Thursday, March 05, 2009

Golden Oldies

I'm a huge fan of old films and tv shows from the 40s, 50s and the entire era associated with them. I've recently become quite addicted to watching old 1950's What's My Line? Clips on youtube. Despite the fact there being a British version i find myself quite comfortable with the American panelists and host. I haven't even seen the British version yet, actually.

What's My Line? Was a weekly game show hosted by John Daly from 1950-1967, the show had four panelists each week who had to guess the the line of work that the numerous guests dealt in by asking them a series of questions. There would also be mystery guests where the panel would have to be blindfolded, because usually the guest was very well known in the movie world, tv world or theatre world. Ocassionally tricks would be played on the panelists and the guest would be a member of their family or a close friend. The panel consisted almost regularly Arlene Francis, Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennet Cerf and Steve Allen. Steve being replaced by Fred Allen in later episodes.Ocassionally there would be guest panelists from Arlene's husband Martin Gabel, but ocassionally an actor, actress or comedian of the time, such as Groucho Marx. I mean how brilliant is that? Groucho friggin' Marx! The reason i adore this show though is because of the relationship the panel and moderator John Daly have with each other, they all get along great and you can sense how good friends they all are. Arlene Francis is brilliant and another reason why i love the 50's is for the glamour of the women, Arlene Francis was definitely glamorous. Nobody's up their own arse about anything though, which you find a lot of these days, it just seems like more simple times back then, everyone's nice and they all look great.

I used to watch a lot of Laurel and Hardy growing up and old silent movie era stuff of the 20's, i adored it and later years i realised Laurel and Hardy weren't the only entertainers of their kind. Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin of course were also huge stars i just didn't appreciate how big until i was a little older. I think anything looking back on simpler times i can't help but admire. The Marx Brothers and Abbott and Costello are also friggin' brilliant and i stumble upon a lot of their stuff on youtube. There's a famous Abbott and Costello sketch called "Who's on first" that you just HAVE to see. Even if you're not interested in any of this stuff, i urge you to see it, in fact here's a friggin' link. I'm heavily into old film noir films, too. I think one of the reasons i studied photography in college was mainly because of these old films, especially dealing with black and white. There's a brilliant noir film called The Third Man starring Orson Welles that has a pretty famous theme tune attached to it that even if you've never seen the film, you'll know the music. The film's set in Vienna, mostly at night time, so you see a lot of drop shadow effect and a lot of tricks to enhance the brick of the floor which they did by spraying water over it, street light glistens off the brick kind of thing. Brilliant. I think my whole point i'm trying to make is...people are right when they say they don't make things like they used to. But it's always lovely to remember.


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