|Index||5 reviews in total|
So You Think You're Allergic (1945)
*** (out of 4)
Third entry in the Joe McDoakes series has George O'Hanlon playing our hero. This time out Joe is suffering from allergies and each morning he wakes up sneezing and this continues until he's back to bed. I prefer the later shorts in this series but for these early entries this one here is pretty good. As normal for this point in the series, we not only get O'Hanlon doing his comedy bit but Knox Manning doing the narration. What works best in this short as some of the backstory entries as we learn how allergies have effected the McDoakes family throughout time. The sequence about the very first man to walk past hay and sneeze was a good one as is what happens when a future McDoakes tries to solve the problem. We also get some "facts" told to us by Manning but many of these are extremely out of date so it's somewhat funny seeing what people were being told in 1945 compared to what we know today.
Funny Joe McDoakes short starring George O'Hanlon. This is the third short in the series but the first since 1942. Apparently the series had been put on hold due to the war. This time Joe is suffering from allergies. We learn Joe has tried everything he can to stop them. The final twist that reveals what Joe was allergic to the whole time is very funny. We're also treated to an amusing look at how allergies affected Joe's ancestor, McGregor McDoakes, who we're told became history's first allergist after walking past a haystack and sneezing. Some of the 'facts' about allergies that narrator Knox Manning spouts sound pretty ridiculous today. Such as "intelligent people or people in the upper & middle income brackets" are more likely to have allergies than others. Another gem is that allergies are more likely to occur in "highly emotional or nervous types." My favorite is that doodling is a sign of having allergies. I'm not sure if this was the actual thinking of the medical community back then or if the makers of the short just threw some old wives' tales in to set up some funny gags. Either way it's a fun look back at how people used to think. Very early appearances for future Charlie Chan star Roland Winters and Barbara Billingsley of Leave It to Beaver fame. Both are in the montage showcasing different types of allergy sufferers. The Joe McDoakes series from WB was a good one with the underrated physical comedy of George O'Hanlon always good for a laugh.
In this short our average Joe suffers from allergies; at first he's not sure of just what sets off the sneezing attacks. Even a picture of flowers can get him sneezing. There must have been millions of allergy sufferers who could readily sympathize with Joe and his travails and who would also find his drastic solution to contain the source of his allergy amusing which it was in a very silly way. When looking at the credits, I was struck by one of those interesting happenstance Knox Manning was the narrator for this one. A few days ago I watched a 1943 compilation of silent shorts (Good Old Corn) with the narration by Knox Manning. To my recollection, I had never heard of Knox Manning before (he must been a prolific voice over actor) and then twice in one week.
THIS PARTICULAR ENTRY in the JOE Mc DOAKES series continues the
practice of utilizing the silent screen techniques coupled with the
glib narration of off screen announcer. In this case, Art Gilmore, who
not only did the two previous installments and most of the rest of the
series, was replaced by Knox Manning, newsman, actor and general
purpose voice guy. His was the narrator/voice of so many short
subjects, as well as Columbia Pictures' serials; such as BATMAN, TEX
GRANGER, SUPERMAN, THE SEA HOUND and ADVENTURES OF SIR LANCELOT.
THE TRADITION OF playing the serious and the absurd right down the middle is continued as some very esoteric information is disseminated to the movie goers concerning the origins of some of our long standing allergies. Once again, the short combines a comic sojourn on the Mc Doakes family tree to a Scotland of 3 centuries prior with some really "neat" scenes of research scientists, replete with official white smocks, juggling various test tubes.
IT BECAME A sort of on screen see-saw between progenitor Mac Gregor Mc Doakes (O'Hanlon) and the modern day scientific marvels. Old man Mac Gregor even possessed a microscope back in the Scottish Highland of Olde. (Eat your heart out, Brave-heart!)
INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH THOUGH, the lecture portion touches on the possible connection between the physical problem of allergies and the distinct chances that the cause of many may well be psychosomatic. This would probably make it a sort of breakthrough in introducing so many of the non-medical field personnel to the very concept.
AS FAR AS any other significant items or milestones in the Mc DOKESIAN Saga, well we must mention two.
FIRST OF ALL, there was some brief use of animation in the Scottish Highlands scenes. It was done of a germ or other unknown microbe performing a typical scream from a Warner Brothers LOONEY TOONES or MERRIE MELODIES cartoon. Although not credited (so much wasn't) it sure sounded like Bea Benedaret to us! (Right Schultz!)
ADDING TO THIS picture's status is an element found in the Boudoir. Instead of the usual twin beds, Joe and Alice Mc Doakes were shown sharing a twin sized bed!
OMIGOSH, JUST YOU imagine! Our Joe was a trailblazer, a pathfinder, a pioneer, a bold one, an explorer, an innovator..............etc.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
. . . the difference between germs and bacteria, allergies and disease, or live action and cartoons, SO YOU THINK YOU'RE ALLERGIC illustrates. Witch doctors roamed America's city streets, peddling long-expired folk remedies as magic elixirs. Australia's koala bears became an endangered species, as the eucalyptus forests--their primary habitat and food source--were pillaged to manufacture "Eucalypto Home Air Freshener Machines," as shown in this live action short. People knew as little then about allergic reactions as the ancients of the 1600s. None of Western Civilization's primary allergens (precious metals, peanuts, and latex) were recognized in that era's "scientific" circles as being cause for any health concerns. Instead, many newly-wedded couples--having had their first experiences with precious metals, peanuts, and latex at their wedding, reception, and honeymoon suite, respectively, blamed their post-nuptials onset of sneezing UPON EACH OTHER! As the narrator intones here, the only "cures" available then were murder or divorce. This is where the phrase "the honeymoon is over" originated, as just-married sneezing spice were constantly being booked for homicide.
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