Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ohio Theater Double Feature – Sept 4, 1954

Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall
in Jungle Gents
Here's an interesting double-feature that was playing at the Ohio Theater back on September 4, 1954 – 59 years ago last week – Jungle Gents (with the Bowery Boys) and Fireman, Save My Child! The double feature even came with a guarantee: if you didn't "split your sides laughing" (sounds kinda gruesome) then the theater manager would give you a free pass to any future engagement.

As I've mentioned here before, the Bowery Boys were popular in Lorain, as their movies seemed to be constantly playing on area screens in the 1950s. (In fact, Jungle Gents opened the Lorain Drive-In's 1955 season.) But it's the other film on that Ohio Theater bill that was most likely to make one of the theatergoers ask for that free pass.

Fireman, Save My Child! was originally conceived as a vehicle for Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. The behind-the-scenes story is that Costello fell ill before shooting began, and Buddy Hackett and Hugh O'Brian took their places. And what makes the movie even stranger is that Spike Jones and His City Slickers received top billing.

In the movie, Spike and his band are all firemen working out of Firehouse No. 12. Predictably, they spend more time making music than putting out fires.

Buddy Hackett, Spike Jones (with guns)
and the City Slickers in Fireman, Save My Child!
Now, Spike Jones was always big in the Brady household when I was growing up. My father had a collection of 1940s Spike Jones 78s (Holiday For Strings, Cocktails For Two, Chloe, etc.) which my siblings and I thought were hilarious. But I watched some of Fireman, Save My Child! on Turner Classics recently and it was kind of a stinkeroo.

Anyway, it's too bad theaters aren't confident enough of what they're showing these days to offer a guarantee like the Ohio Theater did. Here's hoping that Slip and Satch (Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall) kept the manager from handing out too many passes that week.


Anonymous said...

Looks like it would have been a great double feature!

Dan Brady said...

Plus they had a great MGM Barney Bear cartoon where he goes hunting with a bird dog who secretly likes birds--and does everything he can to thwart Barney!