17 May 2006 | bkoganbing
Cantor Strikes Again
Strike Me Pink has Eddie Cantor playing his usual schnook against the world character with the background of an amusement park.
Eddie runs a store near a college and he's constantly being bullied and would have been intimidated out of business but for perennial student Gordon Jones. Jones keeps the bullies at bay while Eddie learns some assertiveness training. When he graduates finally due to some help from Eddie the plan is for the two of them to go and run the amusement park his mom owns.
She's being bullied herself by some gangsters headed by Brian Donlevy who want to put slot machines in the park. Eddie's assertiveness training pays off albeit in some unusual ways.
Strike Me Pink is vintage Eddie Cantor when he was probably at the height of his popularity. He would be departing from Sam Goldwyn after this film and never was really showcased properly for film after his Goldwyn days were over. View some of Cantor's Goldwyn films next to what Danny Kaye later did and you can see the influence Cantor had on Kaye's style.
Ethel Merman plays the vamp for the second and last time with Eddie Cantor. She also was never better on screen than when paired with Cantor by Goldwyn. She was cast ironically by Cantor's daughter Marilyn who was a fan of her's after seeing her on Broadway and lobbied with Goldwyn. Marilyn was an adolescent at the time, but Goldwyn agreed with her and Merman was in Kid Millions and then Strike Me Pink. They have a really nice duet together in Calabash Pipe.
Cantor brought over some of his radio family for this film in the persons of Harry Einstein as the befuddled Greek, Parkyakarkus and Sidney Fields. Yes, that is the same harried landlord of Abbott and Costello in the Fifties. Fields was an old vaudeville pal of Cantor's who brought him out of that dying institution and put him on radio in front of the mike and also as a writer. With Gordon Jones who was Mike the Cop on Abbott and Costello that makes two A&C regulars in this film.
The chase scene through the amusement is the climax and according to a recent biography of Cantor, two stuntmen doubles suffered broken legs during the filming of that dangerous sequence. All to obtain a phonograph record where the bad guys have confessed their evil deeds.
If you want to see one of America's funniest men at the height of his popularity by all means catch Strike Me Pink when it is broadcast next.