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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Here Comes Ben Blue!


Barnyard Humor in Here Comes Flossie (1933)

Had Larry Semon lived, would he have become Ben Blue? Something about the latter's farm duds reminded me of Larry, whose work was Chaplinesque beside much of Ben's. How bad is Blue? That gets into personal taste, naturally, but many accuse him of wrecking Hal Roach's Taxi Boys fleet, those done around a same time as this so-called Big V (as in Vitaphone) comedy. Hayseed Ben is dumber here than a wheelbarrow of rocks. I expected (no, hoped for) one of the cows to speak up and put him wise. It's for Shemp Howard to locate islands of humor. The Brooklyn-built rural set looks like one for Roscoe Arbuckle's Buzzin' Around, also a Big V, which at least got outdoors for part of action, unlike Here Comes Flossie!, a locked-in test of viewer patience. A best means of watching Ben Blue is to ponder, What Was He Thinking?, this after surrender to laughless two-reels (again, a matter of preference --- am I too severe?). Here Comes Flossie! is part of Warner Archive's jewel box of a comedy volume that also includes Arbuckle's Vitaphone shorts, a must-have for clown gatherers filling in gaps.

6 Comments:

Blogger Mike Cline said...

Sorry, but Ben is one I can't handle. Right up there with Rosie O'Donnell for me.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Scott MacGillivray said...

Ted Okuda and I were discussing something and, for the purposes of the topic, I said, "think of the world's unfunniest comedian." Then we paused, and then shouted -- simultaneously -- "BEN BLUE!" Absolutely true story. The laugh we shared was louder than any laugh Ben Blue actually gave us.

1:54 PM  
Blogger KING OF JAZZ said...

Blue is lucky to be in MAD MAD WORLD, which more or less immortalizes him. I can't say he was funny in that either.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Dave K said...

Also had a small but crucial bit in THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING! THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING! Not exactly hilarious, but okay in that 'funny guy' cameo. Off hand, I'd say something like doing his 'Shandu the Magician' schtick on the early 60's Jack Benny Show seems just about the best Blue ever managed on film. At least he had kind of a funny stride, while wearing long robes, in that routine.

9:24 PM  
Blogger William Ferry said...

Oh boy, did THIS touch a familiar chord! I'll laugh at pretty much anything, but I never "got" Ben Blue. I think the first time I saw him was in THE BIG BROADCAST OF 1938; the word "annoying" came to my mind long before "funny" did (if it ever did, that is).

7:08 PM  
Blogger tbonemankini said...

Think he did an unfunny routine in GUIDE FOR THE MARRIED MAN....just falling down over and over?...

3:48 AM  

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