Looking For Trouble (1934)

looking for trouble 1934

Spencer Tracy and Jack Oakie are telephone repairmen that find more trouble that they bargained for. Oakie gets annoying and the ending is way, way,way out of left field. You’ll never see it coming. Character actor Charles Lane has a quick bit as a switchboard operator. In the credits he’s listed under his real name Charles Levison.

Joe Graham (Spencer Tracy) is offered an office job but tells his boss James Regan (Paul Harvey) he’s happy working on the lines and taking trouble calls. He’s got more overtime that night but his partner Dan Sutter (Morgan Conway) tells Regan his mother is sick and he can’t work that night. Joe is stuck with new transfer Casey (Jack Oakie). He’s a joker who likes to use hand buzzers and whoopie cushions to get a laugh.

The first call is a phone off the hook. When they get inside the apartment they find a dead man. It’s a heart attack. The next call takes them to a gambling club. Inside there’s Dan, drunk. Casey goes outside to climb the pole. One of the customers, Pearl LaTour comes on to Joe.

While repairing the line Casey overhears the cops talking about raiding the joint.  He tells Joe what he heard. Dan overhears them talking about it and tells the owner. Joe and Casey are blamed for the raids’ failure. When the cops got there the joint was empty.

Joe knows Dan is the real cause and he gives him the old one-two punch. Regan fires Dan. That night Joe smooths things over with his girlfriend Ethel Greenwood (Constance Cummings). The peace doesn’t last long as Dan comes to Ethel’s place. He lies to her and says Joe got him fired. Joe and Ethel argue and she heads out with Dan. Casey is with her roommate Maizie.

Joe and Ethel argue some more and she quits the phone company. Casey says they have a call at a real estate company. It was just a ploy to get Joe there because Ethel is a secretary. Looks like they’re pals again until Dan shows up. He’s the manager and gave her the job. Joe tries to make her jealous and comes on to Pearl.

The company is just a front for Dan’s racket. It’s next door to an investment firm. Dan taps their phone lines so he can get stock tips. He has Pearl and two guys in on it with him. Now customers are avoiding buying stocks and the racket is over. Checks are made out to the guys and Pearl with their cuts of the profits. Dan says he doesn’t know what name Pearl is using and says to leave the name blank.

He tries to convince Ethel to come away with him to Mexico City. He fills her name on the check. She refuses to take it.  One of the guys overhears that a shipment of two million dollars in negotiable securities will be stashed in the vault that night. The plan is to break through the wall and grab them.

Joe and Casey discover the wiretap and investigate. They’re caught by Dan and company and tied up and have to watch them dig through the floor. They must be nice crooks because they keep their suits and ties on while digging. To add insult to injury Dan calls Ethel and tells her to meet him at his apartment. She’s agreed to leave with him. Joe is right there and hears it all. Joe trips the fire alarm but since there’s no fire the fireman leave. Casey starts a fire and Dan and the boys head for the hills.

Joe takes the cops to Dan’s place. He’s dead and the check with Ethel’s name on it is in his hand. She’s arrested for his murder. It’s up to Joe and Casey to save her. They get some unexpected help.

The movie’s not very good and the events towards the end will have you shaking your head.

Charles Lane

Charles Lane


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Magoo In Hi-Fi-Jim Backus (1956)


A1 Magoo Opening
A2 Le Jazz Warm
A3 Portrait Of Mr. Magoo
A4 Wormwood Scrubs March
A5 If I Had The Wings Of An Angel

Arranged By – Dennis Farnon
A6 Wormwood Scrubs March – Closing
Mother Magoo Suite
B1 Half The Kings Men
B2 Very Contrary Mary

Soprano Vocals [Solo] – Marni Nixon
B3 Hip Pocket Full Of Rye
B4 The Little Miss Muffet It
B5 Not-So-Simple Simon
B6 Sheepish Bo-Peep

Soprano Vocals [Solo] – Marni Nixon
B7 The Little Boy Blew

Composed By – Dennis FarnonTrumpet [Piccolo Solo] – Paul Geil

Voice Actor [Mr. Magoo] – Jim Backus (tracks: Side A)
Voice Actor [Waldo] – Daws Butler (tracks: Side A)

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Now I’ll Tell (When New York Sleeps) (1934)

now i'll tell 1934

Based on the book by the wife of notorious gangster Arnold Rothstein. Spencer Tracy is great to watch and makes this one to look for. Look fast for a quick bit by Shirley Temple before she became a superstar. She plays the daughter of a cop.

