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Happy Days with Charles E Evans and Marjorie White

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Happy Days (1929)

Starring Charles E Evans and Marjorie White

Beautiful print and will play in all DVD players.

Filmed in "Fox Grandeur," an early widescreen process, Happy Days was the immediate follow-up to Fox Studios' Movietone Follies of 1929. Most of the film takes place on the showboat of Mississippi entrepreneur Colonel Billy Batcher (Charles E. Evans). When the Colonel faces foreclosure after several failing seasons, soubrette Margie (Marjorie White) stages a fund-raising revue on the boat, enlisting the aid of all the big stars who got their start with Batcher. By an amazing coincidence, virtually all of the showboat alumni are under contract to Fox Studios! Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell perform "We'll Build a Little World of Our Own," Victor McLaglen and Edmund Lowe kid their roughneck screen images in the novelty number "Vic and Eddie," Sharon Lynn and Ann Pennington offer the "hot" dance routine "Snake Hips," and "Whispering" Jack Smith offers a rendition of the title tune. Also on hand are Will Rogers, El Brendel, Walter Catlett (who also staged the musical numbers), Lew Brice (Fanny's brother), Dixie Lee (Mrs. Bing Crosby) and Georgie Jessel -- not to mention an uncredited 14-year-old chorus girl named Betty Grable.

Director: Benjamin Stoloff
Writers: Sidney Lanfield, Edwin J. Burke

Stars: Charles E. Evans, Marjorie White, Richard Keene, Stuart Erwin, Martha Lee Sparks, Clifford Dempsey, James J Corbett, George MacFarlane, Charles Farrell, Victor McLaglen, El Brendel, George Jessel, Dixie Lee, Sharon Lynn, Will Rogers, Edmund Lowe, Tom Patricola, Walter Catlett, Ann Pennington, Warner Baxter

Songs include:

We'll Build a Little World of Our Own
Music by James F. Hanley
Lyrics by James Brockman
Performed by Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell

Happy Days
Music by James F. Hanley
Lyrics by Joseph McCarthy
Performed by 'Whispering' Jack Smith

A Toast to the Girl I Love
Music by James F. Hanley
Lyrics by James Brockman

Dream on a Piece of Wedding Cake
Music by James F. Hanley
Lyrics by James Brockman

I'm on a Diet of Love
Music by Abel Baer
Lyrics by L. Wolfe Gilbert
Performed by Marjorie White

Minstrel Memories
Music by Abel Baer
Lyrics by L. Wolfe Gilbert
Performed by George MacFarlane

Written by Con Conrad, Sidney D. Mitchell and Archie Gottler
Performed by Frank Richardson

Snake Hips
Written by Con Conrad, Sidney D. Mitchell and Archie Gottler
Performed by Sharon Lynn and Ann Pennington

Crazy Feet
Written by Con Conrad, Sidney D. Mitchell and Archie Gottler

Vic and Eddie
Written by Harry Stoddard and Marcy Klauber
Performed by Victor McLaglen and Edmund Lowe

La Golondrina
Music by Narcisco Serradell

William Tell Overture
Music by Gioachino Rossini

Zampa Overture
Music by Louis Joseph Hérold

Minuet in G major, WoO 10, No. 2
Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
Danced by El Brendel

After a preview on September 17, 1929, Happy Days premiered at the Roxy Theater in New York City on February 13, 1930 with a Niagara Falls widescreen short on a Grandeur screen of 42x20 ft, compared to the standard 24x18 ft screen. It was also shown in Grandeur at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles, from February 28, 1930.

At a screening at the Roxy Theater, film critic Mordaunt Hall praised the cinematography, which was noted to be enhanced by the wider format. However, he regarded the film itself as "... not one that gives as full a conception of the possibilities as future films of this type will probably do."

Due to the Great Depression few movie theaters invested in widescreen equipment and the format was abandoned until 23 years later. Fox Film Corporation's heavy investment in Grandeur technology led to William Fox losing his business, which was eventually merged in 1935 with Twentieth Century Pictures to form 20th Century Fox. No widescreen print of Happy Days is known to survive.

Lots of energy here and Marjorie White (in her film debut) probably comes off best. She died in a car wreck in 1935. At only 4' 10" White was a dynamo of musical and comedy talent and had good supporting roles on Fox's JUST IMAGINE and SUNNYSIDE UP.

"Snake Hips" is fantastic - Sharon Lynn sings it,(she sang the "Turn on the Heat" number in "Sunny Side Up") there is some great, innovative overhead photography and beautiful Ann Pennington dances up a storm. Although in her 30s, she still had "IT" in spades. Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell build a doll house to "We'll Build a Little World of Our Own". Janet's voice seemed to have improved since "Sunny Side Up" and she talked/sang the words which I found quite effective. Charles Farrell's voice was still the same - unfortunately and the song ended with Farrell and Gaynor, dressed as babies, fighting over a bottle. No wonder Janet was fed up with the movies she was being offered.

"Crazy Feet" made the whole movie worthwhile. Adorable Dixie Lee burst out of a modernistic background, which featured chorus girls, in silhouette, in letters featuring the name of the song - at one point girls came down from the ceiling, suspended on swings, showing their "crazy feet". Dixie Lee was married to Bing Crosby and her guidance really helped him on the road to success. She has a wonderful "jazz oriented" voice and she even does a chorus of scat!!! Chorus girls pile out of giant shoes, Tom Patricola does an eccentric dance, Frank Richardson leads a chorus of clowns - did I mention the beautiful chorus girls!!! Marjorie White and Richard Keene sing and dance a cute novelty number "I'm on a Diet of Love" and soon end up duking it out on stage - "Whispering" Jack Smith, who, as a singer, had huge popularity in the twenties, comes on stage to patch things up and lead the finale in "Happy Days", sung in that whispering voice that was his trademark.

New Additions At Zeus:

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Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Cary Grant, Herbert Marshall


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Stars: Penny Singleton, Arthur Lake, Larry Simms


When Columbia Pictures secured the movie rights to Chic Young's popular comic strip Blondie, the studio executives probably never imagined that the ensuing "Blondie" series would last for 12 years and 28 episodes! Part of the series' charm was Columbia's wisdom in casting the ideal actors for the leading roles. Penny Singleton dyed her hair blonde to step into the role of Blondie Bumstead (after Shirley Deane bowed out due to prior committments); Arthur Lake landed the role of a lifetime as sensible Blondie's bumbling hubby Dagwood (in the original strip, of course, it was Dagwood who was sensible and Blondie who was scatterbrained); and 5-year-old Larry Simms did a masterful job as the Bumstead's son Baby Dumpling (aka Alexander), literally growing up before our eyes over the next dozen years. Not as farcical as later entries, the initial Blondie film is a gentle, even-keeled situation comedy, aiming for chuckles rather than bellylaughs. It doesn't take long for poor Dagwood to get into trouble with his apoplectic boss J. C. Dithers (wonderfully played by Jonathan Hale), who fires our hero halfway through the second reel. Ruminating over his troubles in a hotel lobby, Dagwood strikes up a friendship with affable C. P. Hazlip (Gene Lockhart), never realizing that this is the same Hazlip whose account the Dithers Construction Company has been trying to land for the past several weeks! But before a happy ending can be realized, Blondie and Dagwood undergo a series of misunderstandings, culminating with Blondie tearfully storming out of the house (which has already been stripped of its furniture by the finance company!) Blondie was an immediate hit with filmgoers and fans of the strip alike, convincing Columbia that it had a winning property on its hands and spawning sequel after sequel after sequel.

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