All’s Well (film #2 on Film Chest Vintage Cartoons). [Category: Hollywood]

All’s well with Gabby until he meets an obnoxious baby who resists all attempts to have his diaper changed. This is a pretty ordinary cartoon that ends predictably.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ***.

Borrowed Power (film #228 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Educational]

Teen Jerry is a gentleman under most circumstances, but put him behind the wheel of a car and he becomes a real jerk. He gets his comeuppance, though, when the police arrest him for reckless driving and hint that he might be charged with a recent hit-and-run. This makes him sweat but good, as well as stupidly blurting out, “I didn’t hit anybody!” before anyone had even mentioned hitting and running. So as punishment, he has to sit and listen to a judge boringly lecture him about safe driving in front of his parents and his two best friends. This early 50s film is incredibly stilted and woodenly acted. There’s good msting fodder here, but other than that, it’s pretty tedious going. Still, it ends quickly with Jerry being exonerated, causing him to announce that from now on he intends to be the “brains behind the car,” an assertion that is not particularly reassuring after what we have seen before. This film was obviously meant to scare teenagers into safe driving, and it obviously didn’t work, given that driver’s ed films would become progressively gorier and more disgusting as time went by.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.

Betsy Ross Dance (film #2 in the Dance section of American Variety Stage). [Category: Early Film & TV]

A girl in a frilly dress dances for our entertainment. What this has to do with the first flag is questionable. It does give you some idea of what 1903 audiences found entertaining, though. A 1903 Biograph film.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.

Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (film #11 on SabuCat Movie Trailers). [Category: Commercial]

Fairly entertaining trailer for the really stupid movie Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla, starring those lovable Martin & Lewis ripoffs, Duke Mitchell and Sammy Petrillo, plus Lugosi and a guy in a gorilla suit. With this trailer, you get all the mildly entertaining parts of the movie, while getting to skip the boring and excruciatingly stupid parts. Making it better than the movie. This is one of the better reasons movie trailers should be preserved.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.

Cookin’ with Gags (film #118 on Open Source Movies). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]

This sign language version of the silly Popeye cartoon about April Fool’s Day explains every single joke Bluto pulls, ruining the flow and the surprises of the original cartoon. Most of the explanations are on the level of “Oh! Bluto pulls another April Fool’s trick!” Couldn’t deaf kids figure this out for themselves?

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.

Chaplin - The Fireman (film #21 in the Silent section of Movieflix). [Category: Early Film & TV]

Charlie plays a bungling fireman in this one, though his coworkers aren't much better. He saves the day when he saves the daughter of an insurance cheat from a burning house by litereally climbing up the side of the building, in an amazing stunt sequence. The rest of the film is slapstick aplenty, including many forms of food and drink being thrown around. A 1916 Charlie Chaplin film.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.

Hope Is in Your Hands (in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #690 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Public Service]

This is a standard-issue 50s promo film for the United Fund, showing all the good works it does in St. Louis, including funding a school for the deaf, providing sports as an alternative to gang violence to inner-city youth through the YWCA, funding Scout troops for the poor, providing swimming lessons to kids through the Red Cross, taking care of old folks, and helping unwed mothers to give away their babies to geeky couples. The aforesaid geeky couple provides camp value, while the rest provides a historically interesting look at social service practices during the 50s.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.

Walk-In Double Feature #3 (Sinister Cinema). [Category: Commercial]

Sinister Cinema has had so much fun with their Drive-In Double Features that they've come out with some "walk-in" versions, which feature ephemera from ordinary sit-down movie theaters, rather than drive-ins (plus two feature films)––an idea that gets hearty blessings from me. This tape is lots of fun, what with all the dorky couples, special promotions, and warnings not to spit on the floor and such. I look forward to seeing more from this series.


  • Nutrition Alert! As always, Buttercup Popcorn and Hollywood Candy Bars are "nutritious".
  • The announcement advertising books of theater tickets as a great gift idea is as hard to read as any web page with a busy tiled background. Some things never change, I guess.
  • Mr. Whipple sez don't throw "missles" at the screen or he will report such "childish activity" to the management!
  • Note for future reference: It's o.k. to talk during a movie if you're a dorky teenage white couple who thinks "bears" is pronounced "bars" and who gets up and goes out to the snack bar to buy something every few minutes, no matter how annoying you are.
  • Boyfriend to Girlfriend: "Old Faithful...what does that make you think of?" It evidently makes her think of ice-cold soft drinks, unfortunately for him.
  • What are your problems today? Do you think life is passing you by? Are you annoyed by schmaltzy religious messages too?
  • There's no smoking in this theater––but buy plenty of cigarettes at our snack bar anyway.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.

Beginning Responsibility: Taking Care of Things

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