Today is the anniversary of the release date of the Eddie Cantor comedy Strike Me Pink (1936), directed by Norman Taurog.
The early 30s magic is waning by the time Cantor made this picture, but it still has its moments. In this one, he plays a bullied pants presser and inventor named Eddie Pink, who takes a correspondence course in self-assertion. He gets a job managing his friends amusement park, where he is expected to keep a bunch of gangsters led by Brian Dunlevy from installing a bunch of slot machines and turning the whole operation crooked. Parkyakarkus plays Eddie’s putative (but useless) bodyguard. Then the crooks try to use Eddie’s crush on nightclub singer Ethel Merman to manipulate him, but that doesn’t work either. There is a long slapstick climax on the amusement park rides, almost of all of which is faked with rear projection screens and doubles. My favorite bit in the film is a routine involving ghosts!
Here’s a number from the film:
For more on silent and slapstick comedy don’t my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc
For more on show biz history, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.