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I recently got a hold of the multi-disk set "Warner Brothers Big Band,
Jazz & Swing Short Subject Collection". It's made up of over 11 hours
of Vitaphone musical shorts. Disk 1 is a bit different in style, as it
consists mostly of the "Ramblin' Round Radio Row" shorts. These mostly
star Jerry Wald. Wald apparently was famous for a newspaper column on
radio programs and this was parlayed into him getting the chance to
produce these shorts.
This is the fourth film from the series--and the fourth one to debut in 1932. Like the rest, the format is a lot like a talent show and the acts are folks that you mostly won't recognize today. In fact, aside from Frances Langford (who gained some measure of fame beyond the radio), there really is nothing to distinguish any of the acts today...nothing. As a result, it's like looking through a family album of a family you have never met...not the most pleasant experience.
Rambling 'Round Radio Row #4 (1933)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
Wald produced, wrote, directed and has a small part in this short that features The Happiness Boys as they try to duck a party but soon find themselves having to witness other guests perform their songs. The Funnyboners, Billy JOnes, Arthur Tracy and various other musicians show up and do several numbers but I will admit that I'm not really familiar with any of them. With that said, I always enjoy when these type of shorts are shown on Turner Classic Movies because it gives me the chance to experience something new. The music here, for the most part, was pretty good but the "story" segments were pretty bland without much life or energy. I'm pretty sure all that stuff was suppose to be funny but it didn't make me laugh and by the end it started to take away from the music.
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