December 22, 2015

A Christmas Wish/The Great Rupert

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Merry Christmas (or whichever holiday suits your needs)! Once again, it's that time, kids!

We'll gather at the Roadhouse with our Next of Kin...
It's time for the last of the pre-Christmas Holiday Moviepalooza shows! And boy howdy, did the guys pick a interesting one.

This week's episode is a Jimmy Durante flick from 1950, originally called The Great Rupert. Some time later, it was retitled and packaged as A Christmas Wish. Either way, it's the story of the Amendola family, who are Vaudeville circus performers, specializing in "The Human Pyramid". That is, at least, until their daughter, Rosalinda (played by Terry Moore), grew up and Mom (Queenie Smith) wasn't able to let Rosalinda sit on her head anymore...Or something like that.

Say, little lady...You can sit on my head anytime!
When they arrive in town, they run into an old friend, Joe (Jimmy Conlin), who trained a squirrel named Rupert to dance around in a kilt. When, surprisingly, an agent refused to represent the act, Joe releases Rupert into the park to live the rest of his life in squirrel-like bliss.

Oh, I'll dance, all right...I'll dance on your grave, old man!
The Amendolas rent Joe's old apartment (for a whopping $32 a month!) from the Dingle family, which includes Frank (Frank Orth), Katie (Sara Haden), and their proto-beatnik son, Pete (Tom Drake), who refuses to get a job, preferring to stay home and rock out on his sousaphone.

Pete's father is all about money, and when a letter arrives telling him that a gold mine he invested in years before was finally paying out, he starts receiving checks for $1500 every week. Choosing not to trust banks, he makes a hole in the bedroom wall and stuffs it all in there, where Rupert happens to be staying.

I'm rich, bitch!
Rupert, fearing papercuts on his nuts, decides to throw the money out the entrance of his new place, where it lands in the hands of Mrs. Amendola, who just happened to be praying for help because they were broke. What are the odds?!

Pete and Rosalinda hit it off and want to do all sorts of naughty things, including the perform the piece of music Pete wrote for the two of them, but there are other guys who want a crack at her, too, including Joe's old agent. Rosalinda uses this situation as an opportunity to get Pete's music heard my people who might give him gobs of money for it, because if you can't get rich playing music written for tuba and harp, then why even try.

The Amendolas and the Dingles get together and have a little party, since Frank now believes that he is rich, and the Amendolas know that they are rich, and everybody's all happy and crap, at least until Mr. Amendola sits down and starts singing and telling horrible jokes.

You can't read my poker faaaaace...
Pete decides he needs a job to be able to marry Rosalinda, so he takes a job at a soda fountain, where he gets a hot tip from a customer about an oil well. When Pete's dad won't loan him the $2000 to invest, Mr. Amendola gives it to him, as he has been doing with several businesses around town with the "prayer money" his wife has been collecting from "God" (aka  squirrel) every Thursday for a month.

When word about Amendola's money gets around, people start asking questions, and those questions get to the ears of the local police, the IRS, and the FBI, who all appear to question the family about this sudden influx of money they have. When they attempt to demonstrate their magical hotline to God's checking account, nothing happens, and everyone wants to arrest Jimmy Durante. (A perfectly reasonable reaction, really.)

You'll never take me alive, coppers! Ah-cha-cha-cha!
Will they be arrested? Will Rupert ever give up his felonious ways? Will Pete ever ditch the black turtleneck and get hitched? Will Rosalinda ever give up the goods to Pete or the agent guy? Tune in to find out...

Derek has no shame in admitting how much he enjoys this film. it's goofy and corny, but he likes it. So shut up about it, will ya?

Larry is passionate about the polar bearskin rug (with built-in radio!) that Amendola buys. It's really neat!

Jake has a very upsetting theory about how Rupert was animated. It's icky. Really.

There's also lots of news in The Lobby, new movies Coming Soon, a new Hollywood Purgatory, Larry's List, a surprisingly serious edition of Inside My Head, and throughout, the gang has a lot of mean things to say about Pete, but never explains why.

So put on your ugliest tie and jacket, and tune in! And have a super-awesome holiday!