July 17, 2011

1926–1944

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1926–1944

The Great K&A Train Robbery
The earliest clip in the collection, this silent Tom Mix-starring western introduces one of the major tropes: a joke about a man going to Vassar while it was an all-women’s school. This adds an extra layer by implying that the character in question (the villain of the piece) is somewhat less than masculine.

Thanks to Richard Jameson for the tip.

Washington Merry-Go-Round
A 1932 political drama, a character mentions the Vassar daisy chain in complaining that his wife’s experience of Washington is a superficial one. This is one of the few to actually reference a specific college tradition. (See Dharma & Greg for the best of those.)




Flirtation Walk
A 1934 Dick Powell/Ruby Keeler musical set at West Point, the cadets in this scene are getting ready to plan the 100th Night show, a tradition for cadets in their final year. Just a quick gender-separation joke.




Wise Girl
This scene sets this lively ’30s comedy in motion. Wealthy Miriam Hopkins discovers her niece and nephew have spurned their inheritance and run off to a bohemian lifestyle in Greenwich Village. As she’s promising her father to go and rescue them, he’s concerned she won’t be able to survive the Village. As is typical in these early days, Vassar is a punchline.



A Day at the Races
This is one of the great entries in the collection, and certainly quite well-known. It’s a perfect evocation of one of the major trope of the collection: a joke about men attending Vassar.



Rosalie
The second entry from a musical, and a really fun one, with two whole song-and-dance scenes actually set at Vassar. An elephantine MGM musical, Rosalie (Eleanor Powell) is a princess from a fictional middle-European country in the U.S. to attend Vassar. She falls for Nelson Eddy, who comes to campus to win her love. As there’s a lengthy scene set at Vassar, I’ve included the whole thing, so this is very long—but it’s worth including, especially for the presentation of dorm life.


The Ghost Breakers
The first of two Bob Hope quips (see The Road to Bali). The plot is...well, you can read it here if you're inclined but I think the clip speaks for itself.
video


Too Many Girls
The movie where Desi Arnez and Lucille Ball met (I think), a light musical comedy based on a Rodgers/Hart play. They're not a romantic couple here, but Arnez plays a great college football player who is recruited with his three pals to keep an eye on Lucille Ball while she's away at college. A number of Vassar jokes dot the first 15 minutes of the film.

Thanks to Naomi Heftler '95 for finding this.


Brother Rat and a Baby
The second of the “Brother Rat” films about military academy cadets (now out in the workplace). In this scene, Ronald Reagan and his friends are discussing the weakness of a proposed football team for the academy. Vassar is again a punchline, here around traditional sex roles. A very similar joke can be found in Trouble Along the Way.

Thanks to E. Kanner for the tip.

Shadow of the Thin Man
This is the fourth in the Thin Man series, the detective series featuring Myrna Loy and William Powell as Nick and Nora—and their terrier, Asta. Effervescent dialogue and lots of comedy were highlights of the series, and our scene is no exception. Vassar is the punchline of a gender-oriented joke.

Thanks to Jim German and Fern Sanford for the tip.

Ride ’em Cowboy
This is an Abbot & Costello western comedy. Lou Abbott is here delighted to find a new, feminine side to himself.

Thanks to Anna Miller ’97 for the tip.

Mission to Moscow
Made in 1943 as a pro-Stalinist film to support our ally in the war, this is something of a travelogue and pedantic visit through the wonders of Russian culture as a group of Americans around the U.S. Ambassador interact with Russian society. A ball brings people together and they discuss some of their past. 


Lady in the Dark
This Kurt Weill/Ira Gershwin musical featured a song with a wonderful, dry joke about Vassar in the lyrics. It treats Vassar as a place for sexually active women—unusual to see that this early. The song itself was also used in the Julie Andrews film, Star! and the 1954 TV production of Lady in the Dark.  The scene is a dream sequence where the lead, Ginger Rogers, is beginning to understand the psychological underpinnings to her indecisiveness. It’s a trial scene set in a circus—and yes, it’s how the musical was really written.




Continue to:
Page Two: 1945-1954
Page Three: 1955-1964
Page Four: 1964-1967
Page Five: 1968-1976
Page Six: 1977-1983
Page Seven: 1984-1987
Page Eight: 1988-1990
Page Nine: 1991-1996
Page Ten: 1996-1998
Page Eleven: 1999-2000
Page Twelve: 2001
Page Thirteen: 2002-2003
Page Fourteen: 2004-2005
Page Fifteen: 2006-2008
Page Sixteen: 2009-2010
Page Seventeen: 2011-2013
Page Eighteen: 2014-2016

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1 comment:

EightArts said...

When did the videos become locked ? I keep getting a message saying that each video has been labeled as private by the author.