It’s 1909 in Saratoga. Murray Golden (Spencer Tracy) is pulling cons to get betting money. Murray is obsessed with hanging out with the the rich crowd.

It’s now 1914 and he’s married to Virginia (Helen Twelvetrees). Murray runs a successful gambling  joint in New York. The faithful Virginia is bored and he promises to get out after he’s made a half million. Six millionaires are in the place that night. Gangster Al Mossiter (Robert Glecker) is losing big and Murray says he’s lost enough.

Mossiter says the game is crooked. Murray says they’ll do a coin toss. If Mossiter wins the debt is cleared. He wins. He doesn’t know that he really lost but Murray didn’t want his place tainted by having anyone think it’s crooked. He leaves but his date stays behind. She’s singer Peggy Warren (Alice Faye). That’s the start of an affair. The take for the night puts him over the half million mark. He tells Virginia but says he doesn’t want to give the place up while he’s on a roll.

Move up to 1919. Murray finds out that Mossiter has fixed a fight between Eddie Traylor and George Curtis. Traylor has been paid to take a dive in the fifth round. Murray breaks down the honesty of Curtis and pays him to take a fall in round two. The fight goes his way but his marriage is in trouble. Virginia is at the fight with a friend and overhears gossip about Murray and Peggy. He’s set up a hundred thousand dollar trust fund for her and an apartment on Park Avenue.

Murray talks his pal Freddy into telling Virginia that he’s the guy that’s been fooling around with Peggy. She kind of buys it. He says he’s quitting and going into the insurance business. Then he gets a phone call. Traylor’s been found murdered.

1924. Curtis is a drunken wreck. Mossiter gets him to admit he was paid off and who gave him the money. Murray visits a boyhood friend who is now a police detective. He tries to bribe him to disappear when a client comes up for trial so the charges will be dropped. The cop isn’t going for it. A call comes in for Murray. Virginia has been kidnapped. It’s Mossiter’s way of getting the money he lost on the fight back. Murray orders Freddy to pay the ransom. He jumps in his car where Peggy is waiting. He tells his driver to speed up. Now his life starts its reverse.

It comes to a melodramatic ending with a serving of corn but it fits in with the rest of the movie.

Helen Twelvetrees

Helen Twelvetrees

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Jazz Masters Of Acoustic Guitar And Some Bluesmen Too


1. Hittin’ On All Six – John Cali & Toni Guttuso
2. Whispering – Oscar Aleman
3. Georgia Bound – Blind Blake
4. Toledo Shuffle – Bernard Addison [with Freddie Jenkins]
5. Eddie’s Twister – Eddie Lang
6. Buck Jumpin’ – Al Casey [with Fats Waller]
7. Feeling My Way – Eddie Lang & Carl Kress
8. With Plenty Of Money And You – Oscar Moore [with Nat King Cole]
9. Chasing A Buck – Dick McDonough
10. Profoundly Blue – Charlie Christian [with Edmond Hall]
11. A Handful Of Riffs – Lonnie Johnson & Eddie Lang
12. I’ll See You In My Dreams – Django Reinhardt
13. Hey Hey – Big Bill Broonzy
14. Once In A While – George Van Eps
15. When I’m Alone – Eddie Durham [with Bennie Moten]
16. Peg Leg Shuffle – Carl Kress
17. My Blue Heaven – Johnny St. Cyr [with Lille Delk Christian]
18. Chicken A La Swing – Carl Kress & Dick McDonough
19. Cuitar In High – Teddy Bunn
20. Pickin’ For Patsy – Allan Reuss [with Jack Teagarden]
21. Guitarese – Roy Smeck’s Serenaders
22. Jazz In G – Carl Kress & Tony Mattola
23. Swing Out Of Rhythm – Lonnie Johnson
24. I’m Fer It Too – Freddie Green [with Dicky Wells]

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The Detective (Father Brown-Detective) (1954)

the detective (father brown) 1954

Alec Guinness is fun to watch as G.K.Chesterton’s amateur detective Father Brown. He’s trying to keep an art thief out of the hands of police until he can save his soul.

A meeting is taking place in Rome. Father Brown’s 12th century cross is going to be a part of it. A police escort has been arranged to get it there safely. In just a few minutes Father Brown says he’s thought of three ways it can be stolen. Everyone is afraid the master jewel thief Gustave Flambeau (Peter Finch) will make a try for it. Not helping matters is that he is a master of disguise.

