Sunday, December 02, 2018

The Horn Section Salutes: KEN BERRY (1933-2018)


Oh, Captain!  My Captain!  Yesterday brought the very sad news that Ken Berry, our beloved Captain Wilton Parmenter, has passed away at age 85.

Mr. Berry was one of the biggest stars on television from the mid-1960's to the early 1970's, with the misfortune of having two hits cancelled despite high ratings within four years.  MAYBERRY R.F.D. is often cited as the most egregious example of CBS' 1971 "rural purge", as the show wrapped up its third season in 15th place in the Nielsens and got a pink slip anyway.  


Berry did an admirable job in the most difficult of situations, essentially replacing Andy Griffith on THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW.  TV history tells us that such continuations are virtually impossible to pull off: AfterMASH and SANFORD ARMS are among the many failures, and even ARCHIE BUNKER'S PLACE never cracked the top ten despite having the parent show's lead.  MAYBERRY R.F.D. ranked 4th in each of its first two seasons, a ranking that actually bettered half of the seasons from Griffith's run.

From HOLLYWOOD PALACE, November 27, 1965:



Of course, Ken Berry is loved by all of us here at The Horn Section for his brilliant performance as Captain Parmenter on F TROOP, and MAYBERRY's demise had to feel like deja vu all over again, as F TROOP was ABC's second highest rated sitcom behind BEWITCHED in each of its two seasons but was ended anyway.  Not by ABC, but by Warner Brothers!  In five seasons from 1965 to 1971, Ken Berry's series never averaged below a 31 share--but he received two cancellations anyway.  Tough crowd.


The network and studio executives, that is.  Certainly not the public.  Ken Berry landed his own variety show shortly afterward, and the 1972 KEN BERRY 'WOW' SHOW featured future stars Steve Martin, Cheryl Ladd and Teri Garr.



Along with leads in the Disney features HERBIE RIDES AGAIN and THE CAT FROM OUTER SPACE, Berry was also memorably pitching Kinney shoes throughout the 1970's and early 1980's, before settling in for another long run on MAMA'S FAMILY.


But it is F TROOP that best demonstrates Ken Berry's versatility.   Berry dances in The Ballot of Corporal Agarn and Only One Russian Is Coming! Only One Russian Is Coming!, among others.  Other episodes to best remember our Captain by on this sad, sad day:

Old Ironpants: This first season entry isn't officially a dual role, but it might as well be.  Parmenter goes off for two weeks' training with General George Custer (wishing him good luck on his new assignment at Little Big Horn) and takes to the course all too well.

Captain Parmenter, One Man Army:  With O'Rourke, Agarn and the rest of the troop illegally re-enlisted, Parmenter finds himself alone at the Fort on the eve of an attack by the Shugs.


Wilton the Kid: Ken Berry gets his turn at a dual role in earnest, as Captain Parmenter and the bank robbing Kid Vicious.

Bye, Bye, Balloon: Watch the ballet-like almost pratfall that opens this memorable color episode, and how well Berry works with guest star Harvey Korman in the saber duel.  No segment better displays Berry's gift for physical comedy IMO.

Really, though, just about any of the 65 episodes will feature some first class comedy from Ken Berry and his castmates.  His passing leaves Larry Storch and my fellow Texan James Hampton as the only surviving regulars.  Berry's ex-wife Jackie Joseph is also still with us: she guest starred in Our Hero, What's His Name?


Rest in peace, Captain.  More of Ken Berry's interview at Emmy TV Legends follows.  The entire interview can be found here.


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Leon Errol Series: RIVERBOAT RHYTHM (1946)





"Why the Hell isn't this on DVD or Blu yet?" -- Number 102







RIVERBOAT RHYTHM (RKO 1946) Starring Leon Errol, Glen Vernon, Walter Catlett, Jonathan Hale, Harry Harvey, Florence Lake, Ben Carter, Mantan Moreland, Marc Cramer, Emory Parnell, Dorothy Vaughan, Ferris Taylor, Jason Robards Sr., Lillian Randolph, Frankie Carle and his Orchestra.  Screenplay by Charles E. Roberts.  Directed by Leslie Goodwins.

Introduction to The Leon Errol Salute series is at this link.


