Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Goodness! A Ghost

Harry Langdon didn't spend the 1940s exclusively at Columbia. Aside from headlining in the occasional feature at PRC and Monogram, Harry also wrote and starred in this lone, utterly bizarre, short for RKO. Goodness! A Ghost, released March 8th, 1940, is quite unlike his cookie-cutter Columbias in that a) it has a sizable effects budget and b) it's more or less incoherent. Especially at the beginning, Harry's personality is as winning here as ever, perhaps more so than in the shorts he was appearing in for Jules White, but his story is a rambling, disjointed mess. It actually contains enough decent ideas for two or even three shorts, but they simply don't come together. Is Goodness! A Ghost about a bumbling stagehand who's waiting for his big break as an actor? Or is it about a man whose life is being comically manipulated by the ghost of his grandfather? Or is it all about miniature crime-fighting ghosts flying around in model airplanes? I refuse to accept that it's all three.

Part 1

Part 2

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Anonymous east side said...

That wasn't bad. I didn't laugh much, but I found its incoherence pretty engaging, especially the airplane gags. Too bad Langdon didn't get more chances to write his material. He reminded me of George Gobel in the theatre scenes.

7:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Aaron, I didn't find this short incoherent at all. It all makes sense. Maybe you were under some evil artificial influence when viewing it (although I've actually watched this WITH you once.). Langdon is very lovable and extremely funny in this short. His mumblings are the stuff of greatness, and the supporting cast is aces (James C. Morton, Tiny Sandford, etc.). Thanks for posting this!
Nick Santa Maria

9:56 AM  
Blogger Aaron Neathery said...

Aaron Neathery said...

The funniest moment is Harry leaping out onto the stage about ten steps ahead of his brain: "Anyone call for a... a cop.. officer cop..?". I remember us both cracking up at that. He gets such little credit as a speaking performer, but this and a few of his Columbias drive home how good he really was at it (and where the hell are his Roach shorts? I've heard good and bad things). As I said, Harry is wonderful here, but the short itself just strikes me as too disjointed for a good vehicle for Harry. It would have made a good vehicle for Olsen and Johnson, though!

2:07 PM  

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