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"He Shinnied Up The Stalk To Slay A Giant In His Den"
Bud Abbott and Lou Costello always had a good following among children, but in their careers I think you could say that they only made one film that could be designated for kids. Jack and the Beanstalk was that one film.
It was part of a two picture independent deal from Warner Brothers, the second film being Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd. These were the only two films the boys made in color.
The two of them, out of work as usual, take a job for a very precocious and obnoxious young David Stollery as a babysitter. Although it starts out with Costello wanting to read the kid, Jack and the Beanstalk as a bedtime story, the young lad winds up reading it to Costello. Lou falls asleep and in his dreams he fantasizes he's indeed Jack the Giant Killer.
Buddy Baer who menaced the boys in Africa Screams plays the giant and he's got a giant size Dorothy Ford as his housekeeper. Dorothy was a big girl, 6'2", and you can imagine she had some difficulty being cast except when her height was used as a joke. One of the only players who ever looked down at her was John Wayne in Three Godfathers at 6'4". Henry Fonda and James Stewart in On Our Merry Way also stood barely above her, but again her height was part of a gag.
Shaye Cogan and James Alexander were the princess and prince of the fantasy and they sang beautifully, but couldn't act worth anything. This was the last film of William Farnum who's career dated from the early silent screen days and even to the turn of the last century on stage. He played princess Shaye's father the king.
Some not terribly memorable musical numbers came from Jack and the Beanstalk, save the title song. I well remember as a kid having the 78 record of Bud and Lou singing the song and reciting the story. I was in my early single digit years, but became a lifelong fan of their's through that and their television series.
Jack and the Beanstalk is still a good children's picture for the very young, though I would warn parents to warn their little urchins not to imitate young master Stollery.
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