So You Want to Know Your Relatives (1954)

  |  Comedy, Short

So You Want to Know Your Relatives (1954) Poster

Do-gooder Joe McDoakes is the guest on the "Know Your Relatives" TV show where, to his chagrin, many of his black sheep relations reveal the skeletons in the family closet.


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26 February 2016 | redryan64
| Busy Bodies, Skeletons in the Closet and Falls from Favor
FIRST OF ALL, we must confess! Although we are currently in the middle of our self initiated and strictly voluntary project to review every edition to this MC DOAKES Series, we hadn't screened this one. We weren't even vaguely familiar with it; as we were with SO YOU WANT TO BUY A MODEL RAILROAD, for example. So many of us have seen it through our model railroading hobby.

BUT NOW, AFTER having seen it, we're inclined to believe it is the funniest MC DOAKES installment of all. Well, time will tell and we'd be glad to report our findings to you, our loyal readership, at a later date.

AS FOR THIS short, it seems to be constructed around two seemingly opposite premises.

FIRST, THE PRODUCTION team absolutely nailed it when they did a sort of profile that comically described a certain personality type. Some may call it the outgoing and helpful social type. They compulsively volunteer for every possible task and job that one of their clubs, societies, chamber of commerce, scout troop, neighborhood association or youth sports group has. They thrive on this selfless dedication to a fault.

THE SECOND PRIMARY aspect of the movie involves the irrefutable assertion that everyone has a past, a skeleton in the closet or some embarrassing "baggage" from their earlier life. This need not be a major incident, but when juxtaposed with what appears to be a sort of secular canonization, it's bound to cast a giant shadow.

WITH ALL OF this generalization, we must concentrate on the particulars of the short.

AS WHAT COULD be the third main element of the story, we offer as our nomination the great parody that the writing/direction/production team concocted about the medium of Television. Although the particular target is the Ralph Edwards' production of THIS IS YOUR LIFE, the comic barbs presented are general enough to dissect the entire industry.

AS FAR AS the cast is concerned, they do their collective job as they always do. Regulars Jane Frazee (Alice Mc Doakes), Emory Parnell (Mr. Battan the boss), Fred Kelsey and Jack Mower are joined by several others. Among those, we have William Fawcett (1st series appearance), Herb Vigran and Frank Nelson (both of whom had done MC DOAKES previously).

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