Showing posts from November 25, 2007
Abbott & Costello TV Cartoon Intro (available for viewing on You Tube). OK, folks, time to play Guess the Decade. This is an intro from an Abbott & Costello cartoon show. It features an animated Lou Costello running around yelling “Hey Abbott!!!!” It also features a James-Bond-like jazz soundtrack. Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! The 60s is correct! Not that this was at all difficult to guess. I totally don’t remember this cartoon, and I was a kid during the 60s. That only makes this more fun to me, because I like obscurities.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Know Your Enemy - Japan (available for viewing in the WWII section of Movieflix. Also, film #2 on disc #1 of Pearl Harbor: December 7, 1941 DVD (Madacy Entertainment, 2001). Also, film #1 on Side B of Disc #1 of WWII: The Ultimate Collection DVD Boxed Set (Brentwood Home Video, 2004)). Frank Capra directed this film designed to stir hatred of the Japs in American GIs. Don't get me wrong––there's a fair amount of truth here about the militaristic, fanatical Japanese society that came up with the Tanaka Memorial plan for world conquest and committed horrible atrocities against the Chinese, the Filipinos, and American POWs. But the film goes overboard in trying to get us to believe that every single solitary Japanese citizen is a total warmongering fanatic willing to die rather than experience the disgrace of surrender. They all look alike and think alike, according to this film. Of course, war always seems to require that kind of thinking––otherwise it's hard to go out and k…
49th Star: Alaska Statehood, New Flag, Official (available for download on Universal Newsreels.) This newsreel story shows us President Eisenhower signing the bill that made Alaska a state. Then we get to see flag manufacturer’s wrestle with the problem of making a 49-star flag that looks nice and symmetrical. They come up with a solution, one that would almost immediately become obsolete when Hawaii was granted statehood. I bet those flags sell for a lot on Ebay today.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Lady Lifeguards (available for download on Prelinger Archive. Also available for viewing on You Tube). This newsreel featurette shows us the intensive training female lifeguards received at New York’s Manhattan Beach during the 30s. They were trained in speed and distance swimming, rowing, breaking dangerous holds that drowning victims often subject lifeguards to, and the tedious out-goes-the-bad-air-in-comes-the-good kind of artificial respiration (which the narrator tells us sometimes goes on for hours before the victim is revived). After all this, they are qualified to “assist” the male lifeguards, and must undergo leering “inspections” by the potbellied head lifeguard, while the narrator says such clever things as, “This is a company anybody would love to inspect!” I’m sure they received “assistant” pay as well. The bland sexist assumptions of this film tell us just how far we’ve come in improving our view of women––the narrator seems throughout like he can barely believe that the…