Showboat captain Errol is running a real shoestring operation.  So much so that he doesn't have the $50 to secure a license at his latest stop.  Ever the fast thinker, Errol barters with town clerk Taylor, but the traded hair tonic renders Taylor as bald as Leon.  This has Sheriff Parnell after our funnyman, but he's thwarted in his arrest attempt by "Colonel Witherspoon" (Catlett), who pushes Parnell into the river while the boat shoves off with Catlett in tow.


Safe waters?  Not for long.  In Leon's stead, Colonel Catlett gets drunk at the helm and accidentally runs the craft ashore--right outside the town's swank hotel and angering its proprietor Robards.  The mere mention of the Colonel's name has Robards changing his tune--Witherspoon is a very rich and mysterious eccentric.  The sound of his name doesn't endear Errol to everyone in town, though--he finds himself in the middle of a feud with rival Colonel Hale after he assumes Witherspoon's identity to elude the Sheriff.


Playing a masquerading Matt Lindsay again three years after the demise of the MEXICAN SPITFIRE series, Leon Errol had his final feature film lead in RIVERBOAT RHYTHM.  As always, assuming a new identity to avoid jail time opens multiple cans of worms, including a near marriage with Florence Lake (usually Mrs. Kennedy in Edgar's RKO shorts) being demanded of his alter ego.  Yes, being jailed or hitched is better than facing the murderous Beeler family--even if Edgar might disagree.


Little wonder that it often feels a lot like a SPITFIRE entry sans the late Lupe Velez: Goodwins directed all eight entries in that series and Roberts scripted all but the first.  RHYTHM adds a little spice to the formula though.  The life-and-death situation that Matt Lindsay unwittingly gets into certainly has higher stakes than Errol's typical ruse as the Fake Lord Epping.  Adding to the desperation, this version of Uncle Matt is much more impoverished than the Lindsey who served as Carmelita's co-conspirator.


A real treat is created by the casting of Mantan Moreland and Ben Carter as two of Uncle Matt's riverboat employees.  Abbott and Costello had nothing on the precise timing of Moreland and Carter.  In their penultimate appearance as a screen team, they present their "incomplete sentences" routine that was also superbly utilized in the Charlie Chan films THE SCARLET CLUE (1945) and DARK ALIBI (1946).  But RHYTHM provides a bonus you won't find in those better circulated films: Leon Errol is smoothly integrated into the routine here about two minutes in, with wonderfully timed results.   Seeing Carter, Moreland and Errol juggling this legendary wordplay is a true marvel, and easily the finest sequence in RIVERBOAT RHYTHM.   


Sadly, this would be the penultimate film for Carter, who died of diphtheria months after completing DARK ALIBI; he was only 35.  Moreland would revive the act with a young Nipsey Russell as his straight men but his chemistry with Carter was never fully duplicated.


Frankie Carle gets prominent billing, four songs, and more screen time than Moreland and Carter.  Too bad.  Carle was a legitimate Wizard of the Keyboard, but modern audiences will be a lot more interested in the comedic highlights.  You do get to hear Carle's most famous song, Sunrise Serenade.


Leon Errol's solo features for RKO arrived about once per year through 1946, and for the most part (MAMA LOVES PAPA was an exception) surprisingly avoided the boozy formula of his better remembered shorts.  The wobbly limbed comic darts between his dual identities in a sober fashion.  Instead, Catlett gets these vices in RIVERBOAT RHYTHM as the inebriated Colonel wrecks the ship (DUI, no doubt) and unwittingly saddles the incognito Errol with a wife.   As was the case in POP ALWAYS PAYS (Catlett hilariously mooched off Errol for that film's duration) these two old pros work seamlessly.


Jason Robards Sr. and Lilian Randolph are uncredited but easily recognized.  A young Nan Leslie and Tommy Noonan are among the others you can spot if you don't blink.  Joan Newton gets prominent billing as Errol's niece, but this was one of only two films she would make, the other being BEDLAM with Boris Karloff.


RIVERBOAT RHYTHM gets a one-star rating when it turns up in your TV guides, but don't believe that hype.  It is no doubt of its time but the gags are decent and are more than decently delivered.  It would end up being Leon's last go-round headlining a feature (supporting parts in THE NOOSE HANGS HIGH and the JOE PALOOKA series remained) but he had five more years of entertaining two-reelers ahead of him, with the majority scripted by Roberts and directed by Goodwins.


SO....WHY ISN'T THIS ON DVD YET?

