Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Juvenile talent shows

I've mentioned a couple of shorts in the past that are basically a bunch of different kids each showing off their talent, be it singing or dancing; collectively, all the kids do enough to make a one- or two-reeler. Among the ones I've blogged about are the slightly odd Show Kids and the odder Bubbles, the latter of which has a very young Judy Garland. Perhaps even weirder than these two is Kiddie Revue, which TCM is running tomorrow at 1:44 PM, or following A Night at the Opera (noon, 91 minutes).

This one is, like the other two, a revue of child talent acts and, like the other two, has a framing story. Where Show Kids is about kids trying to save a theater and Bubbles is presented by the man in the moon, Kiddie Revue is presented by a rather adult-acting master of ceremonies. The reason for that is that this short is supposed to be a spoof of The Hollywood Revue. That feature, which was basically a sound test for MGM's stars, was emceed mostly by Jack Benny, whose humor was already on full display. Benny wasn't dirty, but there's certainly a grown-up sensibility about his routines that makes seeing a kid try to imitate it reminiscent of Bugsy Malone. Weird and off, but also compelling and fun.

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