Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Passing Parade

TCM is showing the short Annie Was a Wonder overnight at approximately 3:40 AM, or in the wee hours of tomorrow morning if you want to look at it that way. It's coming up after the Danny Kaye movie Wonder Man.

Annie Was a Wonder was one of a series of two-reel shorts that were part of "John Nesbitt's Passing Parade", which generally looked at America as it was at some time in the past. In this particular short, Kathleen Freeman stars as Annie, one of the tens of thousands of girls who came over from the old country -- in this case Sweden -- to work as domestic help for middle class American families, through which they'd eventually become American citizens. The short, released in the late 1940s, is actually set in the first decade of the 20th century, showing Annie's long work week for not much money, although she did get a bed and three square meals a day along with the money.

I was mildly surprised to see I'd never mentioned the Passing Parade before this one. As with a lot of shorts, there's not a whole lot going on, but the series is still worth mentioning. Once again, we've got a rose-colored view of America, although it's a different view than in the Crime Does Not Pay shorts which are boundlessly optimistic in their faith in the police, or the Traveltalks shorts which gloss over any negativity.

TCM's schedule page doesn't list Annie Was a Wonder as available for purchase, while IMDb suggests it's been released as an extra on a DVD of The Barkleys of Broadway, which may or may not be in print.

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