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Oct 28, 2018

*** Fair Warning - the first 29 minutes of this episode are devoted to a rather lengthy discussion re: whether Toronto really is the worst city in the world, or just another typically terrible blight on the late capitalist landscape. Feel free to skip ahead - although, if you do, you'll miss out on the ballad of whining Beaches resident Viola Bracegirdle.***

Conventional wisdom may hold that Reagan's political career began with his sociopathic campaign encomium to Presidential-Not-Too-Hopeful Barry Goldwater in 1964, but true Gipperistas know that the Great Communicator's first speech of note came 12 years earlier, in the closing moments of She's Working Her Way Through College. On that august occasion, RR (playing deep-thinking Lit Professor John Palmer) raised his voice in favour of accessible higher education for all and against society's prurient micromanagement of women's bodies. If only Prof. Palmer had run for office in 1980.


Directed by Bruce "Lucky" Humberstone and co-starring (well, actually, starring) Virginia Mayo, She's Working Her Way Through College is one of the strangest remakes in history - transplanting 1942's prescient College Red Scare comedy The Male Animal into the barren political ground of the McCarthy Era. Naturally, all mentions of anarchist martyrs Sacco and Vanzetti have been excised from the script - instead, we get the initially-promising tale of a burlesque dancer who dreams of trading in her gams for iambs under Reagan's tutelage (until the college's scuzzy dean, an erstwhile admirer of Mayo's stage act, tries to throw her off the campus before he gets mid-century me-too'd). Our panel members agree that Mayo's pretty great in the role, but her story gets lost somewhere along the way, among too many of the wrong scenes imported wholesale from the original (presumably in an effort to demonstrate, once and for all, that Ronald Reagan, much as we love him, is no Hank Fonda). In keeping with the lobotomized spirit of 1950s political thinking, any systemic problems raised in the original film (starting with Nuremberg style campus football rallies) are reduced to accidents of history that can be resolved by firing (or, in this case, merely humbling) one villainous Administrator.

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"Driving Reagan theme' by Gareth Hedges