Oct 8, 2021
In our Fox 1937 episode this time around we cover a couple of oddities that nevertheless provide a good snapshot of the studio's latter 30s. Charlie Chan at the Olympics, starring Shakespearean-trained Swedish-American Warner Oland in his final year as Honolulu's Chinese Sherlock Holmes, flaunts racially integrated American Olympic teams at the Summer Olympics in Berlin, while failing completely to acknowledge the distressing existence of Nazism (not to mention the slight problem of a white man portraying the title character). Meanwhile the musical Wake Up and Live, featuring notorious gossip columnist Walter Winchell as himself, bursts with character actors and radio in-jokes. From touring with Nazimova to translating Strindberg to embodying a beloved aphorism-spouting B-movie detective, from New Deal leftist to McCarthyite paranoiac and finally pariah, from the Klondike to the seminary to Broadway to Hollywood character actor, and from Frank Fay's comic foil to Tallulah Bankhead's "personal assistant" to the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical: no one needs to tell these Fox players to wake up and live!
0h 01m 00s: CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OLYMPICS (dir. H. Bruce Humberstone)
0h 31m 22ss: WAKE UP AND LIVE (dir. Sidney Lanfield)
Studio Film Capsules provided by The Films of Twentieth Century Fox by Tony Thomas & Aubrey Solomon
Additional studio information from: The Hollywood Story by Joel W. Finler
* Marvel at our meticulously ridiculous Complete Viewing Schedule for the 2020s
* Intro Song: “Sunday” by Jean Goldkette Orchestra with the Keller Sisters (courtesy of The Internet Archive)
* Read Elise’s latest film piece on Preston Sturges, Unfaithfully Yours, and the Narrative role of comedic scapegoating.
* Check out Dave’s new Robert Benchley blog – an attempt to annotate and reflect upon as many of the master humorist’s 2000+ pieces as he can locate – Benchley Data: A Wayward Annotation Project!