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Showing posts from February 25, 2007
Amos ‘n’ Andy – Calhoun to the Rescue (available for viewing on You Tube). This is an episode of the controversial sitcom that’s been edited down to about 10 minutes. In it, the Kingfish masterminds an elaborate scheme to get his nephew to buy a failing antique shop that the owner promised Kingfish a commission if he can find a buyer for it. This has some funny moments and the editing isn’t too awkward, so it does give you some idea of what the sitcom was like. As you might expect, it is broadly comic and somewhat stereotyped, but it’s not as offensive as you might expect, and the twists and turns of the plot are amusing.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Ann-Margaret Canada Dry TV Commercial (available for viewing on Bedazzled. Also available for viewing on You Tube). Ann-Margaret does a big, mod production number in praise of Canada Dry soft drinks that goes on and on and on. This is very 60s, though in a Madison Avenue sort of way.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Bo Diddley Live at Montreux Jazz Festival 1970 (available for viewing on You Tube). Bo Diddley sings (what else?) “Bo Diddley” live at the Montreux Jazz Festival. This looked like a great concert, with lots of energy, and you just can’t stop that propulsive beat of his. See? It’s going through your head right now.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
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Land of the Giants (available for download on Google Video). Another 30s Department of the Interior film about state parks, this one focuses on the ones being developed in California’s redwood country. The film is long and kind of drags a bit, but it does show beautiful scenery and has lots of historical interest in showing the development of California’s state parks and the activities of the CCC. This film goes out of its way to praise the CCC and sell us on the idea that the program is a great thing for the young men who are its volunteers, as well as the rest of the country.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
It's Murder She Says... (film #26 on The Complete Uncensored Private SNAFU DVD (Image Entertainment, 1999). Also, film #9 on disc #2 of Pearl Harbor: Before and After DVD (Triton, 2001)). The Anopholes mosquito is portrayed as an aging party girl, who used to live the high life on soldier's blood, until the army wised up and took stringent methods against her. But she still has her way with shirtless, repellentless Private SNAFU. The concept here is fairly clever and unusual, though it could be funnier. This one makes me wonder just how many SNAFUs were about malaria prevention, though––this must have been a major sticking point with the army.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Andy Kaufman – Blue Moon of Kentucky (available for viewing on You Tube). Andy does a dead on impression of Elvis singing “Blue Moon of Kentucky.” That’s it, really, but it’s not a bad impression.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ***.
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5 Nations Seek Balloon Title (available for download on Universal Newsreels). 30s newsreel showing competitors in a balloon race taking off and talking from their balloons by radio. Also included is a story about Major Ernst Udet doing stunt flying in a biplane at an air race. This is pretty ordinary, but it does give us a taste of how flight wowed ‘em back in the 30s.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
Akron Hulk Salvage (available for download on Universal Newsreels. Also available for viewing on You Tube.) Brief, silent newsreel story of the wreck of the airship USS Akron being fished from the deep. The images of the wreck are striking and give you an idea why airships never quite became a viable form of travel.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: N/A. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ***.
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Frigidaire Imperial Line (available for download on Open Video Project. Also available for download on Prelinger Archive). This bombastic film from 1957, meant to introduce the new “Imperial Line” of Frigidaire appliances, is the ultimate populuxe monstrosity. Appliances are talked about in endlessly bombastic, yet reverent tones while a single, elegantly dressed housewife walks from one to the other to demonstrate them. At times, she caresses the appliances almost ecstatically, yet it is a restrained ecstasy designed not to undercut the reverence. The campiest and weirdest section involves a surrealistic montage of appliance parts that drift past the women, supposedly reprenting “a woman’s dreams.” Monderninity is worshipped here, as everything new, technological, and modernistically designed is portrayed as All Good. The appliances have the spare design of a modern glass-walled skyscraper, while the range control panel resembles the controls of an airplane. All of this is great fodd…
A Jazz Etude (film #1383 on Prelinger Archive). A guy in white tie and tails does a tap dance to a peppy jazz tune. This soundie had my toes tappin’.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ***.