Lowly clerk Aubrey Piper has a fondness for exaggerating about himself to impress people. His fantastic tales of visiting China and working as a manager at his place of employment charm his...
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Joe E. Brown,
William Collier Jr.
Lowly clerk Aubrey Piper has a fondness for exaggerating about himself to impress people. His fantastic tales of visiting China and working as a manager at his place of employment charm his blind date, quiet and lovely Amy Fisher. His false bragging and nearly burning down the Fisher home gets him in bad standing with Amy's family. But Amy is smitten and gladly accepts Aubrey's marriage proposal. Soon, Aubrey's spendthrift ways and show-off manners soon land the couple in financial and legal hot water. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <DanNGM@aol.com>
During the chase sequence, when background shots were required, MGM's film library accidentally pulled stock footage of Market Street in San Francisco, rather than Market Street in Philadelphia, where the action is supposedly taking place. See more »
If you were to research the Internet Broadway Database you would find that after George Kelly's The Show-off made its debut in 1924 on Broadway for 571 performances, you will also find it had many revivals. I daresay some stock company is doing it somewhere as I write these words. I'm surprised someone like Steve Martin hasn't seen the possibilities of yet another screen version.
After a silent version and another talkie for MGM in the middle Thirties starring Spencer Tracy, Red Skelton took the part of the lovable inept blow-hard J. Aubrey Piper. This version is considerably expanded from the play and from the other screen versions. For one thing, the original play takes place in the living room of Piper's in-laws. For another these folks seemed to have moved up a notch or two in economic status. And of course Piper and his long suffering wife are already married in the play.
Here Marilyn Maxwell is set up on a blind date with Red Skelton and the heart has its reasons because they're married soon enough. That's much to the chagrin of her parents George Cleveland and Marjorie Main who can't figure what she sees in him. It's like what does Alice see in Ralph Kramden, but there it is.
In fact and especially when Spencer Tracy plays it, the character is so much like Ralph Kramden it's frightening. But also he's like Phil Silvers Sergeant Bilko with this incredible need to be 'on' all the time. I couldn't stand living with someone like that.
Skelton wreaks havoc on all around him and has this compulsion to just keep talking and bragging when the smartest thing to do is do nothing and shut up. But that's a policy alien to his nature. Of course through some incredible coincidences, it does all work out for Red, Marilyn and the rest.
When I did the review of the Spencer Tracy version I said that this was a part Jackie Gleason was born to play. As it turns out he did make an a television version of The Show-off. I do so hope that is preserved on some kinescope, somewhere. Skelton does just fine, but if there was ever a part for Jackie Gleason, this is it.
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