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Monday, January 15, 2018

A Short and Sweet Surprise


Two-Fisted Carnival Boat (1932) Is Good Early RKO

A talker that I suspect was like many silents, being he-man stuff of wood-chopping, runaway trains, and dynamite to the dam. Latter is jammed by logs and Bill Boyd must blow 'em sky high to salvage north wood he commands. Carnival Boat only part-time serves its title, more of length spent among tall trees and challenge to fell them. This was a TCM find, way better than bulk of RKO-Pathe before shed of half that label and its absurdly crowing rooster atop a logo globe. Pathe survived as busy lot for rent to Selznick and others who had no studio of their own, then a site for much television. Wm. K. Everson wrote that Carnival Boat used stock footage from voiceless 20's to flesh out action, a lot of which is whole-hog excitement like serial chapters glued together to fill an hour. William Boyd is familiar "Bill" in credits, presumed pal to boys who liked him since actioning he did for DeMille and pre-talkie others. Boyd shows humor, virility, easy charm, that would later make him mentor to callow cowboys and youth watching, as definitive a stand-in for dad or big brother as any kid could want. It took westerns and continuing Hopalong Cassidy to confer immortality on Boyd. Economical as it was (negative cost:$217K), Carnival Boat still lost money during Depression-doped 1932 when dimes was hardest won. It's well worth TCM sit or place aboard the DVR.

9 Comments:

Blogger Jerry Kovar said...

Off-topic but I did see GOLDFINGER at the Demille during Christmas break in 1964. We waited on line in the freezing cold for over 2 hours after just missing getting into an earlier screening. Still worth it for a 14 year old.

6:21 AM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

We didn't get GOLDFINGER until March 1965, but it was worth the wait. I had spent the past couple months admiring ads in the Charlotte and Winston-Salem newspapers, so was more than eager to see the 007 sensation when finally it landed at the Liberty.

6:51 AM  
Blogger MikeD said...

I'm surprised they put Honor Blackman's character's name up on that huge billboard! Don't you think there were a few complaints about that?
I remember enjoying Carnival Boat when I saw it on TCM a while ago. Was that the one with the runaway train? I've enjoyed a few of his pre-Hoppy films that TCM has run. To me, those seemed like he was honing his Hoppy character without knowing it.

8:22 AM  
Blogger Reg Hartt said...

"Carnival Boat still lost money during Depression-doped 1932 when dimes was hardest won."

Ten cents a seat means that with 500 seats the most a theater could make was $50.00. With a thousand seats, $100.00. With 5,000 seats, $500.00.

So much effort for so little.

We used to see Saturday matinees as kids in New Brunswick for a dime. When the theater raised the price by a nickel the mothers rioted. He had only 300 seats. A dime was not much back then but it was more than it is now.

Hard to make money when admissions were so low. Not only that but also the product itself became devalued, cheap.

Years ago I rented a space above a porn theater. The porn theater offered for movies for a dollar. I offered one movie for $10. People lined up for the porn theater saw a bigger line up for my program. They asked, "How much?" I replied, "10." This was in the 1980s. "How many movies do you get for that/" they asked. I replied, "One." They said, "Must be a good movie." They stepped over and came to see my program. Instead of learning a lesson the man running the porn cinema (who owned the theater) gave me the boot.

We're getting the same thing with bargain priced DVDS and Blu-rays. Thing that on first release cost a lot can now be picked up for next to nothing. Nothing worse than devaluing your product. Of course, I'm taking advantage of those low prices.

8:33 AM  
Blogger kenneth Von Gunden said...

I agrees with MikeD. And wasn't "Pussy Galore" supposed to remain a secret so as to titillate the audience when she revealed her name to Bond? I have a tiny b/w photo of me in my all-black "Hoppy" outfit when I was a kid. The Wolf, man.

9:45 AM  
Blogger Kevin K. said...

I saved at least one RKO-Pathe movie I recorded off TNT decades ago for that logo alone. I prefer to call it "the Pathe chicken" because it sounds even more ridiculous.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Ed Watz said...

CARNIVAL BOAT is also worthwhile for the excellent comedy relief of Edgar Kennedy and Harry Sweet. As a director Sweet launched Edgar's "Average Man" series at RKO the previous year. They worked especially well together on that series, making it more regrettable that CARNIVAL BOAT is their only onscreen collaboration.

5:17 PM  
Blogger Duane Fulk said...

Always thought that lame title mislead those who like this unique, outdoor action picture. Have this little gem on DVD.

6:50 AM  
Blogger Lionel Braithwaite said...

@Kevin K., the RKO-Pathe logo/ident is available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L26AK-y3WJU

12:08 PM  

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