They Never Come Back (1932)

Regis Toomey wonders if he should have learned at least some boxing before doing boxing scenes

Regis Toomey wonders if he should have learned at least some boxing before doing boxing scenes

Fun movie because of some awkward acting, loose writing and absolute proof boxing scenes have come a long,long way. Simple story about an aw shucks kinda guy that’s framed.

Jimmy Nolan (Regis Toomey) is in the biggest fight of his career. Just before heading to the ring he gets a telegram saying his mother just died. He loses the bout and his left arm is damaged. His power punch is his left so he’s washed up.

He brings his sister Mary to the city and he looks for work. Finally his manager sets him up with their friend Kate (Gertrude Astor) who manages a nightclub. Jimmy is the bouncer. The main attraction is dancer Adele (Dorothy Sebastion). Jimmy digs her. After a performance Jimmy hears Adele telling someone to get out of her dressing room. Jimmy comes in and tosses him out. Kate drops it on Jimmy that the man is Jerry Filmore, the owner of the joint. Instead of firing him, Filmore tells Kate that he wants him to stick around.

Adele and her brother Ralph share an apartment. Ralph is the cashier at the club. She doesn’t see him stuff some money in his shoe. The next night at the club Filmore is giving Ralph the look. Ralph asks Jimmy to take over the cash register for a little bit.

The club is closing. Ralph tells Filmore the register is five hundred bucks short. Filmore sends for the beat cop. The cop searches Ralph. No money there. Then he searches Jimmy. Uh-Oh. Filmore presses charges and Jimmy gets six months.

While he’s in stir Ralph and Mary become an item. Adele visits him every week. One night Filmore is at Adele’s place and there’s a knock on the door. It’s Jimmy. He got out a day earlier than he told Adele. Filmore and Adele leave and Jimmy tells Mary to pack her stuff. Before everything gets straightened out Jimmy has his work cut out for him.

The fight scenes in and out of the ring are really bad. It’s worth seeing this just for the unintentional laughs.

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Roy Acuff’s Open House (1960)

roy acuff

Half hour show featuring the Smoky Mountain Boys, square dancers and old fashioned Country music.

Episode from 1960:Show opens with the theme “Keep On The Sunnyside Of Life.”  Time for some square dancing. Both segments are very short.  Roy brings on fiddle player Robert Lewin and Roy sings about the cornfield. Next up The Wilburn Brothers with June Webb sing “I Take The Chance.” Commercial.

Back with the band, The Smoky Mountain Boys and dancers with “Gay Ranchero.”  Time now for June to returns with “Hello Old Broken Heart.”  Roy sings a song about the sinking of the Titanic, “It Was Sad When That Great Ship Went Down”. Commercial.

The banjo player plays and sings “The Great Roundup.”  The Four Clefs do “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.”  The Wilburn Brothers return with “Sparkling Brown Eyes.” Commercial.

The steel guitar player plays and sings “You Can’t Take The Country Out Of The Boy.” Roy and the band do the hymn “Life’s Railway To Heaven.” The show closes

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Man Bait (1952)

man bait 1952

Definitely see this one. Even though she had a number of small roles in movies and TV the opening credits say “Introducing Diana Dors.” Peter Reynolds makes a good sleaze in this story of blackmail and murder. It’s based on a book by James Hadley Chase.

John Harmon (George Brent) manages a London book store. He and his invalid wife are about to leave on a cruise. Ruby Bruce is a clerk. She’s late every day. John mildly tells her off but doesn’t fire her.

She spots a customer opening a cabinet and stealing a rare book. She calls him on it and he puts it back. She doesn’t turn him in and he tells her to meet him that night at his club. She does. She says she’ll meet him again tomorrow night. He’s Jeff Hart (Peter Reynolds) who has just been released from prison.

That meeting will be delayed as she has to work late. She accidentally tears her blouse on a file cabinet while doing inventory with John. When he touches the rip she puts a lip lock on him. At the club Jeff is with his girlfriend Vi. Ruby finally shows up and tells him her boss manhandled her. Jeff punches her on the shoulder to leave a bruise. Then he suggests how she can blackmail John by saying he attacked her.

Her blackmail attempt doesn’t work and Jeff says she should write a letter to John’s wife. She shows it to him and he doesn’t respond. Ruby doesn’t know it but Jeff mailed it. At home John tells his wife all the arrangements have been made for their cruise. The mail comes. He gives her a letter that came for her and then goes to the shop.

