Birthday Blues (1932)
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Everybody won in this episode; The father learned an important lesson, Dickie was able to buy the dress, the gang had a great time at the party, the mom was so happy that her son would think this much of her to spend all the time and effort to get the dress, the dress shop owner made a little money and Spanky is all dressed up to go to church!
Watch it over and over again!
"Birthday Blues" is memorable, if only for one of the most unique sound effects in movie history. Who knows how the Hal Roach effects people created it; it sounds something like "wow-eep...wow-eep..." If you heard this effect as a kid, you never forgot it.
The family melodrama is a bit much to take, and let's face it - Dickie's dad is a jerk, and you get the feeling he doesn't learn his lesson or will be more attentive to his wife in the future. Watch "Birthday Blues" for the laughs and forget the corny melodrama. 8 out of 10.
The story has an interesting back story with an extremely negative portrayal of the boys' father, given to corporal punishment and aggression throughout. The opening dinner table sequence is my favourite part, particularly that hilarious gag with the Tabasco sauce. The kitchen sequences are full of good-natured slapstick including a nice run of the old 'making a cake' sequence which is as messy as you'd imagine. The child actors work hard in this one and the end result is pleasantly amusing.
I know I sound harsh, but this film really missed the mark. Had they made the father the least bit nice and in control of his anger, it might have worked. However, instead of me noticing the humorous middle portion, all I could think was that someone should call Children's Services! A rare failure and too dark for my taste.
By the way, another negative about this one were the annoying cake sound effects. Cakes shouldn't make noises. And, if they did, they'd sound NOTHING like this one!