|Asleep In The Feet|
21 January 1933
|Director: Gus Meins Producer: Hal Roach
Cinematography: Art Lloyd Editor: Louis McManus Sound recording: James Greene
|Our girls arrive home, weary, with ingredients for their evening meal. Thelma declares, "What a day!" three times. "I'm so tired, I'm nearly dead!", ZaSu retorts. "Yeah?" replies Thelma, "Well I pushed up my eighth daisy, two hours ago". They unpack the food, and ZaSu holds up a wet paper bag, to which Thelma states, "Well, there's no tomatoes." And there follows more food falling out of bags, tinned milk being spilt etc, and attempts to start to cook the meal. Which is not allowed in the room, by order of the landlady, who is next door threatening to evict the tenant, a Miss Brown, by tomorrow morning if she doesn't pay the $20 owed. Thelma and ZaSu overhear this, and their 'bank', which is under the rug, is checked, to see if they can help. Thelma announces to a guilty-looking ZaSu, that they "are $16.50 short"! ZaSu slides her hand in her pocket in a feeble attempt to hide the new ring she acquired.
The landlady knocks on their door, saving ZaSu from an ear-bashing, but making the girls rush around to hide the food. One hiding place is the bin! Thelma hurriedly explains the cooking smell must be coming through the window. This is believed, and the landlady says she will check on the room downstairs, and on her way out, she picks up the bin and tells the girls that she will empty it for them. This makes Thelma and ZaSu give exaggerated 'shock' arm movements that they learned from their silent movie days! She won't take 'no' for an answer, so Thelma says, "Well,(Ollie-nod of the head) there goes our peas."
The door knocks again. ZaSu hides the pot of stew under the bed. But it's not the landlady, it's the lovely Anita Garvin, wanting to borrow an onion. Thelma offers to sell it for $20. Anita unsurprisingly refuses and leaves. Thelma makes this incredible pinched face in Anita's direction. A few seconds later, Anita's knocking again, and in the panic to hide the food, ZaSu trips and the stew pot goes flying out the window, straight onto the head of the landlady below. Thelma gives in and gives Anita the onion. Anita suggests that the girls go to the dance hall tonight and make a few bucks selling dances. Good idea, thinks Thelma, but ZaSu isn't so pleased. She shakes her head whilst telling Thelma that "You'll never catch me down there,(Thelma gives her 'look') never, never, never...."
Next scene repeats ZaSu's side-to-side head shaking, but this time it's to avoid her dance partner's heavy beard. Thelma's partner (Eddie Dunn) is an annoying braggart sailor. But the men have bought their tickets, given it to the girls, which entitles them to a dance. There is actually some impressive fancy footwork going on from the other dancers. But it's too fast and fancy for the dance hall manager (Billy Gilbert), who slams his hand on the counter, flattening a hat, which in turn distresses the hat-check girl (who looks like the girl from "Mixed Nuts", whose drawing of legs did not please Don Barclay). He has his usual outburst, and the music is slowed down. Thelma has many men waiting with their tickets to dance with her, including a man with a long strip of tickets, but Eddie takes them from him, and passes them to Thelma. The man has an 'oh well' expression, and proceeds to take out another strip from his pocket! ZaSu's next customer is twice her height and gives her an uncomfortable bouncy dance which disconnects her heel,and ends up on HIS heel, which he keeps on until the music's over!
At this point in the film, about 8:50,there is a beautiful blonde girl (not Thelma, Max, but get the mop!) next to ZaSu, who seems to be having the time of her life! She's SO happy! Maybe because the music is fast again!
I digress. Everyone is dancing with a partner, except ZaSu, who is bumped into by Thelma and Eddie. Unsatisfied with ZaSu's tickets amount, Thelma drags her in the 'ladies lounge', and Eddie waits outside. ZaSu complains of losing her heel and Thelma says "I wish I could lose that HEEL of mine!" staring in Eddie's direction. Anita comes in counting her many tickets. "Did you dance that many times tonight?" asks Thelma. Anita sexily chuckles, "Ah-ho, no. Just one dance. Some of this...(flutters eyelashes at great speed, much to the discomfort of the girls)... Plus a lot of this... (sexy hip-thrusting with a snarl)... equals, that!" and displays her many tickets. (Phew! Tea please!) The girls look at each other, as if our Anita were a hussy! Another girl opens her locker, and a big pile of tickets pour out! Thelma does one of her over-the-top double-takes, and ZaSu says, "Oh, she must have broke her back for them!" As Thelma goes to check to see if Eddie has hopefully gone, Anita gives ZaSu advice on how to get more tickets.
