21 January 2020 | MartinHafer
"When I'm hungry, I can't think of much else"
In the previous film in the series, "Joe Palooka Meets Humphrey", the series clearly had jumped the shark with the addition of the new character, Humphrey. Humphrey was essentially a cartoon character come to life....a giant of a man who constantly eats, is really annoying and is completely ill-suited to the boxing series. Here in "Joe Palooka in Humphrey Takes a Chance", the series decided to bring back Humphrey yet again...ample proof that the series had jumped the shark and would not be returning to its former glory...at least for a while.
What does 'jump the shark' mean? Well, it refers to when a movie or TV series has peaked and in a desperate attempt to revive the moribund series, they introduce some insane characters or situations that just seem ill-conceived and bizarre. A few examples would include bringing Cousin Oliver to "The Brady Bunch" and having the Fonz jump a tank of sharks on his motorcycle on "Happy Days"...and which initially spurred folks to coin the term 'jump the shark'.
When the movie begins, some mobsters are trying to horn in on Joe and Knobby...demanding 30% of the gate in order to allow him the privilege of boxing! Naturally, Knobby refuses and so the mobsters decide to try to create their own champion, as they only want to do business with other crooks.
When Joe, Anne and Knobby are driving to see their friend, Humphrey, they are arrested by a crooked cop. It turns out that the town where Humphrey lives is run by crooks....and a family of crooks at that. Well, the mobsters want to arrange a fight in this tiny town between Humphrey and Joe (even though clearly Humphrey is at least 100 pounds heavier and as big as an ox)...and somehow in all this, Humphrey ends up running for mayor in order to drive the crooks out of town.
There are a couple interesting aspects to this otherwise bad film. Monogram brought back many of the old Keystone Kops (famous in shorts during the 1910s with Keystone Studios). Additionally, unlike most previous films (which began with Knobby narrating some flashback), Joe himself introduces the story. But apart from this, the film is just bad, as silly situations and characters seem far more important than being true to the story. No better than the previous installment...and hopefully the series got back on track in subsequent films.