Wednesday, November 09, 2011

"Rocky King", "Bundle of Joy" Recall 50s

Thanks to Oldies.Com, suddenly it’s the 50s again with the revival of “Rocky King Detective” and “Bundle of Joy.”
Before there was Charlie Sheen there was the Bishop Sheen Show and Rocky King on the DuMount TV Network, favorites in the Zarkin household on KXLY-TV in the early 50s. Rocky carried on annoying conversations with his wife Mabel who was off camera and when the actor playing Rocky (Roscoe Carnes) was sick his sidekick substituted that week. The sponsor was a breath freshener. Unfortunately, the DVD does not include the commercials and the DuMont logo. Amazingly Rocky has survived given the fact that ABC dumped most of the DuMount kinescopes in the East River -- a criminal travesty. Many of the original DuMont stations are now owned by the Fox Network, including KMSP in Minneapolis.
America’s two cutest marrieds, Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, are the headliners in RKO’s 1956 “Bundle of Joy,” which has been remastered from its original RKOScope, released by Warner Archives and is available on DVD for the fist time. Luckily, RKO got the cuties on the studio lot before Eddie became distracted by Liz Taylor.
“The Little Bastard” would have been a better title for “Bundle of Joy” but the censors would not have been amused. The plot deals with a child born out of wedlock who is found on the steps of an orphanage by the Debbie character who falls in love with the handsome Eddie character. Before the RKO logo appears at the end of the movie, the Eddie character admits he is the father of the boy. And Debbie and the censors are okay with that startling revelation.
Tommy Noonan appears as the horny department store coworker of the Debbie character and Adolph Menjou is the Eddie character's daddy which is an odd bit of casting. Menjou appeared in Republic’s “Timberline” where he appeared to be reading his lines off the back of Vera Ralston’s wig.
Also now available (maybe for the first time) is the 1940s Universal serial “Green Hornet Strikes Again” with game show host Warren Hull as the green guy and Keye Luke as his pidgin speaking Asian sidekick Kato. Although not HD, this is a remarkable transfer. A TV series of the same name ran in the 60s. Hull was the MC on “Strike it Rich” on CBS in the 50s when unfortunates told their sad stories and got a chance to get help from benefactors who called the “heart line”. A wiseacre in high school Spanish class chirped “heartline ringing” when the phone distracted Mrs. Black from her lecture. Hull also appeared with the East Side Kids as a cop in “Bowery Blitzkrieg” and used a lot of Brylcream or Vitalis.