’re the dumbest girl I ever saw!” Smith seethes in rage. And with that, the department store’s staff arises in unison to declare “The customer is always right!”
She and June somehow manage to become models for the “No Run Hosiery” firm, and in billboards and magazine ads Carol is designated “The Dumb Bell.” Angry, she asks boyfriend Grady—fresh out of law school—to sue the pantyhose company for “information of character”; a clever comedy bit has Grady slipping a summons to the company’s president (Charles Dow Clark) by placing it in a stack of paper towels being replenished in the dispenser by the custodial engineer (Sam McDaniel).
|Tevis, Grady Sutton, Brewster|
|If I had played as many cops in these shorts as Buddy Jamison...I think I would lay in a supply of uniforms.|
June and Carol are sisters, and their mother (Edgar Kennedy mother-in-law Dot Farley) is insisting that June tie the knot with loutish policeman Gus Brown (Matt McHugh—Frank’s brother). But June’s true love is Charlie (George J. Lewis), and Charlie’s pal Grady has been inspired by a movie theatre’s newspaper ad offering a C-note to any couple who’ll get married in the presence of an audience. (I’m guessing, what—they didn’t have any dishes to give away that week?)
|Grady & Carol|
|Mr. and Mrs. Grady Sutton|