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Saturday Morning Finds

Gotta love TCM on Saturday morning — except for their annual 31 Days of Oscar festival, they happily give Saturday mornings over to "B" pictures, just as one might have seen at a Saturday matinee back in the day. The films are usually not good, but they're often quite entertaining, though probably not in the way the filmmakers intended. You see some famous names at the start of their careers, working their way up through the studio system, along with character actors you've caught in a hundred other pictures.

Right now, they're running Secret Service of the Air, a 1939 Warner Bros. film that runs a brisk 60 minutes — and stars Ronald Reagan as "Lieutenant Brass Bancroft", a transport pilot who's recruited by the Secret Service to infiltrate a ring that's smuggling illegal aliens across the Mexican border. There are jail breaks, car chases, bar fights, flying derring-do and fisticuffs. And if there is anyone less suited to pretending to be a crooked pilot, it's Ronald Reagan. When he's informed that the man he fought in the bar "died" (it was pre-arranged and the man, a friend of Brass, is in hiding), he says, and I quote, "Gosh. That's a tough break."

In filming locations of interest, the Glendale Airport and Grand Central Terminal make several appearances as "The Valley Airport." It's a far less memorable role for the venerable old place than Casablanca, but a reminder how many places I pass on a regular basis are part of movie history. When I worked downtown, my commute took me past the Grand Central Terminal twice a day. The single runway is now Grand Central Avenue, the land is owned by Disney, housing several divisions, and the terminal itself was badly damaged in the Northridge Earthquake and is still consider

There were four of these made, each clearly the bottom half of a double bill. The first premiered in March 1939, the last in 1940. The cheese is strong, enough so that I might try catching the others if the cats wake me up early enough.

I've embedded the trailer because it's a good laugh. The embed's from TCM as the trailer's not up on YouTube, so there's a brief ad.

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jan. 5th, 2013 06:00 pm (UTC)
I looked over TCM's schedule for today and had a laugh. Tonight "To Have and Have Not" is followed by a suspense film called "The Whistler". Funny TCM programmer. I shall have to check out these early morning films some time.
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