During the 1934-35 season, Warner found a new way of introducing their movies. They began throwing their shield (as well as a shield for First National Pictures) at the audience out of a bank of clouds. I wonder how many children were “spooked out” by this new intro.
The film industry was also now expected to display a shield which would indicate that this picture was approved by the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA). This seal meant the picture passed muster under the now enforced Code under which the film industry was to operate. Unfortunately, commonly available prints of the titles which follow (which themselves are not very common) are rarely seen with their shields remaining intact.
Buddy the Detective (10/17/34) – Buddy tries to save Cookie from “The Mad Musician”, who absolutely despises jazz music. Soundtrack includes snatches of Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude in C Sharp Minor”. None of the popular tunes of the day are featured, except for a little of “Shake Your Powder Puff”, discussed in a previous article.
Buddy the Woodsman (10/20/34) – A standard collection of lumberjack gags. Songs include “I’ll String Along With You”, a song from Twenty Million Sweethearts (embed below), and an original song sunh by a chorus of lumberjacks, “The Old Northwest”. “I’ll String Along” was recorded by Tom Coakley, an orchestra from the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, on Victor, while Melotone and the dime store labels had a version by Smith Ballew and his Orchestra (primarily a Victor Young studio band).
Buddy’s Circus (11/6/34) – Fairly standard collection of circus gags, including a lion that gets loose and imperils everybody, as well as a gag regarding a “Ubangi” whose lips are so wide that he can house within them a “Ubangiphone” record player. The song heard when the player is playing is “Why Do I Dream Those Dreams?”, discussed before.
Buddy’s Adventures (11/17/34) Buddy and Cookie wind up in “Sour Town”, where dancing and music are forbidden. No particular pop song featured – instead, an original “talk song”, “Life Is Just a Bowl of Lemons”, a parody on “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries” from the broadway show “George White’s Scandals of 1931″. This film could be compared to Van Buren/Ted Eshbaugh’s cult classic, “The Sunshine Makers”.
Viva Buddy (12/12/34) – Buddy in old Mexico, getting involved with a bandito leader inspired by a recent MGM release, “Viva Villa”. Song featured is “Monterey”, whose sources and composers are as yet unknown to this author.
Buddy the Dentist (12/15/34) – Also no particular pop song featured. Buddy’s dog Towser has a toothache, with Buddy trying to make an extraction.
Buddy’s Pony Express (3/19/35) – Featured song is an original, “Oklahoma Cowboy Joe”. Standard Western with Buddy vying for a contract for a pony express run.
Buddy’s Theatre (4/1/35) – Buddy operates a motion picture theatre – does not repeat any gags from “Bosko’s Picture Show”. Songs include the old sailor song,”Nancy Lee”, “Mr, and Mrs. Is the Name” from “Flirtation Walk”, and what may be an original, “How High Can a Little Bird Fly?”. “Mr and Mrs.” was recorded by Dick Powell for Brunswick with a studio band, probably under Russ Morgan’s direction. Victor Young recorded it for the new Decca label.
Buddy of the Legion (4/6/35) – Buddy finds himself a job in a book store, and winds up daydreaming while reading a book on the French Foreign Legion. He attempts in his dream to rescue a regiment from a squad of amazon women – but awakes to get canned from his job. Songs include “Congratulate Me”, recorded for Decca by Johnny Davis (later known as Johnny “Scat” Davis) and his orchestra, and which later became quite popular with Texas “Western Swing” bands, recorded by W. Lee O’Daniel and his Hillbilly Boys on Vocalion. There is also what may be an original song, “Out in Old Arabia”.
Buddy’s Lost World (5/15/35) – Buddy takes an expedition to an island populated by dinosaurs. Songs include “Lullaby of Broadway” from “Golddiggers of 1935″. This song was recorded by Hal Kemp for Brunswick, and by Richard Himber for Victor. Decca gave it as a vocal record to Wini Shaw, who introduced it in the film. Columbia royal blue gave it to Johnny Green and his Orchestra.
Buddy’s Bug Hunt (6/22/35) features what appears to be an original number, “We’ve Gort You Where We Want You”. Buddy is trying to collect insects, and is shrunk and put on trial by the bugs he’s collected, who give him “the works”, including a spanking machine.
Buddy In Africa (7/6/35) gives a great concentration to a song called “Love in My Heart”, of which I know of no commercial recordings. One of the “notorious” Buddy episodes for heavy use of stereotyped Africans.
Buddy Steps Out (7/20/35) – Buddy and Cookie go off on a date, while their pictures are getting together at Buddy’‘s apartment. Songs include “About a Quarter to Nine”, introduced by Al Jolson in Go Into Your Dance, as well as the evergreen, “Avalon”. “Quarter to Nine” was recorded by Litlle Jack Little on royal blue Columbia, Jack Shilkret on Bluebird with an anonymous vocal by Dick Robertson, and Chick Bullock on Melotone and the dime store labels.
Buddy the Gee Man (8/24/35) – Buddy goes to prison to investigate charges that the warden is treating his prisoners badly. Buddy finds out the truth, and becomes warden himself as his reward, leading the cons to want to break into prison to receive the special treatment Buddy is offering. Songs include “Lulu’s Back in Town” (introduced by Dick Powell in Broadway Gondolier and recorded by him on Brunswick, and also recorded by Fats Waller on Victor), and “She’s a Latin From Manhattan” another hit from Al Jolson in Go Into Your Dance. “Latin” appeared as the flip side of the Litlle Jack Little Columbia of “About a Quarter to Nine” mentioned above. Chick Bullock also got the number on Melotone and the dime store labels.
Merry Christmas Everybody! Next Time: The Merrie Melodies from 1934-35.