A call comes in. She died while getting out of bed to burn the letter. That night John works late to have something to do. Ruby comes in and demands money. He throws her three hundred pounds that he had for the cruise. She goes to her locker in the basement. Jeff sneaks in through a window and sees her putting the money in her purse.

She gives Jeff a hundred pounds and says that’s all there is. He grabs the purse and takes the rest. She lets out a yell and John comes down to investigate. Jeff has his hand tightly over Ruby’s mouth. John sees some books out of line but doesn’t hear anything and leaves. To Jeff’s surprise, Ruby’s dead.

Some good suspense from here on out. Diana Dors shows off her acting chops before becoming famous as a blonde bombshell and ended up showing everything else.

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The Man In Black (1949)

the man in black 1949

Betty Ann Davies makes this fun to watch as a scheming stepmother trying to drive her step daughter crazy so she can inherit the estate.

The movie opens with your storyteller, the man in black (Valentine Dyall). He tells the story of Henry Clavering and his delicate daughter Joan. Henry (Sydney James) is an expert on yoga. His wife Bertha (Betty Ann Davies) and step daughter Janice think he’s nuts. Janice can’t resist tossing smart remarks at him about it.

He tells them that he’s going to give a demonstration that night which will require putting himself into a deep trance. He warns that any noise could be fatal. Of course when he gets into a cataleptic state a picture falls off the wall. That’s it for Henry.

His delicate daughter Joan (Hazel Penwarden) is sent for. Bertha and Janice start scheming. Henry’s will leaves Bertha with five thousand pounds and Janice with a hundred. Joan gets everything when she turns twenty-one. If she becomes incapable of handing the estate’s affairs everything goes to Bertha.

The campaign is on. That night Joan hears and sees things. The next morning Bertha and Janice double team her and tell her her father was a violent man who batted Bertha around. Janice’s fiancee Victor comes by for a stay. He likes Joan. Janice gets jealous.

Henry’s long time loyal servant Hodson becomes friendly with Joan and warns her against Bertha and Janice. Joan is beginning to crack. She even mentions to Bertha that maybe she should handle things. Bertha lies to the estate lawyer about things Joan has been saying and doing. He doesn’t look like he’s buying it. Bertha’s been telling Joan that she’s psychic and thinks Henry may be trying to reach her from the other side. Bertha tells the lawyer that Joan’s been claiming that about herself.

Victor gets drunk and comes on strong to Joan and she runs outside. Victor follows. Hodson shows up and tells Victor he warned him about bothering Joan. Victor goes too far.

The movie is entertaining despite the familiar plot.

The opening credits say “Introducing Hazel Penwarden. She appeared in episodes of several TV shows but didn’t have much of a career.

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Trieste (Intrigue)-Desmond Cory (1954( (Johnny Fedora Series)

desmond cory-trieste

Fourth in the sixteen book series about an English secret agent. The first is 1951’s “Secret Ministry”(“The Nazi Assassins) The last published was 1971’s “Sunburst.” In this one Johnny has to stop the Soviets from taking over Trieste and rescue his girlfriend from the Russians.

British intelligence agent Sebastion Trout leads a team that captures Gregor Panagos. He’s a Soviet agent with a plan to take over Trieste. An offer comes in from the Russians. They’ll release a British agent captured on the Hungarian border and Marie-Andree Videl, Johnny’s girlfriend who was arrested in the Soviet zone of Austria.

The man Trout arrested claims to be Giuseppe Farinati, a radio mechanic from Genoa. Johnny and Trout go to Trieste to investigate. A search of Farinati’s apartment gets them nowhere. Trout puts an ad in the paper asking for any information about Farinati. A man named Partini gives Johnny a lead that gets him the name and address of Farinati’s girlfriend.

They go to her place. Trout tells her he’s from the Passport Department to distract her with questions. That covers for Johnny who sneaks in the back way to search  the place. He finds a photo of her with Farinati they think really is Panagos.

The next day at his hotel a scared Partini shows up and says he’s being followed.  As a cart comes by outside the noise distracts attention from a gunshot that kills Partini. Johnny goes to the window and fires back but misses. It all results in Johnny being escorted out of the city. The British counsel is afraid there’ll be a riot because the people believe a Brit killed an Italian.

On the way to Udine where Johnny will be held prisoner he sees an opportunity to escape. He takes it. Johnny goes back to Trieste and meets up with Trout. Johnny notices something in the photograph that changes everything. Lots of excitement to come.

