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If you don't love Captain Marvel and Good Humor bars, you won't understand this film. It's that simple. Carson with his ex, Albright, is a lovable ice cream salesman who belongs to a local Captain Marvel club. Carson excelled in these lunk-head roles as the good guy with a heart of gold who might not be a Nobel Laurate in Nuclear Physics but is basically a kid at heart. But, even though I was in the transition from kid to teenager when I saw this film the year it came out, I knew then, as I know now, I'd always be a kid at heart. We can't make movies like this anymore. Simple people like ice cream salesman are hardly attractive role models for our present-day youngsters. We have to have martial arts superheroes, slick Wall Street Masters of the Universe, dopers or people on the edge thrust up as those worthy of interest. Catching a bunch of crooks with a Captain Marvel fan club as back-up with no sex and little violence would never make it to the screen these days. But, sports fans, it did back then and I'm very glad it did. I LOVE THIS FILM! UP WITH CARSON! UP WITH CAPTAIN MARVEL! AND, UP WITH ICE CREAM BARS!!
Many people associate Jack Carson's movie character with that of a stereotypical used-car salesman: loud, pushy, not averse to bending the truth a bit when it suits his purpose--in other words, pretty much of an obnoxious boor (and a role he actually played--to perfection--in a memorable "Twilight Zone" episode). What they forget is that Carson was a skilled and vastly underrated actor, capable of far more than what was usually expected of him, and this film is a case in point. Here Carson plays a role at which he really excelled--the big, good-hearted galoot, not quite the brightest bulb in the room but with an innate decency and guilelessness that more than made up for any of his other shortcomings. Carson had the same kind of persona that Lou Costello did--a somewhat rambunctious little kid trapped in a grown-up's body--and in this film he pulls it off as effortlessly as did Costello. He plays a Good Humor driver who not only brings ice cream to the local kids, but is pretty much one of them--among other things, he belongs to their chapter of the Captain Marvel fan club. Lola Albright (whom Carson married a few years later) plays his girlfriend. The plot has Carson getting mixed up with some local gangsters, finding himself in danger of losing his job and his girl, and eventually getting his buddies in the Captain Marvel club to help save the day. The sure hand of director Lloyd Bacon, an old pro at this sort of picture, keeps things moving swiftly, and there's a bang-up finale. Carson and Albright--and, more importantly, Carson and the kids--work well together, and it's an enjoyable, and often extremely funny, example of the kind of comedy of which Jack Carson was capable. If it pops up on TV check it out, or if you see it on the video-store shelf, rent it. You won't be disappointed.
Jack Carson at his best and Lola Albright thrown in for the femm fatel. I saw the movie in 1950 with my Dad. I was 8 at the time and remembered it well. I purchased a mint 16mm original 25 years ago, but have since sold it. I have never seen it on tv once nor do I have a VHS copy! What a shame when TCM and AMC could easily have it and show it on ocasion. Even Showtime dug up the old Boston Blackie Movies w/ Chester Morris, so I know this film exists in someones vault. Until then, we old film buffs will have to sit thru the same old fims on tv!
I saw this movie several times on broadcast television during the
1960's. The opening scene of the stuck bells remains a truly classic
moment, as are the references to the comic book fan club. There is a
finely crafted mystery in the film. Carson's character is boyish and
charming and appropriately dim-witted but lovable. The jackass adds a
wonderful measure of fun.
This film really needs to be printed on DVD for it is a great film, funnier than anything Abbott and Costello ever did. They just don't make good clean films like this anymore.
By the way.. Good Times Video did release a VHS version of this classic film. apparently, fairly highly sought after as the lowest priced via Amazon.Com was $51.00 as of 2-6-07
I love it when human Popsicle Jack Carson goes floating down the gutter
into a storm drain, only to be rescued at the last moment. The gags fly
fast and furious in this cockamamie send-up of the friendly
neighborhood ice-cream man. I guess some such is to be expected from
scripter Frank Tashlin, who never gave up his love affair with cartoons
or the comic book. The gags are nothing if not inventive, from the
opening sound effect to the closing school house free-for-all. Just
count the how many times Carson gets to mug-up the outrageous
happenings-- I doubt if there's a number big enough.
This is a Carson showcase. Too bad this wonderfully versatile performer never received the recognition his prodigious talent deserved. Here, his man-boy good-humor man never annoys, unlike, say, a Jerry Lewis, who whined his way through a number of similar roles for Tashlin. I hope Carson got extra pay for all the physical contortions Tashlin and director Bacon put him through. Speaking of stunts, the luscious Lola Albright (the real Mrs. Carson) does her share, a decade before smouldering across the TV screen as Peter Gunn's torch-singing lady love.
Note the clever touch with the plug-ugly newlyweds, a subject usually sentimentalized to a nauseating degree by Hollywood. None of that here. The bride may be a groom's nightmare, but she's an optometrist's dream. Here the screenplay had to tread lightly around the comedic potential of a near-sighted bride, still the edgy humor shines through. Still and all, I wonder how the same potential would be treated by today's no-holds-barred cinema.
There were a number of these occupation-based slapsticks produced around this time-- Fuller Brush Man (Red Skelton), Fuller Brush Girl (Lucille Ball), Kill the Umpire (Bill Bendix) et al. None, however, are any funnier than this. My one complaint-- the schoolhouse slapstick goes on too long. It's as if Tashlin can't turn off the inventive engine once its started. But knowing when to stop can be as important as knowing how to start. Nonetheless, this remains a lively and chuckle-filled 80 minutes, and a lasting tribute to that under-rated performer Jack Carson, along with the wonderfully inventive Frank Tashlin.
