May 27th, 2010

krazy koati

I walked along happy and then came back, I follow the yellow brick road

More from the Movies Watched While Doing WiiFit Step Aerobics Files: 1944's Heavenly Days, starring Fibber McGee and Molly. In this, Fibber and Molly are invited on vague grounds to visit Molly's relatives in Washington, DC, and so right away we have same problem with the movie that the Lum and Abner feature Two Weeks To Live had: much of the fun of the show is the interaction with the supporting players, and here we skip out on them after the first few minutes. And many of those minutes are taken up with a pompous shopkeeper that I dimly think I kind of remember from the radio show, a character I believe may have tried to fill the arrogant blowhard role left vacant by Throckmorton P Gildersleeve's being spun off to a sitcom proper. (There were two prior movies, and perhaps they stuck more to the radio cast; I suppose the proto-sitcom format of the show would be hard to adapt to movies, particularly as the radio show didn't really support plots so much as extended riffing on a theme, and that's fine for thirty minutes with two song and one commercial interlude but a bit flimsy a structure for eighty uninterrupted minutes.)

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There are a few jokes taken straight from the radio show, and I'm glad to say that both Fibber McGee and Molly look about right --- I assume that pictures of Jim and Marion Jordan worked their way into my expectations --- and their house also looks surprisingly close to what I imagined. Even the opening of the closet door looked about as right as the sound effects were. I know there were two other Fibber McGee and Molly movies, and I wonder if they didn't stick closer to the setting of the radio series and make for a product less needing the ``well, there was a war on'' justification for all the goings-on.

Trivia: For the first nineteen weeks of their run on Fibber McGee and Molly, the title characters were vagabonds wandering the country, with Harlow Wilcox popping in periodically, typically at gas stations, to promote the benefits of Johnson's Car Wax. Source: On The Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, John Dunning.

Currently Reading: Scandal! Amazing Tales Of Scandals That Shocked The World And Shaped Modern Business, Editor Cait Murphy.