Thursday, February 13, 2014

Seeing Hands

Some of you may be interested in the short Seeing Hands, which is running tonight at about 9:40 PM, or just after My Sister Eileen. It's one that I know I've seen before, but one for which the brief synopses given by the few reviewers on IMDb leave me wondering whether I'm conflating a couple of shorts, or whether I've thought of two separate halves of one short as actually being two completely different shorts.

Narrated by Pete Smith, this one was released in the middle of World War II, and deals with the idea that everybody can make an impact on the war effort. One evening, a couple of men are walking down a sidewalk in a residential neighborhood of some city, that really could be Anytown, USA. They hear strange sounds coming out of a darkened garage, and wonder what's going on. When they turn the lights on, they find a man doing woodworking in the dark! The thing is, he doesn't need the lights on, since he's blind. Yet he can still do complex operations on a lathe. The man even has a seeing-eye dog to pick up things with wooden handles, and guide the guy's hand to things that are entirely metal and not good for the dog's teeth to pick up.

Now, I remember all of that as one short. What for some reason I was thinking was a completely different short may just be a flashback to how the guy went blind as a kid, and something involving an initiation at the hospital where he's recovering from the injuries that blinded him. If memory serves, the initiation involves a mock car and the victim getting squirted in the face. According to the IMDb page, that's George "Spanky" MacFarland from the Our Gang shorts leading the initiation. Unfortunately, there's no detailed synopsis on IMDb or in the TCM Database. It also doesn't seem to be on DVD or on Youtube.

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