I’m No Angel (1933)

i'm no angel 1933

There has never been anyone close to the unique Mae West. She may have been a parody of herself in later years but to really appreciate her, movies like this are a must see. She wrote the story,screenplay and all the dialogue for this one.

Tira (Mae West) is a dancer in a carnival. She wows the crowd while Slick Wiley works them as a pickpocket. During her act she flirts with a man in the front row after seeing his big diamond pinkie ring.

She invites him up to her hotel room. After a bit Slick charges in. He hits him over the head and steals the ring. Slick and Tira think he’s dead and move the body. The man is very much alive. Tira tells show owner Big Bill Barton (Edward Arnold) she needs money for her lawyer Benny Pinkowitz. She promises she’ll work with the lions and even stick her head in a lions mouth. He gives her the money. Slick goes to jail and the show goes to New York.

Tira is a sensation and draws the attention of millionaire Kirk Lawrence (Kent Taylor). He and his friends go to her dressing room after the show. Kirk’s fiancee Alicia waits outside rather than socialize with Tira. Kirk on purpose leaves his cane behind so he can return later for it.

Kirk ends up buying Tira expensive clothes, jewelry and furs. His cousin Jack Clayton (Cary Grant) advises him to stay with Alicia and even visits Tira to get her to stop seeing Kirk. Alicia even tries to buy her off. Tira does give him up after falling for Jack. They get engaged.

Slick is now out of jail. She gives him a few bucks and tells him to go see Barton for some work. She gives Barton her two week notice. He doesn’t want her to go since her act bring in the big bucks. He cooks up a plan with Slick to stop the wedding.

Barton pays off Tira’s chauffeur to strand her so Slick can be at her penthouse when Jack comes over. Slick makes himself at home and gives Jack the impression he’s her boyfriend. Jack calls the engagement off and leaves town and isn’t available to talk to anyone including Tira.

Tira calls Benny and wants to sue Jack for breach of promise. Now comes one of the funniest trial sequences of the era especially when Tira asks the questions.

Any of her early movies are must sees for comedy fans and anyone who wants to see a legend at work. Towards the end she does say those immortal words, “Come up and see me sometime.”

Kent Taylor was TV’s “Boston Blackie” (1951-53) and Captain Jim Flagg in “The Rough Riders” (1958-59). His career ended with a series of cheap horror flicks.

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The Real Christmas Groovers-Various Artists 3 CD’S

christmas-cover

CD 1
01. Andy Williams – It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (02:32)
02. Dean Martin – A Marshmallow World (02:40)
03. Harry Belafonte – Mary’s Boy Child (Remastered) (04:21)
04. Frank Sinatra – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (02:33)
05. Jane Monheit, Steve Tyrell – Baby, It’s Cold Outside (03:20)
06. Barry Manilow – I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm (02:58)
07. Engelbert Humperdinck – Winter World Of Love (03:18)
08. John Pizzarelli, Don Sebesky – Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow (02:24)
09. Percy Faith & His Orchestra And Chorus – Happy Holiday (01:57)
10. Robert Goulet – White Christmas (03:19)
11. Frank Sinatra – It Came Upon The Midnight Clear (03:32)
12. Mel Torme – The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) (03:11)
13. Vic Damone – Deck The Halls (01:53)
14. Perry Como – Do You Hear What I Hear (Remastered) (03:13)
15. Gene Autry, Rosemary Clooney – The Night Before Christmas Song (02:47)
16. The Ray Conniff Singers – Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town (02:28)

CD2
01. Elvis Presley – Blue Christmas (02:06)
02. Perry Como – (There’s No Place Like) Home For The Holidays (1954 Version) (02:51)
03. Johnny Mathis – We Need A Little Christmas (01:54)
04. Eddy Arnold – Jingle Bell Rock (02:13)
05. Gene Autry – Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) (02:30)
06. Louis Prima – Shake Hands With Santa Claus (Mono Recording) (02:25)
07. Robert Goulet – God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (02:08)
08. Jim Reeves – Jingle Bells (01:47)
09. Jerry Vale – Silver Bells (03:19)
10. Andy Williams – O Little Town Of Bethlehem (02:27)
11. John Davidson – The First Noel (02:44)
12. Roger Whittaker – Ding! Dong! Merrily On High (04:45)
13. Burl Ives – Holly Jolly Christmas (02:12)
14. Frank Devol & His Orchestra, Bing Crosby – The Secret Of Christmas (02:54)
15. Eddie Fisher – Christmas Day (02:59)
16. Bobby Vinton – My Christmas Prayer (03:17)

