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The first Eagle-Lion film stars Kenny Delmar as Senator Beauregard Claghorn, his "Allen's Alley" resident-character heard on Fred Allen's radio program. Claghorn was a blustery, one-man-Chamber-of-Commerce for all things Southern, who had no tolerence for anything north of the Mason-Dixon line, although he made allowances for South Philly. The character inspired the creation of one of the most popular of the Warners' cartoon characters, Foghorn Leghorn, who re-worked most of the originals material and style. The title of this movie is a stock line- "it's a joke, son"---he would feed a befuddled Fred Allen each week. In the film, Claghorn gets into some financial difficulties and is forced by a machine-political gang to enter a race for state senator against his wife (Una Merkel) who appears to have a good chance to beat the political hack backed by the machine. Claghorn is in to siphon votes and ensure his wife's opponent will win and is expected to run a campaign that will defeat ... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Not a rooster, I say not a rooster, but not bad, either!
Kenny Delmar brought his popular character Beauregard Claghorn and all his Southern bluster from the Fred Allen radio show to the big screen in IT'S A JOKE, SON!, released by Eagle-Lion in 1947.
Okay, listen carefully and follow the plot: an addle-brained Southern state senator running for re-election on the coattails of a carpetbagging political boss (Douglass Dumbrille) is being challenged by Magnolia Claghorn (Una Merkel), leader of a group called the Daughters of Dixie. Dumbrille forces Magnolia's husband Beauregard to run as a third party candidate so split the opposition, I say split the opposition, but soon Beauregard Claghorn's dander is up and he's running, I say he's running, like a Yankee at Bull Run. Meanwhile, just to keep things interesting because after all we DO have 63 minutes to kill, the Claghorns' lovely daughter (June Lockhart with an adorable Southern accent) is involved with some guy who runs an ice cream truck. Also worth mentioning is that Daisy, the second cutest dog in the movies after Laughing Gravy, is on loan from the Blondie pictures and proves why no actor wants to share the screen with a four-legged scene stealer.
The movie is generally pleasant, and occasionally funny when Claghorn starts boasting about the South (we're told that he still purchases Confederate Victory Bonds, and Claghorn is trying to convince North Carolina to change its name to Upper South Carolina). Unlike the Ma & Pa Kettle films of a few years later, though, Claghorn's film debut didn't catch on, and there were no sequels. On the other hand, I say on the other hand, a knock-off character was more successful over at Warner Bros: Foghorn Leghorn had already made his film debut, in 1946's WALKY TALKY HAWKY, when IT'S A JOKE, SON! was released, and the blustering rooster went on to a long and successful career.
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