Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tish on TCM

Thanks to a reader for reminding me that on Monday, July 21 at 2:30 pm, TCM will be showing Frank Tashlin's first live-action film as a director, The First Time with Bob Cummings and Barbara Hale. (The male lead in this picture was supposed to be played by Larry Parks.) I've never seen this movie but I have heard good things about it, from people who aren't Tashlin buffs and just enjoy it as a charming romantic comedy about a young, attractive married couple, with maybe a bit of an extra edge to it.

Tashlin's early movies as a director were mostly rom-coms, a genre he didn't really work in very much after Susan Slept Here, but in some ways I wish he had done a little more in that line instead of going all-out for the brash satirical films that became his trademark. Susan Slept Here in particular is an interesting Road Not Taken for Tashlin, because it is the movie that really put him on the map -- by turning a low-budget RKO comedy with one washed-up star (Dick Powell) and one star who hadn't really been able to carry a film yet (Debbie Reynolds) into a big hit, he became one of the most in-demand directors in Hollywood for about two years. (It may have helped that Susan Slept Here was produced by Harriet Parsons, daughter of Louella, whose mother plugged Tashlin in her column a few times; Tashlin paid her back by mentioning her favorably in several movies.)

TCM is also showing The Fuller Brush Man, which Tashlin wrote for Red Skelton, on Friday, and the Tashlin-scripted The Good Humor Man (with Jack Carson) at 6:00 am on Monday. But where's the second film in the "The [name of company with pushy salesmen]" trilogy, The Fuller Brush Girl with Lucille Ball?

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