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So You Want to Enjoy Life (1952)

Believing he has only a month to live, average guy Joe McDoakes decides to live life to the fullest in the time he has left.


(as Richard Bare)


(as Richard Bare)


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Cast overview:
George O'Hanlon ...


Plagued by chest pains, a stiff neck, and a ringing in his ears, average guy Joe McDoakes sees a doctor who tells him he only has a month to live. McDoakes decides to live those thirty days to the fullest. He burns his bridges by physically attacking both his boss and IRS agent and proceeds to go on a spending binge that has him buying a new car and boat, hiring a butler and gypsy violinist, being showered with the attentions of beautiful women, and scheduling a trans-Atlantic cruise only to find that his symptoms are attributable to a tight shirt collar. Written by G. Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Short





Release Date:

29 March 1952 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


When McDoakes refers to taking the piano out of the Presidential Suite on the transatlantic liner he is sailing on, he is referring to the then current President Harry Truman's penchant for playing the instrument. See more »


Joe McDoakes: You know, I love Europe this time of year. It's so... so... European! Tell me, did you get the bridal Suite?
Brewster: I'm sorry, sir; all I could get is the Presidential Suite.
Joe McDoakes: Oh! Have the piano taken out.
See more »


Follows So You Want to Be a Handy Man (1951) See more »


I Know That You Know
(1926) (uncredited)
Music by Vincent Youmans
Played during the opening credits and at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

Farce over Tragedy
18 February 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

UNLIKE ANYTHING THAT this series had ever presented, SO YOU WANT TO ENJOY LIFE ventures into previously uncharted waters. At least that what its subject matter was for this particular series of comedy shorts.

HAVING AS THE central theme guy who is having some troubles with his mental health and well being, it certainly is bold in concept and was not a project that the production could just coast along with and "phone in." Great care and a good deal of thought was needed in order that the seeking and creation of the humorous did not degenerate into the tasteless and the cruel.

THAT THERE WOULD be many a difference and a definite departure from the norm is clearly defined at the outset. We zoom in on a highly distraught Mc Doakes, who tips us off that there just might be something going on that is very serious. The "clue" comes in the way he is holding a revolver in his right hand; being that it is pointed directly and close up to his right temple.

WHEN THAT FAILS to produce the desired effect, his determination turns his attention to the window in his apartment. Surely a leap from his place would serve as an agent to "end it all." But the meteorological conditions of a stiff northeasterly conspires with a vigorous snowfall made for a blizzard like Winter storm; as well as providing the impetus for pushing the hapless Joe back into the room.

THE ARRIVAL OF Joe's pal, Homer, the whole story is brought to the forefront. The help of friend Homer provides Joe with a certain degree of confidence and fortitude. It emboldens him to "live life to its fullest"; no matter how long or short it may be.

OF COURSE IT never occurred to anyone that all of these symptoms of this mysterious malady were due to something very simple. But in the true American spirit and in much the same manner as Ben Gazarra did in the television series, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE, Mc Doakes does it all with a reckless abandon.

ALL STAYS ON this trend until...........Well needless to say, our guy Joe manages to quit his job, insult the boss (Emory Parnell) physically assault an IRS agent and then plunge head first into a life of Wime, Women and Song.

THERE IS SOMEWHAT of a resemblance to some of Jackie Gleason's THE HONEYMOONERS episodes in this short. Although there is not much of any physicality between the two men and personalities are very diverse. But it is very much a matter of attitude and reasoning; or a definite lack there of.

WHAT WE HAVE been driving at is that this edition of the series could be classified as being Black Humor. The term is not one referring to any comedies featuring Black performers; but it is an old germ for humor that is derived from rather unhumourous situations. It seems to be a true rarity these days; doubtless due to its not being in line with (everyone genuflect) Political Correctness.

ALTHOUGH IT HAS been a regular feature of the series ever since its launching that there was not a whole bunch of continuity present, this short pushes the envelope even further; as there is no Alice (his Mrs.)with Joe's status being a bachelor.

ALSO, THE CHARACTER of Homer, who was a semi-regular is restored with Jackson Wheeler replacing Clifton Young (1917-51), who had died at the young age of 33 the prior year.

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