I wholeheartedly endorse the previous reviewer's comments (q.v.), having seen "The Good Humor Man" at about the same time and at the same age. One interesting aspect has to do with the Captain Marvel "product placement." (The kids, customers of Carson's character who help him in the denouement, are members of the CM fan club). Shortly after the film was released, the Captain Marvel comics and other products disappeared when the copyright holders finally succumbed to a suit brought by DC Comics alleging too many resemblances between Captain M and that sissy Superman! That may be the reason that no video of this movie seems to be available through normal commercial sources.
"Good Humor" ice cream truck driver Jack Carson (as Biff Jones) finds
himself accused of murder when he tries to help a sexy gangster's moll.
This cartoon-like slapstick comedy is notable for blatant product
placement and an interesting cast. The third of Mr. Carson's wives
plays his girlfriend Lola Albright (as Margie Bellew), and future
"Superman" George Reeves (as Stuart Nagle) is the rival for her
affections. The film unashamedly promotes "Good Humor" ice cream and
"Captain Marvel" comic books.
At the time, the Fawcett comic book star outsold "Superman", and it's interesting to speculate on whether Mr. Reeves would have played "The Adventures of Captain Marvel" on television if the "Superman" publishers had not superseded the "Shazam!" star; Reeves sure looks the part. "Captain Marvel and the Good Humor Man" was a superior special edition comic book, which tied everything together. Young Peter Miles (as Johnny) and the "Captain Marvel Club" kids wear Marvelous clothing.
***** The Good Humor Man (3/24/50) Lloyd Bacon ~ Jack Carson, Lola Albright, George Reeves, Peter Miles
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***SPOILERS*** Jack Carson is at his very funny best as Biff Jones the
friendly man who sells Good Humor ice cream who gets himself involved
in a murder that he didn't commit by trying to help a damsel in
distress. Biff already got himself into trouble by rubbing a Good Humor
ice-cream bar into the face of Perless Insurance investigator Stuart
Nagel played the future TV Superman George Reeves where he was lucky
that Superman, or Nagel, didn't end up ringing his neck.
The fact that Biff's girlfriend Margie Bellew, Lola Albright, worked as Nagel's secretary and that he was always making a play for her made Biff's blood boil over. It's later after saving mysterious blond Jane Wallace, Bonnie Conroy, from a gang of hoodlums that Biff's troubles that were mild at first started to multiply! With Bonnie supposedly found dead at her house where Biff, whom the mobsters were after, was staying the night he felt that he in fact murdered her in his sleep and, in being the law abiding citizens that he is, tried to give himself up to the police.
****SPOILER**** unknown to Biff that entire incident was set up by the very much alive, in suffering an epileptic seizure, Bonnie Conroy and her three hoodlum accomplices Slick Fats & John, David Sharp Chick Collins & Eddie Parker, in order to frame Biff in a robbery, that resulted in the murder of the night watchman, that they planned to pull off at the Perless insurance office that Stuart Nagel was in charge of! It's Nagel himself who's the mastermind in robbing his own office and framing the Good Humor Man Biff Jones in committing it!
Mile a minute hysterics with Biff & Margie on the run from Nagel and his gang of hoods and when it looked like the roof was going to fall on on them Margie's kid brother Johnny, Peter Miles, and his gang of Captain Marval impersonators, that seemed to be every kid in town under 12, came to their rescue!
Having it out in the school next to the Captain Marvel clubhouse Johnny and his friends together with the clubs mascot Arnie the hard kicking mule made a complete mess of Negel and his gang that by the time the movie ended they were more then glad to see the police come to save them from being kicked from behind and cream pied in the face into total unconsciousness. Besides all that Nagel & Co. also got a music lesson from Johnny and his friends as well as Biff & Margie in the workings and dangers of musicale instruments that had them not wanting to hear another note of music, like Biff's Good Humor truck jingles, again for the rest of their lives!
If you enjoyed the Stooges, you will get a hoot out of the last 20 minutes or so of this film, as every possible projectile, from musical instruments, to table saws, to baseball bats and the eventual pie fight, all come into play. It is what we paid 25 cents to see way back when. Carson and Albright have great chemistry, in fact, I would say that her role was so proactive as to almost claim her as an early women's libber! The film is dotted with character actors (yes, even George Reeves, our eventual 50's Superman), which only adds to the delight. A fun, nostalgic film, which reminded me of how I spent my Saturday afternoons once upon a time!
I went into this film a little skeptical, but was intrigued by the title. This must be one of the first films with product placement. Good Humor is featured for about the first three quarters of this film. Jack Carson is his usual self in this farce about a Good Humor man whose set up by a gang of criminals. This material seemed to be written for his talent for comedy. And it's nice to have a film like this with two very attractive women in it. The film is loaded with several character actors from this era; Frank Ferguson, Arthur Space, and Pat Flaherty just to mention a few. The story and the action aren't very realistic; but the comedy is great. And there's a chase that must run ten to twelve minutes that crams in every element of a comedic chase ever seen; pies, fire extinguishers spraying, musical instruments used in a fight; and lots more. It's old but gives lots of laughs all through the story, with the big chase at the end.
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