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Johnny Mack Brown,
When Jack and Jerry are not playing professional baseball with the Blue Sox, they are packing them in on the Vaudeville circuit. Jack is engaged to Mary, but a gold digger named Daisy has worked her way into his confidence. When Mary sees Jack and Daisy together, she leaves Jack and Jack marries Daisy the next day. When Daisy decides that she wants into the Vaudeville act, she has Jack dump both Jerry and his baseball contract. But Jack soon finds that - no act - means no money - means no Daisy. Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sometimes even obscure early musicals are worth seeking out...
... and this is one of them. The early MGM musical comedies were thin on plot, but this thing is a real showcase of sound entertainment circa 1930. Plus you get to see how baseball was once played by just a bunch of average guys who were mechanics, plumbers, and - in the case of Van and Schenck's characters - vaudevillians From October to April. No wading in tens of millions they could never count for these guys.
The jist of the story is that vaudevillians Jerry Burke (Gus Van) and Jack Glennon (Joe Schenck) are singers half the year, baseball players with the Blue Sox the other half. Jerry is the partying type and Jack is the more level-headed one with a girl that he plans to marry soon, Mary (Bessie Love). Everything has been running smoothly until gold digging Daisy (Mary Doran) gets her eye on Jack and his earning potential.
Besides the baseball scenes from 80 years ago, the best part of this whole film is Nina Mae McKinney singing and dancing to Harlem Madness as well as a close look at two true vaudevillians - Gus and Schenck - in numbers that are pretty close to what they did on stage. Also, the fact is that, besides a couple of Vitaphone shorts, this is the only filmed record of their act or of their acting. Two songs in particular will probably seem jaw-droppingly politically incorrect to most modern viewers - "I'm an Old-Fashioned Guy" and "Dougherty Is the Name", but actually the sentiments in these songs do represent main-stream values of 80 years ago. The contrived comedy skits land with a bit of a thud, and it is a bit of a stretch to think of an entire baseball team breaking into barbershop style song in the shower after the game, but believe me you won't be bored.
One thing that cracked me up - and this is only a conjecture on my part
actress Mary Doran as the gold digger has a voice that is identical
to the cheating wife-dog in the "All Barkies" Dogville short Hot Dog. Since she was under contract to MGM at the time, and MGM is the studio that produced the Dogville shorts, I wonder if that was her voice. It sure did sound like her.
At any rate, I do highly recommend this one.
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