Only 65 minutes long, so it would need a double feature at the very least.  Also, RIVERBOAT RHYTHM had all but disappeared from TV in the last two decades, but TCM did air it in September (when I was finally able to DVR it) so there's hope for a repeat showing in the near future.


WHY IT SHOULD BE ON DVD:

I'd put it on just for the Moreland/Carter/Errol sequence alone.  Yes, this is of its time, but the brilliance of Moreland and Carter shines through in all three of their screen appearances together.  In a more enlightened era they might well have reached the heights of Abbott and Costello or Martin and Lewis.  RIVERBOAT RHYTHM has more going for it than just the legendary vaudeville team, though.  Errol really, truly needs a solo boxed set with all of his RKO features to go with the eight-film MEXICAN SPITFIRE series that Warner Archive has issued, and I plan to mention this until it happens, dammit!  Along with complete sets of those two reelers.......

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Television Review: HONDO: "Hondo and the Ghost of Ed Dow" (1967)






"Your lives are meaningless compared to HONDO!"









HONDO: "Hondo and the Ghost of Ed Dow" (1967 ABC-TV/MGM/Batjac Productions) Season One, Episode 12.  Original Air Date: November 24, 1967.  Starring Ralph Taeger as Hondo Lane, Noah Beery Jr. as Buffalo Baker, Kathie Browne as Angie Dow, Buddy Foster as Johnny Dow, Gary Clarke as Captain Richards, Michael Pate as Chief Vittoro, Glenn Langan as Victor Tribolet.  Guest Stars: David Brian as Ben Dow, Ben Wright as Dr. Paul, June Dayton as Wilma Hendrix, James Chandler as Matt Hendrix, Chris Alcaide as Selby, Ted Jordan as Gruder.  Written by Stanley Adams and George F. Slavin.  Directed by Harry Harris.


Series overview and introduction to the HONDO episode guide at this link.


Four masked men led by Selby raid the Hendrix Trading Post, vocally expressing displeasure with the school for Apache children operated on the premises.  Mrs. Hendrix is badly injured in the attack, but before she is knocked unconscious she manages to tear a buttoned cuff off of the leader's coat.  Hondo Lane arrives in the aftermath and assists Mr. Hendrix in flagging down the stagecoach en route to Fort Lowell.


That stage is carrying Ben Dow, who has arrived from Boston after hearing of his son's death at the hands of an Apache.  Sensing an opportunity to finally get his hands on Angie's store, Tribolet contradicts her story and tells Ben that Hondo Lane killed his son.  This revelation has the senior Dow vowing to take grandson Johnny back East with him by any means necessary--which includes doing business with Selby's gang after the legal process proves too slow for Ben's liking.


Hondo Lane's past comes home to roost again, and this time it is recent past that we've witnessed: Ed Dow's failed ambush to collect a withdrawn reward in the premiere.  Lane was never sure whether Dow's demise was caused by his bullet or Silva's arrow.  Neither were we, and seeing the footage again doesn't make it any clearer.  But one thing has been crystal to us all along: Ed Dow's death was caused by Ed Dow.


Not that a newly grieving and already classist father is going to understand that, especially when egged on by the wealthiest man at Fort Lowell.  Ben Dow is the latest outsider to learn that things are done differently in the Territory of Arizona.  Unlike his predecessors, the elder Dow briefly seems to bond with Hondo at first before Tribolet poisons the well.  But after the idea is planted that Ed was the victim of a plot between his daughter and law and her "lover"?  Ben punches Hondo--a rare shot that goes without response after the Captain's interruption.


Hondo and the Ghost of Ed Dow was no doubt welcomed by fans just tuning in who had missed Hondo and the Eagle Claw, with a full five minutes of flashbacks to show us how the show's namesake had actually rescued Mrs. Dow and Ben's grandson from hostile renegades.  This brought Lane no thanks from the late, jealous Ed Dow, and new viewers are brought up to speed in efficient fashion.


The downside?  There's still a current story to be told, and that requires a few shortcuts with these recollections taking up over ten percent of Hondo and the Ghost of Ed Dow.  Selby seems way too loose lipped with Tribolet before any business deal is cut, given his gang's ongoing operations.  It's also unclear how the freighting magnate would be unscathed after things turn sour, given Ben Dow's disposition and the live capture of Selby's men (presumably willing to keep talking). Director Harris (Hondo and the Sudden Town) also gets a case of the cutes after the final showdown by showing Sam literally bringing in the final perp--briefly bringing HONDO into territory it usually avoids.


