“Speak Easily” - Pre-Code Show Business Comedy
released on August 13, 1932
running time 1 hour and 21 minutes
The Actors: Buster Keaton (Professor Timoleon Zanders Post), Jimmy Durante (James 'Jimmy' Dodge), Ruth Selwyn (Pansy Peets), Thelma Todd (Eleanor Espere), Hedda Hopper (Mrs. Peets), William Pawley (Griffo), Sidney Toler (Mr. Rayburn the stage director), Lawrence Grant (Dr. Bolton), Henry Armetta (Tony), and Edward Brophy (Reno), Oscar Apfel (lawyer's representative), Reginald Barlow (Billington), Jack Baxley (Tom the Sheriff's Deputy), Sidney Bracey (Jenkins), Jim Farley (the station agent), DeWitt Jennings (Sheriff of Lincoln County), Fred Kelsey (the process server), Dave O'Brien (chorus boy), Inez Palange (Rosa, Tony's wife), Harry Tenbrook (train baggage man)
The Timid Professor and the Sexy Dancing Girls
Legendary silent movie and later talking film comedian Buster Keaton produced and stars in this pre-code adult slapstick comedy about a Broadway ‘Angel’ funding a show to help the career of a beautiful young lady he has fallen for. Keaton is a befuddled and bespeckled college professor who has led a very quiet and scholarly life. Keaton, as Professor Timothy Z. Post, wonders about life outside the quiet college campus, and a fellow professor thinks that Professor Post should go out into the world and experience life on the wild side.
To encourage the backward professor to leave the safety of college life for a while, the helpful professor writes a letter indicating that the befuddled professor has inherited $750,000. Believing that he is now wealthy enough to never work again, the naive professor heads out in search of adventure. He soon gets tangled up with a cast of small-town performers trying to make it big, and a blonde dancing girl named Pansy Peets catches his eye.
There are many ‘adult-for-1932' scenes that are quite tame today. Thelma Todd shows more flashes of her body in comic scenes than would be permitted when the censors started their rein a couple of years later, and she and Buster Keaton spend an innocent night together in her bedroom barely dressed, and this would never be shown so clearly after the censors began directing scenes.
There is also a reference to 1932 stripper burlesque star Sally Rand that you might not recognize today. Thelma Todd does a dance in the show where she dances around the stage holding and bouncing a big balloon-like ball. Sally Rand was a strip-tease burlesque dancer who created the fan dance, where she danced peek-a-boo style on stage behind a giant fan, and as this movie was being created, her newest sensation was to dance apparently nude behind a huge almost-see-through bubble that might burst at any moment, known only as the “Bubble Dance.”
Sally Rand was arrested several times during her performances, but that only served to make her more popular. You can watch Sally Rand and see a short sequence of Sally Rand doing her famous bubble dance in the 1938 motion picture Sunset Murder Case —» . . . . But before you watch Sally Rand in a murder story as a stripper-detective, pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy this show.
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The story of White Kernel Popcorn —»
Return tomorrow to watch a Small Town Feel-Good Medical Adventure . . .
If you forgot to visit yesterday you missed a Small Town Newspaper Crime Adventure “Johnny Come Lately” —»
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