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That's the Spirit (1937)

Dance instructors Herman and Pat visit Hugo Sinclair, a devout believer in spiritualism. Pat wants to speak with Sinclair about his daughter Ruth, but SInclair is intent on an upcoming ... See full summary »

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Cast

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Herman (as Herman Timberg Jr.)
Pat Rooney Jr. ...
Pat Jones
George Shelton ...
Hugo Sinclair
...
Ruth Sinclair
Eddie Hall ...
Prof. Ivan Petrovich
Foster Williams ...
Nicholoff, Petrovich's assistant
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Storyline

Dance instructors Herman and Pat visit Hugo Sinclair, a devout believer in spiritualism. Pat wants to speak with Sinclair about his daughter Ruth, but SInclair is intent on an upcoming seance conducted by two distinguished guests. Pat and Herman, hiding, are terrorized during the seance, but once they discover the guests are frauds, they do a little terrorizing themselves. Written by Scott MacGillivray

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Short | Comedy

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Release Date:

25 June 1937 (USA)  »

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1.37 : 1
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above-average Educational Pictures comedy short from dance-oriented comedy team
26 November 2004 | by See all my reviews

The sound comedy shorts of Educational Pictures are still relatively undiscovered and rarely discussed. Usually written off as poor and unfunny (and some are), one can find gems up until the end of Educational's run, about a year after this. The later Educationals often seem to be right off the vaudeville stage, featuring seasoned performers doing variations on what must have been their regular routines, which probably made for an efficient and cheap setup, since these people were pros and could adapt quickly to a new skit worked into the "act." This one features the dance-oriented comedy team of Herman Timberg Jr. (which is how he is billed here, NOT as Tim Herbert) and Pat Rooney Jr. Timberg is the taller and more suave of the two; Rooney the shorter and more clownish. The first third of the short takes place in a dance studio where the boys show off their skills. Then the action moves to a private home where George Shelton (Educational Pictures regular, who had made some great shorts with his partner Tom Howard (the William Burroughs of comedy) earlier, and who later worked with Howard on the classic IT PAYS TO BE IGNORANT radio show) is having a spiritualist meeting, which is actually an excuse for a few crooks to fleece Shelton of his money. The "phony spiritualist" routine is always good for a few laughs, and while Timberg and Rooney try to protect Shelton and his daughter from the crooks, we also have scenes of the two running around covered in sheets, running into things, etc. All is of course resolved by the end of the second reel. The print on the circulating video is excellent, although missing the end title card. Timberg and Rooney and definitely worth rediscovering, as are Educational's other dance-oriented comedy team, Tom Patricola and Buster West.


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