David Brian's stern disapproval rivals that of any prior antagonist, and his transition to understanding is handled smoothly.  Prior to that aforementioned lapse into too-heroic dog territory (which, to be fair, is at the fade-out of the final act), Harris and writers George F. Slavin and Stanley Adams (Hondo and the Hanging Town) capably deliver the expected meat-and-potatoes action.


Michael Pate's penultimate appearance as Chief Vittoro is a mere cameo: he has no lines and merely waves to the Dows from a distance.  (Pate is riding that recognizable Appaloosa from BROKEN ARROW, reportedly 22 years old when HONDO was filmed.)  Glenn Langan's Victor Tribolet reaches a new low in his fourth appearance, showing us that even children aren't off-limits.


Hondo and the Ghost of Ed Dow marks the closing of a chapter for the show: it turned out to be the swan song for Angie Dow and son Johnny.  Kathie Browne and Buddy Foster remained in the closing credits, but neither appeared in the final five episodes.  The show's focus shifted to assignments outside Fort Lowell and Noah Beery's role as Buffalo Baker was beefed up considerably.  Whether the phasing out of the Dows was temporary or permanent is impossible to determine due to the show's truncated run, but the experiment was a success.  HONDO racked up four road trip winners in a row and the Nielsen ratings also spiked upward.


Three decades after its premiere on ABC, Hondo and the Ghost of Ed Dow would mark the end of an era a second time.   On May 28, 1999 it was the final installment shown on T.N.T., ending the show's highly successful ten year run on the cable channel.  (That's some 520 consecutive Saturday mornings that at least one of the seventeen episodes aired!)


HOW MANY CANS OF WHOOPASS?

After foolishly kicking Sam at Hondo's favored watering hole, Selby and Gruder get the worst of it despite getting a two-on-one against Emberato.  They later lose a rematch at their hideout, with Buffalo providing some backup this time.  Hondo's ring record gets one mild blemish, though-- that uncontested right cross from Mr. Dow.  It's likely that Hondo would have taken the high road anyway---David Brian was roughly the same age (57) as Rod Cameron and Jim Davis who had locked horns with Lane in past installments, but looked much older than both.


IS THE CANTINA STILL STANDING?

Hondo dispatches the two baddies in his opening bout with only one chair as collateral damage.  Pretty good day for the place in light of prior segments.


SOMETHING TO REMEMBER HIM BY:

Check out that photo of Ed Dow inside dad's watch: just as stone faced as his father!  A real chip off the old block!


A DOG'S LIFE:

The four legged sidekick puts in a full workload.  First, Sam finds the key piece of evidence at the Hendrix Trading Post.  Then he identifies the culprits back at the Fort (which got him Selby's boot).  He next picks up Johnny's scent and leads Hondo and Buffalo to Selby's hideout after the kidnapping--locating the boys yo-yo along the way.  Finally, the pooch takes his man out of the action in the finale.  Sam always could identify that one baddie who was terrified of canines.


THE BOTTOM LINE:

Wrapping up some loose ends from the opening two-parter, Hondo and the Ghost of Ed Dow reliably delivers the action but suffers a bit from a compressed timeframe to tell its original story.  The lesser of two outings for both director Harris and the Adams/Slavin writing team.  (**1/2 out of four)




HONDO airs every Sunday morning at 10:15 A.M. Central Time on getTV.


https://www.get.tv/programs/hondo

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Television Review: CRAZY LIKE A FOX: "Fox and Hounds" (1985)


CRAZY LIKE A FOX: "Fox and Hounds" (CBS-TV/Sony 1985) Original Air Date: March 24, 1985.  Starring Jack Warden as Harry Fox, John Rubenstein as Harrison Fox, Penny Peyser as Gail Fox, Robby Kiger as Josh Fox, Mary Ellen Trainor as Connie Olsen, Ron O'Neal as the Smuggler, Barbara Babcock as Helen, Jonathan Banks as Inspector Dick Hawkins, Philip Brown as Jim, Theodore Wilson as Ernie, Zetta Whitlow as Robin. Teleplay by Ruel Fischmann; Story by Robert Malcolm Young.  Directed by Charles Braverman.

Series overview and introduction to the CRAZY LIKE A FOX episode guide at this link.


