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Radio Stars on Parade (1945)
Topic Started: Feb 17 2015, 09:29 AM (359 Views)
Laughing Gravy
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Radio Stars on Parade (1945) Dir. Lesley Goodwins

Brown & Carney Week continues in the Balcony.

After a brief stint at Universal, director Goodwins, he of the Mexican Spitfire series, returned to RKO trying to rekindle the comic magic he'd ignited with the first two Brown & Carney films (that's sarcasm, folks). This isn't a good movie, in case you were wondering, but like all the Brown & Carneys, it has its moments.

We should also mention the film features "Radio Stars" the way "Brown and Carney" are a "famous comedy team". In other words, suppose somebody had made a movie in 1966 called "TV Stars on Parade" and you were expecting, oh, Lucille Ball, Jim Nabors, and Elizabeth Montgomery and you got, oh, Aunt Harriet from Batman and Hop Sing from Bonanza. Yeah, this is THAT kind of movie.

Sheldon Leonard is a gangster (duh) running a night club with singer Frances Langford, who to Shelly's chagrin is dating a young service man. She follows her guy to California to become a star out there and get away from Mr. Leonard, who goes out there with a couple of thugs to bring her back. She's fallen in with our heroes, who are trying to become famous talent scouts by hiring radio personalities to do this or that.

Yeah, so, our "Radio Stars" are Jack Benny, who is really, really funny. Um, well, I guess I should amend that a little: it's Don Wilson, Jack Benny's announcer. We also get Skinnay Ennis, whom I don't know but who sings like a 12 year old girl; Ralph Edwards and the cast of the original Truth or Consequences, who are the highlights of the film, if you can call them that; and either the cast of the Dick Tracy radio show or guys playing the cast of the Dick Tracy radio show.

Million-dollar Dialog:
Secretary Alan, after taking dictation: "Anything you want to add?"
Wally: "Yes, add 'Yours truly' and put a question mark at the end of it."

The Boys have two good routines, actually (not counting Alan doing his dead-on Edward G. Robinson impersonation, not for the first time in the series): Alan tries to spell his partner's name over the phone, but keeps getting sidetracked on letters; and, fleeing from the gangsters, Wally and Alan impersonate harmonica players (it's one of those things you have to see).

I didn't like any of the (non-harmonica) music except for the chestnut 'My Grandfather's Clock' by the Town Criers and a rendition of 'That Old Black Magic' by Miss Langford. Oh, yeah, and Rufe Davis, comic relief sound man, who sings a song about sound effects and it says a world about the "comedy team" of Brown and Carney that they were comedians and yet needed comic relief in their films, doesn't it? Yep. Yep, it does.

This fine, fine film is available from our friends at Warner Archive, and they even throw in a second film that doesn't have Brown & Carney (or even Abbott & Costello) in it, The Mayor of 44th Street. Brown & Carney went on to make two more films before splitting up in a way that reminded no one of Martin & Lewis, but both of those are scare comedies so we'll do them as part of our ITB Shock Theatre series, if that's okay with you.

"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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I love radio stars, and I love parades. All that aside, I HATED this movie. My first Carney and Brown (or is it Brown and Carney? I'm too lazy to look) and while I know it won't be my last, it'll be my last for a long while.
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