Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Review: The Eddie Bracken Show (aka The Eddie Bracken Story)

Eddie Bracken
In the history of film-making, one would have to include Preston Sturges in any top 10 list when speaking of film directors.

His films were cutting-edge as far as the comedy.  They often involved taboo subjects but were presented in such a genius and comedic way that they were acceptable.

In the learly 1940's, Sturges' stock company of actors included Eddie Bracken and William Demarest.  These two actors, along with one of the Andy Hardy film series stars (Ann Rutherford  as his girlfriend, Janet), made up the radio program known as The Eddie Bracken Show.

The Cast of TV's My Three Sons w/Demarest
Bracken and Demarest play the same type of characters they played in the Sturges films; Eddie was the goofy, 18-20 year old "kid" and Demarest was the hard, smart-alecky male figure, trying to set him straight (or in some cases, trying to avoid him.)

Demarest is well-known for playing "Uncle Charlie" on television's My Three Sons.  As Uncle Charlie, he was the exact same character that he played in the Sturges films and on The Eddie Bracken Story.  Playing Janet's father, Demarest was just as salty and mean as he was as Uncle Charlie on TV.

Make no mistake, Bracken was the star.  He was a bit of a heart-throb figure during the war as he wasn't drafted and it was during this time that his name became a household word in motion pictures.

The radio show is very much like the Sturges films he did.  Bracken, playing himself, was naive but caring and the women all loved him - rather, they knew how to "use" him to get what they wanted.  He would stick his foot in his mouth or make an honest mistake and his world would get turned upside down and yes, radio hilarity would ensue.

There are only 5 or 6 episodes of the series left in circulation but they are worthy of being listened to.  I recommend it to you if you enjoy comedy.  If you like The Life of Riley, this show is right up your alley.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

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