P.I. Harry Fox arrives at his office, finding a dog waiting for him with Harry's business card stuck in his collar.  The canine's tag identifies him as "Max", a student at the obedience school run by recent Fox client Connie Olsen.  Failing in his attempts to reach Ms. Olsen, Harry decides to leave Max with Harrison's family overnight while he continues to search for her.  While walking Max, Harrison finds himself the target of two armed men seeking to steal the detection dog and politely declines to provide further boarding.


The search for Connie takes the senior Fox to her residence the next day, and Harry's curiosity is further piqued when he discovers that Max has been re-trained to sniff out household cleansers.  Unfortunately his investigation is put on hold at that point, as Ms. Olsen has been located after an anonymous tip from Harrison's pursuers: she's a homicide victim, and Harry is arrested as the prime suspect.


Yep, Harry is booked for murder at the end of Act II, but this being the bright, light world of CRAZY LIKE A FOX, he's out on bail mere minutes into Act III.  And not just back on the case, but with a small sample of cocaine in hand from a pal in Vice Squad to bait the bad guys within minutes of his release into Harrison's custody.  Hey, inveterate viewers of the show know that Mr. Fox is one persuasive guy, right?


As directed by long-time documentarian Charles Braverman, Fox and Hounds doesn't skimp on the humor, but commendably brings it from less typical places: Harry's bad driving takes an episode off, and Harrison gets chased by the bad guys more often than his father.  But fear not--Harrison is still continually put-upon.  The lawyer finds himself hiding behind dumpsters, crossing flimsy bridges, having his legal advice disregarded and finding Max (who takes a shine to son Robby, but surprisingly isn't much of a scene stealer) even less cooperative than Harry.  Suffice to say Rubenstein's reliable slow burn gets a real workout.


Not that this episode is any less Warden-centric than usual.  Acquiring someone else's limousine for the second straight outing, Harry ups the ante considerably by also borrowing the aforementioned street drug, a second sniffing canine, and finally a helicopter before the case is cracked.  And while it takes awhile, Fox Senior finally gives us the vehicular damage we've come to expect from him.  Just not from the driver's seat this time--another eye opener.


If you wanted to see Jonathan Banks in drag, Fox and Hounds is your installment.  A quarter century before BREAKING BAD and almost as curmudgeonly as he would become in his most famous role, Banks spends almost all of his screen time undercover in dress and wig after vouching for Harry as a old pro.  No, it isn't punishment, just another day on the job for Inspector Dick Hawkins.  Hawkins' trust in Harry makes him a target of barbs from an even more acerbic Babcock (as homicide Lieutenant Helen)--as does his choice to wear lace.


Director Braverman returned to helm Fox in 3/4 Time, then moved on to the more overt humor of SLEDGE HAMMER!, becoming one of that cult classic's most frequent directors.  With a 18.5 rating, Fox and Hounds scored a solid 14th out of 72 programs in the Nielsen Ratings but still came in second on March 24, 1985 to ABC's rather unremarkable Sunday Night Movie: CALIFORNIA GIRLS with Robby Benson and video vixen Tawny Kitaen (20.3, 9th).  While slightly below the show's 1984-85 average in that regard, Fox and Hounds was on firm ground creatively.  Young and Fischmann threw us a few curveballs while Braverman deftly handled this show's comedy/mystery balancing act.  (*** out of four)



CRAZY LIKE A FOX occasionally airs on getTV.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Film Review: HONOLULU LU (1941)






"Why the Hell isn't this on DVD/Blu yet?"--Number 101









HONOLULU LU (1941 Columbia) Starring Lupe Velez, Leo Carrillo, Bruce Bennett, Forrest Tucker, Marjorie Gateson, Don Beddoe, George McKay, Nina Campana, Adele Mara, Lloyd Bridges.  Written by Paul Yawitz, Eliot Gibbons and Ned Dandy.  Directed by Charles Barton.


As Consuelo, Velez arrives in the titular town with uncle Carrillo--a confidence man with a penchant for hot checks and wealthy widows.  Tiring of his schemes, Velez ditches her uncle and, with Campana's help, gets a job at the Blue Chip Cabaret with a simple name change to "Lu". The headstrong Latina also inadvertently costs three Navy men (Tucker, Bennett and McKay) their dates for the evening.


