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  • Warning: Spoilers
    Children! How we love them. Especially those who make their daddies feel great. But then there are some children who do cause a daddy to feel a trifle picked-upon at times. For example, consider the daddy who takes his little boy to visit a friend while they pass the evening in a quiet game of cards. The little boy understands that he is going to bed and take a nap while the men play their cards. But the mischievous little tyke hugs his daddy while he is being tucked in and in the process manages to deposit his chewing gum in daddy's hair. The host has to get scissors and cut the gum out. The men settle down to play cards, and suddenly they hear the sound of gargling from the bed. Daddy goes to check the tyke. The cute little fella has a milk mustache, and when daddy leans down to tuck him in, the boy sprays the milk in daddy's face, on daddy's coat, and on the brand-new bedspread of the host. Many parents might consider spanking the boy at this point, but oh no, this daddy is afraid he might psychologically harm the child. He is a very modern father. The adults try to play cards again, but the kid takes a walking cane and hooks the pull-string from the wind-up window shade, jerks it, and the shade spins rapidly to the top. Daddy goes to check on the strange noise, sees that the window is wide open, immediately knows that the boy is responsible even though he is lying innocently in the bed with his cover pulled up. So the daddy checks under the covers and finds the walking cane. Then the patient daddy attempts to fix the window shade which develops a mind of its own and refuses to stay down. Frustrated, the daddy yanks on the shade, thus pulling the entire shade down onto the floor, to the chagrin of the host who has been watching all of these shenanigans with an ever-growing look of hatred on his face. You can just tell that he would love to give the little brat a good spanking. The little boy responds by sticking his tongue out at the host. Now the men are back at their card game, trying to get it underway, and this kid starts yelling at his papa, "Daddy!" The dutiful dad goes to see what the kid wants and is told that his Majesty would like a glass of water. Since Dad has just mixed himself a drink, he figures this is a reasonable request and goes to get the child some water. The kid eyes an expensive tropical fish in an aquarium nearby and decides the fish needs to be in daddy's drink. When the father comes back with his child's water, the kid proposes a toast. Bottoms up! The daddy drinks his entire drink in one gulp, feels something weird in his stomach, gulps again, then does a double-take when he realizes the aquarium is empty. The suffering host is outraged by the loss of his valuable fish. The guys try to start their game one more time, but junior has other plans. He sees something on the top of some shelves screwed to the wall and decides to climb up and get it. The guys at the card table are startled to hear a tremendous crash coming from the bedroom, so startled that daddy overturns the card table onto his host. He rushes into the bedroom to find chaos everywhere. The shelves are on the floor, the lamp is smashed, and all of the host's expensive bottles of lotion are broken. All but one. The host picks up this last bottle, looks as if he wants to smash it on the kid, but then decides that the dad is the one who really deserves it, so he smashes it over the father's head. Part two of this short concerns a father who has been away on a long trip and he wants to see his loving son. The loving son is too busy reading the comics in his tree-house to bother greeting his dad. The father calls and hollers for the son, with no results. The dad decides to climb the rope ladder to the tree-house. This particular father, who bears a striking resemblance to the father in part one, is not athletic and he has a series of mishaps during the climb, but he eventually reaches the top of the ladder where he sees that his son has helpfully written some instructions on how to open the door to the tree-house. The gullible father follows the instructions with the result that the door smashes down onto his head and he falls 20 feet down to the earth below. At this point, the loving child sticks his head out the door and says "Did you call me, dad?" That's all, folks.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    . . . DENNIS THE MENACE franchise features the Super Brat destroying "Mr. Wilson's" home. Due to the brevity of I LOVE CHILDREN, BUT . . . this picture is necessarily skirt-less. "Mrs. Wilson" is nowhere to be seen. Dennis' mom also is AWOL, along with his nemesis, "Margaret." (It appears that Old Man Wilson has yet to marry at this point in the narrative, in keeping with his pledge here NOT to tie the knot as long as there's any possibility of adding live-in kids to his mix.) As in most other incarnations of these characters, Dennis' dad serves the dual role of being both a parent, and the little terror's Enabler-in-Chief. This clueless Pop lacks even the brains needed to avoid chugging down a priceless tropical fish with a bedtime glass of water. Some folks find it distressingly harsh to demand ALL Pachyderm Party members self-deport, along with ALL of their descendants. However, I LOVE CHILDREN, BUT . . . documents the necessity to rid America not only of Bad Dads, but certainly of everyone else carrying their defective genes.
  • I Love Children, But! (1952)

    ** 1/2 (out of 4)

    Another funny entry in the O'Brien/Pete Smith "I Love ___, But" series with this one looking at a parents worst nightmare. A father (Dave O'Brien) takes his brat kid to a poker game hoping the child will fall asleep. Of course, since this is a comedy, that doesn't happen and soon the brat is destroying everything in the room. We then get a shorter second story where a father (O'Brien again) arrives home from a long trip only to notice that his son doesn't seem to care. The second story really doesn't work, which is probably why it seems rushed and cut down so there's really no use in paying too much attention to it. The real focus is the first story, which manages to get a few good laughs including an extremely funny one where the bachelor friend of the father is constantly going crazy because daddy doesn't punish the brat. The physical comedy is pretty bland as most of it happens off screen but Smith's narration is as good as always and will at least put a smile on your face. O'Brien is also good in his role with that never ending supply of facial expressions.
  • Other than Laurel and Hardy (who were subtracted to MGM through Hal Roach Studios), it is amazing that the most prestigious film studio in the 1940s (MGM) made such dull short subject films. I've watched a few of the so-called "Pete Smith Specialties" and have never been all that impressed due to the rather smug narration by Smith and the usual second-rate acting (overacting) by the cast. While I LOVE MY CHILDREN, BUT! is far better than the average Pete Smith film, it is sad to say that represents probably the best film you'll find in the series.

    This short illustrates the joys of permissive parenting. Again and again, you see a child who is seemingly demon possessed and his weakling father use "psychology" (?) to get the child to behave. Of course, the permissiveness is stupid and the narrator strongly advocates corporal punishment--or perhaps a good beating!! Oddly, while such permissiveness is dumb, no middle ground is explored--just the narrator imploring the audience to whack the kids soundly to let them know who's boss! While I hate permissive parents and their evil spawn, I can't help but worry about the film's message. You really DO want to see the kid get spanked, but worry that perhaps it was advocating for a whole lot more!! Highly funny and highly disturbing.