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Silly Scandals is worth a look for early Betty Boop, 28 February 2015

This was one of the early Betty Boop cartoons in which she has dog ears. Actually, this was a Bimbo cartoon in that he's the one whose name is before the title and he's the dog who is in most scenes. He sneaks into the show with Betty singing and having her dress partly come off revealing her bra. There's some funny audience gags like a lady who has to take off her hat but something else is now blocking someone's view. And then there's an ending that makes you think that maybe the animators had a bit too many drugs! Oh, and Betty herself is nicely voiced by Mae Questel. Really, I don't really have anything else to say but since I need 10 lines to submit this review, I'll just say that Silly Scandals is worth a look.

Snake in the Gracias is an okay cartoon, 28 February 2015

Before I review the cartoon proper, I'll mention that when I first saw these shorts on "The Pink Panther Laugh and a Half, Hour and a Half Show" on Saturday mornings on NBC in the late '70s, the series of these particular shorts were called the Texas Toads with the leading amphibians named Fatso and Banjo speaking in Western accents. Don't particularly know why. Anyway, they're in their original names and accents here. A crane is intent on disturbing the frogs peace in their pond when he's accidentally knocked out and loses his memory so they convince him he's one of them. Meanwhile, a snake now wants to also eat those frogs but he's now being helped by the crane. I'll stop there and just say that while not hilarious, this was quite amusing especially when the end comes. So on that note, Snake in the Gracias is worth a look.

Three's a Crowd was perhaps one of the earliest cartoons to depict book characters coming to life, 28 February 2015

This was perhaps one of the earliest of the Merrie Melodie cartoons to feature characters from famous books coming to life which happens here when an old man stops reading one to go to bed. I didn't find much funny here though the music was pretty entertaining and seeing all that action done to it was also pretty good. This was directed by Rudolf Ising who was partnered with Hugh Harmon as co-producers. Their last names make that musical description sound, if you didn't know (Harmon-Ising, harmonizing, get it?). They were partnered with Leon Schlesinger at this time though disagreements over budgets got them leaving him at Warner Bros. and ending up at M-G-M. Anyway, Three's a Crowd is worth a look for any animation buffs out there.

The Vanishing Duck was a pretty funny latter-day Tom & Jerry Cartoon, 28 February 2015

This was one of the later Tom & Jerry cartoons made by their creators, William Hanna & Joseph Barbera, before the M-G-M cartoon studio temporary closed and Hanna-Barbera formed their own production company. A little duckling, Little Quacker, is the gift of a hubby to his spouse. As they leave on the town, the cat starts chasing after him. Jerry gets in on the fun when he and the duck see some vanishing cream...This was quite a funny cartoon for the late period even though by this time the animation wasn't as creative. So on that note, The Vanishing Duck is worth a look. P.S. The wife's voice was done by the immensely talented June Foray and the hubby's was that of George O'Hanlon who doesn't sound any different from his later George Jetson he did for that team I mentioned. I always thought the duck's voice was the same as the one for Donald at Disney but he's not Clarence Nash but Red Coffey.

The Million Dollar Nickel is worth a look at what it was like in America for immigrants during the '50s, 28 February 2015

Just watched this vintage M-G-M short on the Gigi DVD. A narrator tells what a nickel used to buy back in the early 20th century and then tells it's still worth a stamp (this was made in the early '50s) that is used to deliver letters from naturalized U.S. citizens to their country of origin. The narrator then tells how important these letters are since they are useful in countering the anti-American messages of the opposing countries' broadcasters and newspapermen. M-G-M stars of the time from the outside lands tell in their native language of how important these letters are here. In summary, this was quite an interesting short I watched so on that note, The Million Dollar Nickel is worth a look.

