So You Want to Be a Salesman (1947)

Approved   |    |  Comedy, Short

So You Want to Be a Salesman (1947) Poster

Joe McDoakes is new at selling vacuum cleaners and, despite using every technique and approach in the manual, he fails to sell even one, as his wife also refuses to buy one. He is fired and ends up doing singing commercials on the radio.


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6 February 2016 | redryan64
| Selling a Product As Well As One's Abilities
PERHAPS IT WAS the experiences of the Depression followed by the struggles of winning World War II that energized our taste In that which we consider to be funny, but it would appear that we treated to having our hero taking turns with a parade of various jobs. Was this an unconscious and therefore unintentional celebration of better times? COULD THIS BE a reaction to the New Deal years and the reliance on abbreviations such as: NRA, CCC, WPA and, PWA? Or could we be reading too much into this? What do you think, Schultz? BUT WE DIGRESS, let's move on.

IN THIS INSTALLMENT, we zero in on Joe Mc Doakes, already employed as a door-to-door salesman, who is having serious problems living up to expectations of his heavily militarized company. The boss is a real martinet, who doubtless was shaped by his own wartime experiences, which narrator Art Gilmore eve mentions.

WE ARE TREATED to a series of doorway encounters between Joe and various household people (Mostly women, of course) who all seem to have no interest in buying a vacuum cleaner. As we progress from one household to the next, we see his sales handbook with a different rule of thumb highlighted each time.

IN THIS COMEDY, Mr. George O'Hanlon's aptitude for mugging to the camera as he looks to us, the audience members, for sympathy is exploited to the maximum. Added to that element are some great, cartoon-like gags that greatly aid in not only producing the laughs; but also in moving the story along to a successful, pleasing and very funny conclusion.

WE'RE THINKING THAT this sort of free wheeling sales was popular during the late '40s; though we cannot say so from experience. Having been born in 1946, we were around then, but were a trifle truly "wet behind the ears!" Our conclusion about this sort of direct sales activity is fueled by having seen it at the center of so many movies and old TV episodes of the period.

AS EXEMPLIFYING THIS assertion, we cite the Red Skelton starring comedy vehicle, THE FULLER BRUSH MAN (Edward Small Prod./Columbia Pictures, 1948); which of course this short predated by a year.

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