CD3
01. Jose Feliciano – Feliz Navidad (03:02)
02. Dean Martin – The Things We Did Last Summer (02:42)
03. Elvis Presley – If Every Day Was Like Christmas (02:52)
04. Tony Bennett – All I Want For Christmas Is You (04:16)
05. Frankie Laine – You’re All I Want For Christmas (02:35)
06. Harry Nilsson – Remember (Christmas) (04:06)
07. Charlie Daniels – My Christmas Love Song To You (04:01)
08. Don Sebesky – Snowfall (03:11)
09. Henry Mancini & His Orchestra And Chorus – Little Drummer Boy (03:14)
10. Johnny Mathis – Have A Holly Jolly Christmas (01:59)
11. Bobby Vinton – O Holy Night (03:37)
12. Benny Goodman And His Orchestra – Santa Claus Came In The Spring (From “Beat The Band”) (03:06)
13. Mario Lanza – O Christmas Tree (01:47)
14. Eddy Arnold – C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S (02:27)
15. Percy Faith & His Orchestra, Johnny Mathis – Silent Night, Holy Night (03:49)
16. Perry Como – Ave Maria (1968 Version) (04:44)

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Sign Of The Wolf (1941)

sign of the wolf 1941

Based somewhat on the Jack London 1908 story, “That Spot.” Alsatian Shepherds Smokey and Shadow get starring roles in a story about evil fox fur poachers, a little kid who loves dogs and an attraction between Mantan Moreland and Louise Beavers.

Judy Weston (Grace Bradley) along with her employee Ben (Mantan Moreland)  bring her dogs Smokey and Shadow to a prestigious show to try and get some ribbons. The two dogs rivalry gets them disqualified. She sells Shadow to another breeder and she and Ben go to her plane to return home. She doesn’t know that Ben snuck Shadow on board.

She flies through a thunderstorm and can’t get above it. She finally discovers that Shadow is with them. She can’t do anything about that now. The plane crashes knocking out Judy and Ben. The dogs leave to look around.

Shadow makes it to a fox farm and convinces humans Rod Freeman (Michael Whalen) and his young brother Billy (Darryl Hickman) to follow him to the plane. Judy and Ben are recovering in the cabin. Rod’s housekeeper Beulah (Louise Beavers) accidentally tells her that Smokey is missing.

Smokey is watching the evil Mort Gunning and Blackie Fargo training a dog to jump into a fox pen practicing to grab a fox and jump back over the fence. The dog just isn’t getting it. Smokey sees him being fed and since he’s hungry he steps in and shows them how it’s done.

Judy put a five hundred dollar reward out to find Smokey. Gunning thinks the dog is worth a hundred grand because of all the foxes he can steal for their pelts. Gunning goes to Freeman’s place with Smokey’s collar. He says the dog was killed by wolves. Shadow smells Smokey’s scent on Gunning and jumps him. Rod breaks it up.

That night Shadow goes in search of Smokey. Smokey is busy raiding fox farms and making Gunning and Blackie very happy. The townspeople blame wolves but Gunning blames Shadow. Looks like it’s up to Shadow to save Smokey from a life of crime.

Darryl Hickman is the older brother of Dwayne “Dobie Gillis” Hickman and has had a long movie and TV career.

Shadow appeared in a number of movies as Grey Shadow. Smokey’s career never got off the ground.

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The Elgin Hour (1954-55)

Boris Karloff

Boris Karloff

Dramatic anthology series sponsored by Elgin watches.

February 22,1955 episode: “Sting Of Death” w/Boris Karloff and Hermoine Gingold – Based on the classic horror novel by Gerald Heard using the name H.F.Heard.

Mycroft Holmes (Boris Karloff) lives in the English countryside. One day bees kill his dog. Professor Silchester (Robert Flemying) rents a cottage for his summer vacation. His housekeeper is Alice (Hermoine Gingold). He has a real taste for honey and is obsessed with getting a supply.

Beekeepers in the area have been going out of business and their bees die off. One man is left. He’s Mr.Hargrove (Martyn Green). Silchester goes to his farm and hears a loud argument going on inside between Hargrove and his wife. Silchester keeps ringing the bell and an irate Hargrove comes out. Silchester buys a few weeks supply.

As he’s returning home he’s stopped by Mr.Mycroft. He tells Silchester that Hargrove is breeding killer bees that have been destroying other bees in the area then his dog. He shows Silchester through a magnifying glass that the bees he took from his dog have huge stingers. Maybe humans are next. Silchester’s not buying it. Later Alice tells Silchester that Hargrove’s wife was stung to death.

A few weeks go by and Silchester is out of honey. He goes to see Hargrove for more. He hears a jar smash and sees that Hargrove has cut his finger. Silchester gets a bottle of disinfectant from the medicine cabinet and puts some on Hargrove’s finger.

When he gets home bees are all over the place. He gets stung and passes out. When he comes to Mycroft is there with a smoke gun. He tells him the disinfectant is actually a substance that attracts Hargrove’s killer bees.

The two go back to Hargrove’s and Mycroft manages to make off with a sample of the formula. The bees have another target.

This isn’t too bad. Karloff is his usual quality self. Flemying gets on your nerves quickly. Then again that’s the part he’s playing but he’s still very annoying.

 

 

 

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I Was A Teenage Werewolf (1957)

i was a teenage werewolf 1957

Acting by Michael Landon and Barney Phillips save this from being the laughfest the title suggests. Credit also goes to Whit Bissell for not hamming it up despite some of the lines he has to deliver.

