A small boy in a tuxedo, using a comic voice imitating Jack Benny, introduces several numbers performed by children. The curtain parts for each act, the stage behind the curtain is deep and narrow: a couple doing an adagio dance, with touches of ballet; three girls singing and tap dancing; a soprano singing light opera; an acrobatic tap dancer; and, a parade of preschoolers. Gus Edwards wrote most of the music; Waggner and Cobb wrote the lyrics. Written by
It may have been a spoof of "The Hollywood Revue of 1929" complete with a Jack Benny Jnr. but compared to the Meglin Kiddies Vitaphone shorts of the same vintage, it really lacked pizazz!!! The art deco background becomes boring after the first act, which incidentally, is the best - two young dancers who have very precise and fluid movements. It was filmed in 2 strip Technicolour (it says "Filmed in Technicolor" in the opening credits) but after 80 years it has obviously faded to a washed out brown.
The little Master of Ceremonies was Douglas Scott, who did go on to have a career of sorts throughout the 30s - he had featured roles in "Cimarron" (1930), "Lloyds of London" (1936) where he played Horatio Nelson as a child and "Wuthering Heights" (1939). The camera was extremely static - all the children were filmed mostly in long or medium shots - except for the M.O.C. In the Vitaphone Varieties shorts
Judy Garland, at just 7 was given a couple of close ups as she belted
out her songs. And that reminds me, the other problem was the music. Because Gus Edwards wrote all the music - the songs were bland and unmemorable, whereas in the Vitaphone shorts the children got to sing popular songs of the day. Saying all that though, the last act - "Babies Ala Mode" was sweet - all the little children walking down the stairs, modelling the latest fashions. If you have ever seen any of these old studio revues - you will know that it was spot on.
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