6 user 1 critic

Shoe Shine Boy (1943)

Approved | | Drama, Musical, Short | 25 December 1943 (USA)
A Young shoeshine boy must earn $6 by the end of the day so he can buy a second-hand bugle, because the next day he is going into the U.S. Army.



(original story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Mel Bryant ...
Shoe Shine Boy (as Melvin Bryant)


A show shine boy loves to listen to the horn more than anything. As such, he places a deposit for a bugle from a second hand shop, he needing to come up with an additional $2 to get the bugle, which he knows he will never get unless he comes up with the money before the store closes at the end of the day. As he hustles for business at a bar to raise that $2, the boy comes across two talent agents, Garry Goff and Lucky, who, on a lark, ask the boy to play the trumpet belonging to the bar's band's trumpet player. That incident promises to change the boy's life, but he may have other more pressing issues on his mind for just wanting the $2 to buy that second hand bugle. Written by Huggo

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Drama | Musical | Short






Release Date:

25 December 1943 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)
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Did You Know?


Trumpet Lament
Music by Phil Moore
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User Reviews

Nice Short with a Message
25 April 2010 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Shoe Shine Boy (1943)

*** (out of 4)

MGM short about a black kid (Mel Bryant) who goes around town trying to find enough shoes to shine so that he can raise an extra $2 to buy a horn from a pawn shop. The boy meets a couple music agents and they let him blow a horn where they see how great he is. The offer the kid a big contract but he doesn't want it and instead just wants the $2. This short is certain another WW2 propaganda piece but it's harmless enough and moves well enough to make it worth viewing. I think it's pretty obvious as to why the kid wants the money but the final shot is still a good one and especially when you consider what was going on in this country at the time. I thought Bryant was extremely effective as the kid and the music stuff was very good as well. Another major plus is getting to see a black character that isn't some sort of stereotype or some negative image. Looking at the title you might be expecting something bad but it's actually a very well-meaning story.

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