Posts Tagged ‘50s’

Last year, I almost wrote this review. Several things got in the way and I crapped out. However, this year I did actually write the review, so all is well.

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The Jack Benny Program (1960 CBS dir. James V. Kern)

There is something to be said about a man who could remake the same episode a dozen times and have it called “tradition” rather than “pointless repetition.” What it mostly says is that the guy was some kind of genius. So here is the lowdown on the traditional Jack Benny shopping episode: Jack has trouble deciding on a gift for Don Wilson and proceeds to drive the clerk (played by Mel Blanc) out of his skull with his alterations to that gift. Normally he buys an expensive present and changes his mind about this aspect or that aspect and then goes a head and decides to get the cheap gift by the end of the episode. Is that what happens here? No idea, to be honest I still haven’t watched it. Let’s lay down a fiver right now though. If Jack buys a gift, changes his mind several times and drives Mel Blanc insane, you owe me five bucks. Six if it’s a gift for Don Wilson. If it’s any conciliation, this probably won’t hurt much. I might be a little painful, but most likely it’ll just come off as dated.

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The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show: Company for Christmas (1955 CBS Dir. Ralph Levy)

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I can barely read that. This is going to be an easy one to watch, I can tell.

Well! The commercial will be easy with this one. The very first thing on screen is a Carnation Evaporated Milk can. We’re then told that Carnation Evaporated Milk brings us The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. Before we get the show logo, we get an ad saying that Carnation comes from contented cows, which raises the question… How do they know? It’s been a long time since I was last on a farm, but I don’t remember the cows being contended or annoyed. They were just cows, i.e. big, stupid, lumbering, steaks on legs. That’s really all a cow is, and I say that as someone who has looked into the eyes of a cow and seen nothing looking back but void. At any rate, this is pretty good for me as all I need do now is sit back and watch the madness unfold.

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Donald in Mathmagic Land (1959 Buena Vista Film Dir. Hamilton Luske*)
*Luske was the supervising director, with three other’s listed as Sequence Directors.

Like a lot of Walt’s extended short subjects, this half hour production was actually given a theatrical release. Shown with Darby O’Gill and the Little People of all things, this movie interestingly offsets that one. I’m not sure why math and insulting the Irish with stereotypes was thought to have synergy, but there it is. The chief problem is that I’m not sure how educational this movie actually is in the format of a theatrical release. It isn’t that this is a bad movie or anything, it just seems like it’s more to stir your mind rather than actually teach you anything. I can understand it being a film shown in schools, because it seems like your teacher should come out and start talking as soon as it ends. It feels like a discussion tool rather than a piece of general admission entertainment.

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Dracula (1958 Hammer Film Productions Dir. Terence Fisher)

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Hercules Unchained (1959 Dir. Pietro Francisci) MST3K Episode 7 Season 4, August 1st, 1992.

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Sadko (1951 Mosfilm Dir. Aleksandr Ptushko)
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Scrooge (1951 Dir. Brian Desmond Hurst)
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