This is a good series that got started before James Bond so no imitations here.

desmond cory-intrigue (trieste)

 

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The Steve Allen Plymouth Show (1956-60)

Jack Kerouac-Steve Allen

Jack Kerouac-Steve Allen

Classic variety show hosted by Steve with a great crew of regulars and top guests.

November 16,1959 episode – Show opens with a sketch with Steve playing piano as tonight’s guests and show regulars do some comedy.  Steve brings on Frankie Laine who sings “Lover Come Back To Me.” Now a Plymouth commercial.

Steve does “The Allen Report To The Nation”, a bit about the common cold and brings on Louis Nye as a the owner of a factory that makes medicine for colds.  Bandleader Les Brown comes out as a man that was experimented on. Next up is Don Knotts as bacteriologist Professor Dorton. The bit closes with Louis.

Steve recommends a couple books. One is “Exodus” by Leon Uris The next is “Gentlemen, Scholars And Scoundrels-The Best From Harper’s Magazine From 1850 To The Present.” The theme to “Richard Diamond” is heard and that brings on Pam, Garner to sing the vocal version called “The Girl With The Long Black Hair.” Plymouth commercial.

Steve intros a bit about TV shows that use canned laughter. The sketch is about over using it. William Bendix is the featured player. Then Steve brings on billboard girl Vicki Dugan. They plug next week’s show with Mickey Rooney, Mel Torme and June Christy. Steve shows a picture of his mother who was a vaudeville actress. He says the two will do her old act next week. Steve will reprise his father’s part. Also appearing will be The Nutty Squirrels who had a hit with “Uh-Oh.”

Pat Harrington,Jr. comes out and brings on the bit called “The Question Man” with Steve. Pat gives him the answer and Steve gives the question…Is this where “Jeopardy” came from?  It didn’t start until 1964. It also influenced Johnny Carson to do Karnak.

Dancers come out with a Jazz routine. That leads to Jack Kerouac. Steve accompanies him on piano while Jack reads from “On The Road.”  Another Plymouth commercial for the 1960 model.. This one has Don Knotts.

Frankie Laine is back and sings “The Hard Way”.”  Steve closes the show and introduces the guests and the regulars including Dayton Allen and Gabriel Dell.

 

 

 

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Dark Waters (1944)

dark waters 1944

Good performances from Thomas Mitchell and Elisha Cook,Jr. can’t save this dull story about a woman who is being driven crazy at the family plantation. One big factor in destroying credibility is the film makers own fault. The setting is the bayou country where it’s hot,humid,sticky and at times hard to even breath. So why would they insist on their male actors to always wear a suit and tie? It makes no sense.

Leslie Calvin (Merle Oberon) survives a ship that’s sunk by a German U-Boat. Her wealthy parents were among those killed. She’s recovering in a New Orleans hospital. She gets a letter from her Aunt Emily to come out to the sugar plantation in the bayou country. Leslie sends a telegram that she’s on her way. She’s never met her.

No one meets her at the train station and she faints on a bench. She wakes up in the office of Dr.George Grover (Franchot Tone). He drives her out to the plantation. They’re met by Mr.Sydney (Thomas Mitchell). He says he’s a guest. Emily says they never received her telegram.

Dr.Grover advises everyone not to question her about her experience. Later Sydney is complaining to the maid about the dust and all the paper in the trash can. He adds one more. It’s the telegram. The nest day Sydney and the overseer Cleeve (Elisha Cook,Jr.) give her a tour of the plantation. Cleeve tries to get her into a boat. Dr.Grover shows up and takes her to the neighbors.

After a fun visit Sydney and Cleeve take her to the movies. On comes a news reel about a sinking sub with survivors in the water. Leslie freaks and walks out. The next day she’s relaxing outside when Pearson Jackson (Rex Ingram) shows up. He wants to know why he was fired after twelve years.

That night Grover takes her to a big dance. When he drives up in front of the plantation to drop her back home he proposes to her. She says she can’t see him again and that she belongs under the water with her parents and is having a lot of hallucinations. She runs inside.

Later that night she hears her name being called from the swamp. Emily says it’s her imagination. She goes out to investigate and runs into Pearson. He tells her he hears it too. She calls Grover for help but he’s out on a call. Emily starts to talk about Leslie’s mother when they were growing up. Leslie smells a rat. Then she goes out to the swamp to meet Pearson. Now she knows something’s very wrong.

As good as Mitchell and Cook,Jr. are this is a colossal bore.

 

 

 

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