Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Meet George Jetson

Yesterday, TCM showed the silly Bop Girl Goes Calypso. The premise is that a psychology professor studying trends determines that rock and roll (at least, that flavor of it that was popularized by Bill Haley and others) is going to wane in popularity, to be replaced by surging calypso. (OK, stop laughing.) There's a pointless love triangle in it as well, although the main point of the movie is to show a bunch of musical numbers from second-rate acts: this is the sort of film designed by older people who think they have their finger on the pulse of what younger people want, but who are so far off it's funny. Needless to say, the movie isn't available on DVD, and I'd only recommend it if you enjoy the sub-genre of "generation gap" movies.

Being a movie geek, however, I immediately noticed the name of George O'Hanlon in the opening credits; there's also a humorous shot of O'Hanlon dressed in calypso garb. O'Hanlon worked in lesser movies for the most part, with his most notable contribution to film being the Joe McDoakes series of shorts at Warner Bros. in the 1940s and 1950s. Some of them are available on DVDs of other movies, but they're dated enough that I don't see Warners giving them a DVD release of their own. However, O'Hanlon would go on to gain a modicum of fame on TV, by providing the voice of George Jetson. Indeed, if you see any of his movie appearances, you'll find his voice as George Jetson is pretty much the same voice you get from him as an actor; that's how I first recognized him when TCM showed one of the Joe McDoakes shorts.

If you want to see a later George O'Hanlon, he has a brief appearance as the TV announcer at one of Rocky Balboa's fights in the first of the Rocky movies. (I think it's the big fight with Apollo Creed, but it's some time since I've seen Rocky.) Rocky, being one of the all-time great movies, is available on DVD.

Update: a look through TCM's online schedule shows that the Joe McDoakes short So You Want to Hold Your Wife should show up between 5:45 and 6:00 AM ET on Monday April 21. It's listed at 11 minutes long.

No comments: