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Politics: A Natural Comic Target!

Author: John T. Ryan ( from United States
8 February 2016

THE ARENA OF Politics has long been considered a sort of "sport" or branch of "Show Biz." This is readily apparent via the observations of folks like Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Will Rogers, Al Capp and Mort Sahl. The very nature of the selection via the ballot invites this process' need for such "crowd pleasing" elements to function.

SO TOO, THE movie colony has embraced these peculiarities as fodder for their comedy productions. One need only look over the list of comic oriented movies to understand our point. As "States' Evidence" we offer the following: DUCK SOUP (Marx Brothers), HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO (Director Preston Sturgis, with Eddie Bracken), UTOPIA (latter day Laurel & Hardy ) and THREE STOOGES SHORT (The 3 Stooges with Shemp Howard).

THE FILM OPENS with two political professional "Ward Healer" types (played by Douglas Fowley & Fred Kelsey) talking with Alice Mc Doakes (Phyllis Coates in screen debut). They were there to see Joe about getting his approval to be their candidate for an undisclosed public office. Joe arrives shortly, escorted by a flotilla of loving canines.

IN SHORT ORDER, Joe acquiesces to their flattery and a chain reaction of on screen political puns, spoofs and sight-gags. We even have Joe seeing himself as a new Abraham Lincoln.

AT MOVIE'S END, we are made aware of what this particular office was. (We'll never tell, see the comedy short. It's only one reel and about 11 minutes long!)

WE WOULD ADD that whereas we have previously contended that this series was the champion of the tried and true, reliable silent Movie staple and tradition of the Sight Gag. With this installment they got on the Bandwagon of yet another old comedic stand-by; that being the Anthropomorphic transforming of live-action animals into talking beings via dubbing and mouth over animation.*

NOTE * In our recollection, the best example was that of old, 1950's-'60's Commercials for the Clark Bar candy. Who could forget a Camel or a Giraffe mouthing: "I want a CLARK BAR!"

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Lesser McDoakes Short

Author: Michael_Elliott from Louisville, KY
31 March 2010

So You Want to Be in Politics (1948)

** (out of 4)

Weaker entry in the series has Joe McDoakes (George O'Hanlon) in his office talking about how bad all elected officials are. Later that evening a group of men go to him and ask him to stand up to those in office and run himself. This certainly isn't a high point for the series but it is somewhat different than the films that came before it. This one here features no narration and the story is more focused on some rather lame jokes instead of letting McDoakes do his thing. For the most part there are very few laughs here with the only exceptions being one scene where Joe tries to make a speech to some women and throws as a female joke that doesn't go over too well. The rest of the jokes are rather bland and really lack any laughs. As normal, O'Hanlon is good in the role but this is a case where the screenplay left him with very little to do.

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