Tony Rivers (Michael Landon) is a troubled teenager. Detective Donovan (Barney Phillips) tries to get him to see psychiatrist Dr.Alfred Brandon (Whit Bissell). He uses hypnosis and Donovan thinks he may be able to help Tony get to the root of his emotional problems. Of course he resists.

Tony argues with his girlfriend Arlene (Yvonne Lime), his father who wants him to try conforming, Arlene’s father and anyone else who crosses his path. He takes Arlene to a Halloween party at an abandoned house he found. This is the usual inaccurate 1950’s movie scene where the music is way off from what teens were listening to.

The “kids” enjoyed playing tricks on each other. Vic (Ken Miller) sings a corny song. Later he blows a trumpet into Tony’s ear as a joke. Tony decks him and shoves Arlene. Tony’s next stop is Dr.Brandon.

Brandon wants to use Tony as a guinea pig in his regression experiments. His assistant Dr.Hugo Wagner objects but, Brandon’s the boss. He keeps taking Tony back in time and even tries to get him to remember what it was like at the dawn of mankind hunting through the woods.

After another party one of the “kids” named Frank says he’ll take a short cut through the woods to get home. He hears something following him. He finally sees it. He won’t have to worry about going to college.

Chief Baker and Donovan along with Officer Chris Stanley (Guy Williams) are looking at pictures of Frank’s body. Donovan says it looks like something with fangs killed him. Baker tells Chris to lock up the pictures before anyone else sees them. Pepe the janitor asks to take a look. Chris shows him. Pepe says it’s the work of a werewolf.

Tony’s life is getting better. He’s called into principal Ferguson’s office. She has a good report on him from Brandon and she says if he keeps going in the right direction she’ll recommend him to State College.

A happy Tony walks down the hall and passes the gym where Teresa is rehearsing routines. He watches her until the bell rings in his ear. Now he changes into a werewolf. Goodbye Teresa. Her screams bring out the principal and a bunch of students. They all freak looking at the face and all recognize the jacket Tony’s wearing.

Baker wants the media to back off but they interview as many people as they can. Meanwhile Tony is running through the woods as the hunt is on. There’s only one place for him to go.

A lot of people avoided this because of the dumb title but then changed their minds when they finally watched it. It’s not great but it shows what can happen when the cast stays professional despite some head shaking dialogue.

Landon was twenty-one when he made this. Yvonne Lime and most of the other “kids” were twenty-two.

Little Werewolf On The Prairie

Little Werewolf On The Prairie

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Let’s Make Music (1941)

let's make music 1941

Feel good fluff piece about a sixty year old school teacher who writes a high school fight song that becomes a big hit with the Bob Crosby Orchestra. Of course the movie features Bob and the orchestra along with his singing group The Bob-O-Links and the dixieland group The Bobcats. It’s a no brainer that Bob Haggart and Ray Bauduc will show up for “Big Noise From Winnetka.”

In a small town high school music teacher Malvina Adams’ (Elisabeth Risdon) music classes are only drawing a few bored students. They’re tried of Classical and are into Swing. Principal Mr.Stevens wants her to try and come up with some ideas to attract more students.

Malvina has written a song called “Fight On For Newton High” and sings it for the band. Everyone hates it and thinks it’s too corny. Her niece Abby (Jean Rogers) sends it to some New York song publishers. Bob Crosby and his arranger Joe Bellah (Joseph Buloff) are in the office of publisher Mr.Botts. Bob pulls out Malvina’s song and thinks he can do something with it.

Bob and Joe travel to Newton to talk with Malvina. Abby rejects the idea of her going to New York but finally agrees to two weeks. Once there Abby drags her to tourist spots that bore Malvina. She wants to go to the Carlton Hotel where Bob is playing. He tried out the song and really likes it.

In their hotel room Malvina complains of indigestion and tells Abby she’s going to the drug store. She heads right for the Carlton and Bob puts her on the bandstand to sing her song.  Abby is concerned that Malvina hasn’t come back after several hours. She’s about to head for the police station when a drunk in the lobby turns on the radio. She hears Malvina. Abby heads for the Carlton.

It’s rough going for a while as Abby thinks she’s making a fool of herself but eventually comes around as Bob throws on the charm. Malvina is a big hit. But after a while the novelty is wearing off and record sales are slipping. Someone has to tell Malvina that a two week engagement has been shortened to a week. It’s takes time for someone to finally tell her.

She’s determined not to be a one hit wonder and tries writing more songs. Every publisher in the phone book turns her down. She doesn’t know it but Bob reworks one of the songs and she has another hit on her hands. Of course she’s not fooled. Can you see the happy ending coming?

 

 

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Santa Claus Is Coming To Town-Blue Barron And His Orchestra (EP)

blue-barron-cover-xmas

1. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
2. Red Cheeks And White Whiskers
3. Santa Claus Lullaby
4. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

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