Saturday, March 22, 2014
Why Pie Cry
remember when I told you that he had a job attacking people at an amusement park with a cattle prod? Okay, well, one guy got kind of mad about it. So Red Skelton's boss comes out and says to Red Skelton, "Hey, we run a family place here!" He's mad at Red Skelton! Even though HE'S the one who hired Red Skelton to attack the customers with a cattle prod. It's a strange business, being a threatening clown. So Red Skelton gets fired. For doing his job too well, I guess. Next he gets a job being a "receiver." That sounds bad! He says, "Don't let my kid see this." So he sits there while a guy gives him an exploding cigar and smashes butter on him and hits him in the face with a couple of pies. And his kid sees it! And silently weeps! Ha ha ha! Doesn't this kid - whose name is Dink (!) - know what a clown does for a living? He's been living with a clown his whole life. The weirdest part of that scene is that Red Skelton gives no reaction whatsoever as the guy assaults him with pies and so on. I mean, he doesn't move a muscle. Put some effort into it, clown! Half the fun of the old pie in the face is the hilarious reaction of the "receiver." I mean, even if you're going to be deadpan about it, you have to be deadpan in a funny way. Like, I don't know, stoically and with economical motions wipe the pie out of your eyes, one at a time. Oh well. And the kid is just crying while his dad gets hit in the face with pies. I forgot to mention he's not just a sad clown he's a drunk clown and a clown with a gambling problem. Charles Bronson (!!) wins all of Red Skelton's money in an all-night dice game and Red Skelton picks his sleeping kid's pocket for a gold watch that means the world to him. I also forgot to say he sent his kid to sleep in the backseat of a random stranger's car! (Remember, now, at the end of the movie, Jane Greer says, "You did a great job raising him, Dodo.") I'll tell you who I liked: Little Julie, a shady operator who does his business out of a diner booth. "Step into my office," he says with self-loathing and also regular loathing. He organizes what Megan Abbott would probably - probably? does! I've heard her! - call "smokers" - smokers with racy entertainment! This guy has a touch of authentic sleaze. The actor's name is Lou Lubin. Let's hear it for Lou Lubin (pictured)! He gets Red Skelton a shameful gig where he has to tell the 1953 version of dirty jokes while ladies take off their clothes. At the end Red Skelton dies from clowning too much. For real! And I skipped over some surprisingly brutal moments like when Red Skelton smashes a pane of glass with his fist and then starts hitting the wall and screaming. That is one sad clown. Okay, bye!