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Love in the Afternoon was a pretty sweet teaming of Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper, 17 February 2015

Maurice Chevalier is the detective keeping his eyes on spouses of clients who may be fooling around. Audrey Hepburn is his daughter who is a musician who dreams of Gary Cooper who is a celebrity playboy. There's also a nice supporting turn by a John McGiver as a client of Chevalier and some musicians called The Gypsies. Despite the vast age differences, I liked the romance between Coop and Ms. Hepburn what with her lies and his falling for her despite them. This marked the first collaboration between director/writer Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond who eventually teamed up for classics Some Like It Hot and The Apartment, among others in later years. I really liked Love in the Afternoon so on that note, it's recommended.

Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble was another one in the series I liked, 13 February 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This was on the same disc as Andy Hardy's Double Life and took off from the end of that one in which Mickey Rooney's character was on the train to go to his father's alma mater of Wainwright College and talking to a woman also on the way there-the formerly all-male institution was now co-ed! That woman was played by Susan Peters but here, it's now Bonita Granville. Also on the way is a blond woman who seems to go hot-and-cold when encountering Andrew but it's actually twins (Lyn and Lee Wilde) passing as one. Meanwhile, at home his father the judge (Lewis Stone) is sick and gets cared for by a new doctor played by Keye Luke who initially gets looks because of his race. Anyway, this was my third viewing of an Andy Hardy picture. Like the other two, I liked Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble. P.S. Since I always like to cite when a player from my favorite movie-It's a Wonderful Life-is in something else, here it's Frank Faylen-Ernie the taxi driver in that-as Taxi Driver # 2 (Was that typecasting on Frank Capra's part when he did that for him in IAWL?).

Andy Hardy's Double Life is worth it mainly for the presence of Esther Williams, 12 February 2015

Before this one, the only previous Andy Hardy movie I'd watched in its entirety was Love Finds Andy Hardy-the first one to feature Judy Garland. The main reason I just watched this one was because since I've just watched most of the Our Gang comedies in chronological order, I had a yen to also watch many of the films outside the series that had at least one member in it as this one has Bobby "Mickey Gubitosi" Blake as a kid with a broken arm named Tooky. There's also some funny scenes involving Esther Williams in her film debut as a practicing psychiatrist who's a friend staying at Andy's on-off girlfriend Polly Benedict's house. Having just seen and liked Ann Rutherford in Whistling in Dixie, I liked her here as well. There are some touching scenes involving some talk between Andy and his father the judge. Mickey Rooney and Lewis Stone have a natural rapport which shouldn't be too surprising since they have been together in this series for so long in so many entries. So on that note, Andy Hardy's Double Life was a worthy entry for me.

Whistling in Dixie was my first time seeing Red Skelton in his series as "The Fox", 11 February 2015

This was the first time I've seen one of Red Skelton's "Whistling" movies. Seeing him always about to act crazy whenever someone mentions "murder" was good for some laughs as was some of his wisecracks and a few slapstick moments. Rags Ragsland was also good playing two roles as both a good and bad guy. Ann Rutherford made a nice foil for Red. After a while, some of the dialogue and action threatened to seem repetitious but by the climax, a few more laughs were earned. Anyway, overall, I was pretty entertained by Whistling in Dixie. P.S. The reason I watched this just now is because since I recently watched the Our Gang shorts in chronological order, I thought I'd also look at some of the films outside of the series that featured it least one member. This one had a scene with Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas talking to Rags.

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The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water was both silly and a little funny, 9 February 2015

I have a confession: I've never seen the SpongeBob SquarePants TV show nor seen the previous movie of that. So I mostly came to this with fresh eyes. I mean, I didn't know that the "Krabby Patties" were actually hamburgers. There's quite some creative visuals and lines that occasionally made me laugh and some that didn't. Still, it was quite entertaining seeing how the creators would always try to contrive their way out of certain situations. And the way the theme song is treated as both iconic and well, not very good, was also pretty funny. Really, it seems they thought of everything but the kitchen sink! Oh, and I didn't know Tim Conway was one of the voices! So on that note, this movie is worth a look.

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