Pop Culture Gadabout
Sunday, December 31, 2006
      ( 12/31/2006 08:34:00 AM ) Bill S.  


"SHE HAS EYES THAT FOLKS ADORE SO, AND A TORSO EVEN MORE SO" – Okay, so I'm watching the Marx Bros.' At the Circus (not their best, but not their worst either: I just wish that the movie had more of a sense of actual circus to it like Frank Capra's earlier Rain or Shine), and I'm enjoying Groucho's performance of "Lydia, the Tattooed Lady," which is performed in a rail car populated by more mainstream-y showgirls than you'd expect to see in a small, struggling circus – but nevermind, and part way into the number, I begin seeing visual echoes of another novelty song, the Hope & Crosby sung "Captain Custard" from Road to Singapore, which is similarly performed for a group of girls in small quarters, this time the cabin of a rich man's yacht. (How's that for a run-on sentence?) So I check the two movies' respective release years, and I see that Hope & Crosby's first Road flick came out in 1940, a year after MGM released Circus. Was the inclusion of "Custard" Paramount's attempt at duplicating the success of Marx's "Lydia"? If so, it didn't work: "Lydia" became one of Groucho's signature songs, while "Custard," with its dated, unfunny refs to movie "bank nights," is barely remembered . . .
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Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).



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