Thursday, July 04, 2002


This was a pleasant little surprise. It's a Poverty-Row "musical" from Monogram, but it's at least as good as some of the lesser Warner and RKO musicals of the 30's and 40's. Set at a music company where songs and radio jingles are recorded, the plot concerns a young jingle singer (Dona Drake, Bob Hope's girlfriend in ROAD TO MOROCCO) hoping to be discovered. A jingle writer (Robert Lowery) falls for her and tries to get her a recording gig with a big bandleader (Jerry Cooper, who I'm guessing was a real-life musician rather than an actor). The bandleader doesn't want a female singer (no canaries, as he says), so complications ensue.

Drake and Lowery are OK, nothing special. I'd never heard of Lowery, although IMDb shows him as having been in over 100 movies, mostly B-films. The main attraction here is Irene Ryan, who later played Granny on The Beverly Hillbillies. She does a Gracie Allen-type character, playing a dithering secretary to the president of the company (her real-life husband Tim Ryan, who also co-wrote the movie). She's really pretty good doing the dumb act and taking some slapstick pratfalls, mostly involving running into walls. Sidney Miller, who played the Jewish kid in THE MAYOR OF HELL and did other Jewish juvenile parts for Warners in the 30's, plays Lowery's sidekick and is more personable than Lowery. Unlike in many other Monogram films, the sets look good and there are plenty of extras where needed. The songs are not memorable, but they're not bad, either; they're about on a par with most of the songs in the average Dennis Morgan/Jack Carson movie. The title is a bit misleading--it's definitely NOT a jazz musical--but overall it's worth catching, a late-night treat from TCM.

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