Monday, November 18, 2013

A Package of Candy For You, Miss

I just saw a short on TCM called "Harry Reser and His Eskimos," forgive me for using that outdated and offensive word, but that was the title. So there were these guys dressed up like "eskimos," playing a bland little piece of music. Some of them looked happy to be all dressed up in their fur coats and hoods and some looked uncomfortable and even hostile. Like, there were two violinists sitting side by side, on blocks of ice, I suppose, and one was grinning in a goodnatured way - leering in ecstasy, really - while his companion was clearly thinking, "My parents died from working four jobs to send me to the Oberlin Conservatory!" One handsome man stood up and blew his trumpet and he was like, "I don't care what I am wearing, I look super handsome," you could read his thoughts, and they were accurate. So they're kind of going along, doodle deedle deedle, and the iceman comes out with a big block of ice in his tongs, which must have been a terrific gag at the time, and he tries to sell some ice to a woman in an igloo, but she is like, "No ice today." So the iceman moves along. Like a situation in Beckett! You can imagine this poor iceman going through his eternally fruitless motions. Because there is so much ice where he is! He IS modern man, bereft of purpose. So the band keeps tootling along in a boring fashion and another guy saunters up to the igloo and says "A package of candy for you, miss." And the woman in the igloo is delighted! It is a big box labeled very clearly "GUM DROPS." So the lady in the igloo eats some gumdrops while the band honks and squeaks along. And suddenly there are some guys playing poker at a table near the igloo...? And they start throwing their own supply of gumdrops (!?) at the igloo with apparently malicious intent, though the gumdrops end up forming a valentine heart. The woman comes out of the igloo and looks at the gumdrops and puts her hands on her hips like "Oh, you!" Then she throws some ice cubes at these card-playing degenerates in fur coats, and mind you that the band, in front of which all this is happening, is just tootling along all tra la la. In the illustration accompanying this "post," you may see the young hooligans recoiling from the well-deserved onslaught. So suddenly everybody starts singing a song about how they'd like "a cool mint julep on a summery day," which seems counterintuitive, or maybe "ironic." Then these three frightening monstrous icicles appear, looking like THIS IS SPINAL TAP props, and ballerinas come out of them and start dancing on their toes - ballerina style! - but tap-dancing sounds issue incongruously from their toes. Then a champagne cork pops and a huge bottle that looks more like a beer bottle descends from above and there is a guy straddling it, just wailing like crazy on his banjo. Like, finally some action. This guy is a maniac. "Straddling" is the wrong word but it added some piquancy, did it not? So we suddenly pull out to reveal that we are NOT in the land of ice and snow! We're in a nightclub! And all the nightclub patrons start throwing ice cubes. The band stands up and yells in unison "HOLD THAT TIGER!" though I could swear that's not the song they're playing. Then we pull back through the front doors of the club to reveal, unless I am nuts, that the nightclub itself IS in the land of ice and snow after all, blowing my mind. I think I've covered everything. Dr. Theresa walked in and had to laugh at the look on my face, a look of... undue concern?