Father Brown proposes carrying the cross himself. He feels it’ll be too obvious a place among a group of priests and thereby a lot safer. He wraps it in brown paper and also makes up a similar package and carries them both aboard a ship to the first stop, France.

At an outdoor cafe in France Father Brown is sitting at a table with Flambeau. He uncovered his identity earlier after riding on a train with him. The French police are watching them. Father Brown proposes making their escape on a tourist bus to the catacombs.

Once inside Flambeau says he has the cross. He switched parcels at the cafe. He takes off. Father Brown enlists the help of parishioner Lady Warren (Joan Greenwood). He wants her to auction of a valuable chess set. He figures Flambeau won’t be able to resist trying to grab it. He’s right. Despite all the security Flambeau wins again.

Father Brown refuses to give up. A bottle of wine helps him track Flambeau down. The movie drags in spots but Father Brown is an appealing eccentric character who takes impromptu judo lessons and has his own unique way of doing things that usually get him in hot water with the arch bishop.

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Callan (1967-72)


This is a great series that shows the ugly side of secret service work. Edward Woodward is David Callan, an agent who had had it and wants to retire. If this shows up on a channel near you, don’t miss it.

Opening episode: July 8,1967 – “The Good Ones Are All Dead” – Callan wants to quit the secret service. He’s tired of killing people. His boss Charlie Hunter says he has an assignment he must take. Callan says he might just kill him when it’s over if he’s not allowed to retire.

The assignment is to watch Niklos Stavros. It’s suspected that he’s really Nazi war criminal Strauss. He was in charge of slave labor for the V2 rocket factory. He has to keep him alive so the Israelis can nab him. Hunter assigns agent Toby Meres to keep an eye on Callan. Also watching him is Israeli agent Avram. Neither one likes Callan.

Callan gets a job as a bookkeeper for Stavros. His girlfriend Jeanne is his secretary. She doesn’t like Callan. One night they go to an opera and that gives Callan a chance to search the hotel suite. He finds a locked wardrobe. His next move is to call Lonely. He’s a small time crook who smells when he’s nervous.  Callan demands he get him a gun and a blank key.

Toby has a man named Berg to positively identify Stavros as Strauss. He gets him a ticket in the seat behind Stavros at the theatre. Berg was a house slave to Stavros during the war. He makes the ID.

Callan gets his chance to search the wardrobe. He finds a trunk with the initials R.S. Inside is a uniform, a party card and a gun along with other proof. He just gets out of the room when Jeanne shows up. She finds evidence that Callan has been in the room and lets him know.

This is a good opening to a great series. The opening episode is based on “A Magnum For Schneider” which was an episode of “Armchair Theatre.”

American audiences got to know Edward Woodward as “The Equalizer” (1985-89).


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Satan Met A Lady (1936)

satan met a lady 1936

Screwball comedy based on a novel by Dashiell Hammett. Warren William is a womanizing, money hungry private detective, Bette Davis is his client and Marie Wilson is his secretary. Silly entertainment you have to be in the right mood to watch.

Ted Shane (Warren William) goes back to his old agency after three years. His partner Milton Ames is sacked out on the couch and their secretary Murgatroyd (Marie Wilson) hasn’t been paid in weeks. Nash got them a client on the train by convincing her she needed a bodyguard.

Now another client walks in. She’s Valerie Purvis (Bette Davis) who wants a man she says promised to marry her found. That night Shane is at a nightclub with Murgatroyd when he gets a call to go to a cemetery. The cops are waiting. Ames has been shot to death. Right after he leaves another man is killed. Turns out he’s Farrow, the one Valerie wanted found. Shane goes to see her and tries to force the real story out of her.

When he gets home he finds the place has been torn apart. The man who did it shows up. He’s Anthony Travers (Arthur Treacher). He’s looking for the ancient trumpet of the legendary Roland. It’s said that it’s stuffed with jewels. It’s a real cornball scene between the two.

Shane believes that Valerie is also looking for it. He’s being followed by Kenny who he keeps treating lightly. Kenny takes him to his Aunt Barabbas. She’s a known crook and is also searching for the trumpet. Never one to miss an opportunity Shane collects money from Valerie, Barabbas and Travers to find the horn.

He gets a message to go to the docks and meet a ship that just arrived. When he gets there it’s on fire. Valerie, Barabbas and Travers are all keeping an eye on him. Somehow he gets a package containing the trumpet. The movie gets wackier before the finish.

William is fun to watch and Marie Wilson is also a lot of fun. Bette Davis is just okay in her light comedy role.



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