Series: Irvin S. Cobb

Director: Gordon Douglas
Producer: Hal Roach
Photography: George Webber
Editor: Leo Zochling
Sound: Joe Kane

Stars: Eddie Foy Jr, Ted Claire
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 03 August 1935
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: E-4
Filming dates: 1935
Rating: 1/10

Lucky Beginners

Eddie Foy Jr takes to a stage to introduce Ted Claire, the director of an amateur talent contest being held in New York. He then asks each of the individuals to introduce themselves and what they are doing there. Here is the sequence of skits along the approximate running times of each segment as well as my personal rating for each act:
-First up is a negro man who makes imitations of pigs grunting followed by a dog barking. [1:16, rating 8/10]
-Next is trapeze artist Tarzan Goldberg, an old skinny man in a leopard skin who gets hoisted up into the air but is unable to perform his act. He is seen throughout the film still suspended in mid-air and trying to get his act together. [0:28, rating 2/10]
-Beer-truck driver Harry O'Donovan does his brief skit pulling funny faces. [0:26, rating 4/10]
-Waiter Ted Press also makes funny faces. [0:19, rating 6/10]
-His sketch is interrupted by an unnamed woman who is wearing boxing gloves and assaults Eddie Foy. She does a brief tap dance routine whilst shadow boxing. Eddie hits the gong to signal the end of her routine. [0:25, rating 4/10]
-Charles Murdy, a comic strip reader sings "Only An Irishman's Dream". His act is ended by Eddie's gong. [1:03, rating 5/10]
-An unnamed man walks onto the set claming to do impressions of a Jewish boy but he is quickly rejected and led away.
-Alan James is an impersonator who imitates Jimmy Durante and others. [1:47, rating 7/10]
-Leon Schindler is a singer who performs a song called "Love, Here Is My Heart" in German. His act is 'gonged' by Eddie. [0:33, rating 4/10]
-Beverly Burkes, a commercial model, is seen giving her phone number to Eddie before they are interrupted by Ted Claire. She sings a song whilst playing with spoons. [1:35, rating 6/10]
-Fruit checker Junior Smythe is next up with a sing and dance number. He gets the gong.[1:13, rating 2/10]
-An unnamed negro man is asleep and snoring in a chair when he is awoken by the host. He sings a song and is pretty good and has a fair chunk of screen time. Unfortunately he doesn't introduce himself by name. [2:28, rating 7/10]
-The Jones sisters, Elsie and Georgia sing "Old Black Joe". During the skit Eddie walks backwards and forwards between them before Ted Claire hits the gong. [1:13, rating 3/10]
-Next is a woman who introduces herself as Mary Garden (I think, it is difficult to hear her). She is slightly unhinged and sings and plays piano. [0:55, rating 6/10]
-The Three Rascals Of Rhythm is a trio of black men who sing and perform a song on a piano. [1:05, rating 6/10]

The film ends with poor old Tarzan still hanging from his trapeze! Strangely, no winner(s) is declared and the film ends rather abruptly with an unsatisfying feeling, although it's also a blessing too. A completely pointless exercise with no outcome. Really odd film.

Favourite bit
If I had to be the judge here I would have to award the winner as John Lutz, the first guy who performs. His animal noises are quite convincing. There are some others who were okay but generally I thought the whole thing to be a complete waste of sixteen minutes.

Copyrighted July 24, 1935.
Although technically the film was produced as being part of the Irvin S. Cobb series, Cobb does not appear in the film, and it was released as a "special".
This "amateur night" short was directed by Hal Roach (although on-screen credit went to Gordon Douglas) and was released by MGM as a special. It was one of two films produced by Roach to fill out his release commitment to MGM after the cancellation of the Irvin S. Cobb series (the second film was "The Infernal Triangle", released on August 17, 1935).
Richard Lewis Ward's book, A History Of The Hal Roach Studios does not list any date for the film release (page 191).
My opinion
An absolute crock of utter shite.

Eddie Foy Jr.
Ted Claire
John Lutz
Tarzan Goldberg
"trapeze artist"
Harry O'Donovan
"funny faces"
Ted Press
"funny faces"
Charles Murdy
Alan James
Leon Schindler
Beverly Burkes
"singer and spoons player"
Junior Smythe
Elsie Jones
Georgia Jones
Mary Garden
The Three Rascals Of Rhythm


CREDITS (click image to enlarge)

(click any image to enlarge)

Dave Stevenson (review print)
Movie Publicity Showcase Volume 8 by Irv Hyatt

This page was last updated on: 09 April 2019