A session with the insurance doctor turns into a comedy routine.

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Cast

Cast overview:
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Sidney B. Zwieback
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Storyline

Sidney Swieback visits the insurance doctor; the examination turns into an stand-up comedy routine, including the song "Now That the Girls are Wearing Long Dresses." Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

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Comedy | Musical | Short

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Release Date:

23 August 1930 (USA)  »

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1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Sidney B. Zwieback: I can't sleep.
Doctor: Oh, insomnia.
Sidney B. Zwieback: No, I can't sleep.
Doctor: Why can't you sleep?
Sidney B. Zwieback: I can't find a place.
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Soundtracks

Now That the Girls Are Wearing Long Dresses
(uncredited)
Written by Eddie Cantor
Played during the opening credits and at the end
Also performed by Eddie Cantor
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User Reviews

 
A ten-minute Vaudeville time capsule
30 September 2006 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

Eddie Cantor was hugely popular in his day, but his fame doesn't seem to have lasted as long as that of some of his contemporaries. He was part of the generation of comics that included W.C. Fields, the Marx Brothers, Jack Benny, and Burns & Allen, but for various reasons their names and characterizations remain familiar in the 21st century while Cantor's reputation has faded. He appeared in a number of films but his vehicles were decidedly products of their time; they weren't rediscovered and championed by later generations like the comedies of Fields or the Marxes. He's better remembered by animation buffs as a caricature in old cartoons than as a flesh-and-blood performer. Much of Cantor's latter-day success was in radio, and although he worked extensively in early TV he never scored a hit series that lived on in re-runs, like Burn & Allen's sitcom or Groucho's quiz show. Unlike George M. Cohan or Fanny Brice he didn't even get a decent film version of his life to keep his name before the public.

Insurance is a brief talkie short featuring Eddie Cantor doing a typical stage routine, made at Paramount's East Coast Astoria Studio in March of 1930. The premise could hardly be simpler: the scene is a doctor's office. Eddie plays a man named Zwieback who is submitting to a medical exam because he needs insurance coverage. An attractive secretary in a short dress takes notes and otherwise serves as pleasant scenery. The doctor is the straight man, patiently delivering set-ups for Eddie's jokes, e.g. Q: "Born?" A: "Yes!" Q: "Business?" A: "Terrible!" etc. There's no audience present but the scene amounts to a filmed stage sketch, complete with pauses for anticipated laughter. Some viewers may be a little startled when the doctor orders Eddie to take off his clothes and he coyly replies: "You don't know me well enough!" When Eddie runs out of jokes he sings a song, "Now That the Girls Are Wearing Long Dresses (Men Can Keep Their Minds on Their Work)." All in all it's a cute sketch that gives a contemporary viewer a sense of what made Cantor popular in his day. He's not as witty as Groucho or as personable as Benny, but this short offers a good sample of his high energy performance style. Screen it with a few Vitaphone comedy sketches and mini-musicals you'll have an enjoyable recreation of an evening of top-flight Vaudeville.


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