An undercover policeman arrives with two stuffy-looking women (one is Nora Cecil), to check up on this dance hall. Billy is informed, which gets him into a stuttering fluster, and tells the dancers "Dance careful, dance nice. Like your Grandmothers!" He asks the trio, "You want to see me is it?" Nora tells him that they would like to look over the establishment. When he suggests that they may like to dance, he receives three sharp intakes of breath as well as as disgusted looks. "Certainly not!", says Nora. As they watch the dancers move pleasantly to a slow tune, the trio are surprised but pleased. Thelma is hiding from Eddie, who is still waiting for another dance with her. She badly double-takes again (Fin should have given her lessons. Ahem!) when she spots Anita and ZaSu coming out from the lounge. ZaSu is strutting around like she thinks Mae West would, and Anita has piled on the make-up on ZaSu's face. Including big bee-stung lips and spidery eyelashes. Anita tells her, "Now grab yourself a hot number, and do your stuff!" ZaSu adds, "And swish! Boo-boop-a-doo!"
The trio look at her, and then each other, as if to say, "This place is not as respectable as it seems!" Thelma looks at ZaSu from her hiding place, in distress. The policeman decides to dance with ZaSu, 'for evidence'. His request is granted, and ZaSu adds, "Haa-chaa! Boo-boop-a-doo", for good measure. She's grinding like Anita showed her, but the policeman is NOT comfortable. Neither are the two stuffy ladies. The tune ends, and the policeman says to ZaSu, "Well you're quite a dancer." ZaSu, now overly-confident, replies, "Oh, that's nothing. You shoulda seen me...(she forgets her line for a split-second)..the dance before this, how I swished!" The suspicious policeman then goes to Billy Gilbert, and tells him he wants to hear that number that the band were playing before they came in. While Billy flusters, Nora is on top form with her disapproving looks and knowing slow nods. The type your teacher gave you, when she knew that you were lying!
The music speeds up again, and looking for more evidence the policeman joins ZaSu for another dance. The ladies look like they are going to get sick, to witness this! ZaSu and the policeman watch the 'wild' dancing now taking place, and attempt to copy it. Lots of bouncing around, and falling on the floor occurs. Billy begs Thelma to "DO SOMETHING" to calm down ZaSu. As she reaches the dance floor, Eddie grabs her and before she knows it, she's dancing! Billy and the ladies are panicking now as the dancing gets even wilder.
The stuffy ladies are so upset that they totter onto the dance floor in a daze! Two sailors hand them tickets and they dance as wildly as the rest! Nora's bloomers slowly fall down (steady on there, Lord!), as she is spun around! Amazingly, she is without care, and along with the other lady, smile happily, as they get really into the dance! ZaSu and the policeman have spun SO much that there is smoke coming from the soles of their shoes. Everything is getting into the rhythm now. Shoes, moose's antlers, hats, all get animated!
ZaSu and the policeman tumble onto the floor yet again. Thelma tells Eddie to take the wind out of the policeman's sails. He is just about to punch him when they recognize each other as being uncle and nephew. They embrace, and Billy tucks Thelma and ZaSu under each arm and puts them back in the lounge, and shouts at them to leave. While this is going on, the girl with tickets-a-plenty from earlier, barges past Anita, knocking her slightly off-balance. (You DON'T do that to Anita!)
We hear a commotion, and Anita yelling "OH YEAH?" then a painful 'whack' noise, a loud scream, and then we see the girl who now has a large, instant black eye. "I'll see the manager about this!" she says to an uncaring Anita, who gives a silent laugh and a lovely wiggle, in reply. Seeing Billy give the girl $20 as compensation gives ZaSu an idea. She turns the light out, another awful-sounding, 'whack' is heard, light returns, and a dazed Thelma has a massive black eye. ZaSu quickly negotiates $20 with a very upset and out of pocket Billy.
Last scene is back home with the girls. "Well, we got the $20", ZaSu tells to a very annoyed Thelma. "Yeah!" retorts Thelma, "But what I'd like to know is, who gave me this black eye?" She then inspects the damage in the mirror, and notices the marking is the same as the design on ZaSu's ring, and gives that scary Thelma 'look' to her reflection. She slowly turns towards ZaSu. This immediately (and understandably), starts ZaSu crying, making her heavy eyeshadow dribble down her face, giving her an Alice Cooper appearance! ZaSu weeps, "I didn't wanna hit ya, but we got the $20." Luckily for ZaSu, she looks and sounds so funny, Thelma bursts out with that lovely posh tinkly laugh of hers, and ZaSu can't help but join in.
This is a great episode, with the bonus of Anita Garvin's 'vampy' character joining in the fun. Nora Cecil is a hoot too.
•This was the fourteenth film in the series.
•Production A-13 - ZaSu Pitts & Thelma Todd series.
•Filmed November 28 - December 2, 1932.
•Copyrighted March 13, 1933.
Did you notice?
Dance hall hostess
Female inspector #1
Female inspector #2
Dance hall patron
Dance hall patron
Dance hall patron
Dance hall patron
Dance hall patron
Hat check girl
Girl at front desk
Richard Finegan (identification of Charles Dorety)
Mick Roche (review)
Jesse Brisson (help with identification of some actors)
This page was last updated on: 11 January 2016