Friday, February 01, 2019

Mascot(s) of the Month: Heros of the B Movies

Every now and then, my mind wanders. As I was moving my dvd collection to online I realized I had a lost of B Movie Detective-ish serials. I think they were the 'procedurals' of the era. I mean now a days on TV we have military procedural shows like Strike Back / Jack Ryan. We have medical procedurals like House/ The Resident / The Good Doctor.

In the 1940s there were also a ton of 'procedural' type movie series. These were usually B Movies, the second billed movie with shorter running time, lower costs and recurring characters. (As opposed to headline movies like The Thin Man). Some were lousy, but most were pretty fun, often with a decent amount of humor. 
 This month I will look at a few of these and give some background. The stories are interesting.

Up first, Chester Morris as Boston Blackie. In the movies, Boston Blackie is a jewel thief that solves crimes for the police. They assume he is guilty and then he solves the crime for them.

Chester Morris was a famous actor in the 1930s, and was nominated as Best Actor at the 2nd Oscars. But, by 1940 he was in decline. The Boston Blackie series of movies from 1941 - 1949 revived his career. During this 8 year stretch - he played the character on film 14 times!  His sidekick and police supporting characters stayed (mainly) the same through the films. The women secretaries / love interests changed regularly.
They were all black and white, but quite often done with up and coming directors and cinematographers that would go on to big budget shows.

You can see from the various posters, these movies were kind of detective / comedy movies. Chester played the role on radio as well.  

I find these simple little movies with tiny budgets, small sets and big acting great fun. And the Boston Blackie is one of the most consistently entertaining.

Next Week we will update with Glenda Ferrell as Torchy Blaine!