5 October 2008 | Calaboss
Humor Of The Day, Long Ago
While these types of comedy shorts were popular in their day (1920's - 1940's), I find many of them lacking when viewed in a modern context. I do better with the Three Stooges than Laurel and Hardy and some of the others, as the Stooges seem to have less of a racist component to their shorts. Africa Speaks - English, has ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his dummy, Charlie McCarthy landing in Africa and dealing with cannibals when their plane runs out of gas.
There are some racist elements here too, but not nearly as bad as some I've seen. Charlie wondering if Edgar could get Amos and Andy on the radio is one such reference, as the A&A radio program may have been the most racist in American history.
That aside, I suppose it's the continuity problems that bug me the most about these shorts. Whether it is the low budget, lack of stock footage in the early days of movies, or that they just figured the audiences of the day somehow wouldn't notice, they put very little effort into trying to get things right. In this case, Edgar and Charlie are flying along in an all white bi-plane with a radial engine. They do a quick jump cut and the next thing you know, their plane is now plopped down in the middle of the jungle with trees all around and no way it could have landed. The plane is completely undamaged and is now a single wing aircraft with a dark nose, thick stripes down the side, and no radial engine. That's just too big a leap for me to accept.
If you can get past all that, some of the dialog is fairly clever, and it's over before you get a chance to be very annoyed anyway.