Meet the movie that inspired A Date With Judy & Bye Bye Birdie... maybe!
It was interesting to see Bing's brother Bob in a rare starring role, and now I can see why he made relatively few films. Bob Crosby doesn't have one tenth the on-screen charm of his brother. And for those who (simply 'cause he made everything look so easy) still don't think much of Bing's acting abilities (despite the Oscar nods), well... take a look at Bob. Maybe it's not fair to compare him to his brother, but it can't be helped, really. He isn't horrible in "Meet Miss Bobby Socks", but pretty bland and unremarkable.
I can also understand why Bob's singing career never rivaled Bing's - despite a superficial similarity in the tone of their voices, I thought that Bob was lacking in phrasing and control...judging by the songs in this film. There are some shaky moments, a few bum notes and loss of breath. It's a pity he sounded like Bing at all, because it only dooms him to inevitable comparisons. If Bob had a completely different sound, maybe we could take him on his own terms.
Now let's talk about the real star of this film, despite her third billing - Louise Erickson. She was most convincing as the 15 year old bobbysoxer who forms a fanclub for her favorite crooner and sets out to win him fame, and win his heart. At once clever and foolish, callous to the boy-next-door (he of the constantly cracking voice), deceitful and pretentious as a teenager can be, but still managing to be sympathetic.
Her acting was so competent and self-assured, I was surprised to see how few film credits Louise has here at the IMDb. A little research on the internet reveals that her talents were better used on radio, including starring in the long-running radio version of "A Date With Judy" (basis for the film starring Jane Powell)! I can easily imagine Louise in this role, since elements of "Meet Miss Bobby Socks" actually reminded me of the movie "A Date With Judy". Teenage girl taking faithful-boy-her-own-age for granted, and crushing on an older man (who's in love with a more sophisticated woman)... teenager's slang & silly attempts to act grown-up, providing a source of amusement to her parents, etc.
I suppose you could say this film is a sort of combination of (and precursor to, as these other films all came later) "A Date With Judy" (cute family dynamic, daughter makes trouble), "The Bachelor And The Bobbysoxer" (kid crushes on older man in love with her older sister), and "Bye Bye Birdie" (teenage fanclub shrieks & swoons over popular singer/heartthrob). I wonder if "Meet Miss Bobby Socks", as little-known as it is, inspired these more famous movies? In any case, I recommend this charming, amusing film. It's a little corny, but sweet.
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