The surly sailors attend Lu's show with intent to heckle but are won over by her risqué act of songs, dancing and comedy impressions.  Lu is soon being wooed by Bennett, and her popularity is on the rise.  In fact, Lu is a heavy favorite in the upcoming Miss Honolulu contest, with the new burlesque Queen's likely victory causing great consternation for bluenose Gateson.  Facing exposure for a previous Atlantic City swindle and seeking to win Gateson's favor, Carillo enters his niece in the contest to defeat "Lu".  Without Velez's knowledge, of course, and Carillo is equally in the dark about his niece's alter ego.  So much that, in his attempt to throw the upcoming contest Consuelo's way, Carillo throws shade at Lu by claiming the burlesque beauty is a spy!


HONOLULU LU captures the inimitable Lupe Velez at the height of box office power. Velez was halfway through her highly successful run as RKO's MEXICAN SPITFIRE and headlining comedies for Universal (SIX LESSONS FROM MADAME LA ZONGA, with SPITFIRE co-conspirator Leon Errol) and Columbia in away from her home studio.  HONOLULU LU is the latter and (much) better vehicle for the unique, memorable Mexican-American starlet.


With the dapper Carillo replacing Errol as the scheming Uncle and sticking to a singular characterization, Lupe gets the dual role in HONOLULU LU.  As Consuela's stage persona, the former vedette showcases her varied talents: singing, dancing, and--as she previously demonstrated onscreen in HIGH FLYERS--impressions.  Velez' Gloria Swanson is uncannily accurate, and her Katherine Hepburn equally spot-on.  A distant third is her Dietrich, which is no threat to Madeline Kahn's IMO.  To be fair, Kahn's pastiche was much more affectionate: Velez was Dietrich's contemporary and one-time romantic rival (for Gary Cooper).


Eerily released on the same day that Germany declared war on the U.S. (and just four days after Pearl Harbor was attacked), HONOLULU LU proved prescient by rounding out Lupe's quartet of imitations with you-know-who.  I can't think of a better Fuehrer within Velez' gender, and the predominantly military audience eats it up.


Screenwriters Yawitz and Gibbons were much more at home writing westerns, and it shows, with a distinct lack of truly funny lines.  Fortunately Barton's comedic skill keeps you from noticing too much.  Velez sings two songs, That's the Kind of Work I Do and the title track. The screenwriters (assisted by Ned Dandy) do manage to come up with slightly bawdy lyrics for the starlet in the former.  The titular tune is overused a bit (three times) but with Lupe strutting her stuff, it's all good.


Herman Brix was barely a year into his name change as Bruce Bennett, and the former Olympic medalist (shot put) and screen Tarzan is acceptable (if bland).  Forrest Tucker is five films into his Columbia pictures contract as the more vocal of Bennett's wingmen, and look for his future leading lady Adele Mara, making her second screen appearance at age 18.  She's uncredited (two lines), as are future big names Larry Parks (as a sailor) and Lloyd Bridges (a desk clerk).

There's Adele! (L)
Nina Campana IS credited, for once--the delightful character actress was too often unbilled in her forty-four film Hollywood career.  She's stuck with the most clichéd dialogue, but still stands out in scenes with Velez and Carrillo.  Her best remembered film would be her next one-TORTILLA FLAT (1942) with Spencer Tracy.

Carrillo and Campana

Ultimately, though, HONOLULU LU is mostly a chance to get full throttle, uninterrupted Lupe Velez at her best for 72 minutes.  True, she is elevating unremarkable material again, but like her long-time co-star Leon Errol, she was quite good at that.  One of the unsung greats of the twentieth century's first half, Velez deserves to be remembered for her immense charm and considerable talents--not for the tasteless urban legends surrounding her untimely passing.

So....why isn't this on DVD?

The MEXICAN SPITFIRE series is out on DVD, courtesy of Warner Archive, but Columbia owns the rights to this one.  C'mon guys, you've issued far less notable "B" movies than this one.


Why it should be on DVD:

An all-too-rare solo showcase for its tragic star, who would be dead three years to the month after HONOLULU LU was released at age 36.  We can all wonder what might have been.  It's easy to imagine Velez eventually conquering a television medium that brought Lucille Ball and Joan Davis (among other comediennes) to new career heights just a decade later.  

HONOLULU LU aired on TCM in August during the channel's 24 hour Lupe Velez marathon, so it seems likely it will turn up there again at some point for your DVR space.