Guilty Pleasures: Bill Crider

I’ve written twice on my blog about one of my favorite Guilty Pleasures, and I’m happy to be able to write about it again here. It’s a movie called The Good Humor Man, and it stars Jack Carson and Lola Albright. I saw it first when I was eight or nine years old, which was the perfect age for it..

Jack Carson sells ice cream, and he’s the only alleged adult who’s a member of a secret kids’ club devoted to Captain Marvel. He’s a lot like a kid himself, and that’s a problem. He’s happy selling ice cream, but he needs more money if he’s going to marry Albright, who’s the sole support of her kid brother. Albright works for George Reeves (Superman!), an insurance investigator.

Carson gets hooked up with a young woman named Bonnie, who’s in trouble with some gangsters. He tries to help her, but she’s murdered. Hilarity ensues.

Hilarity? That’s right. The screenplay was written by Frank Tashlin, animator, comic book writer, and film director, whose work is notable for its goofy, cartoonish sensibility, and it’s certainly evident in The Good Humor Man: slapstick, chase scenes, and fights that would be right at home in a Warner Brothers cartoon. A pie fight! A buzz saw in a swimming pool! A jackass! Need I say more?

The mystery element isn’t much, and you’ll figure out the villain immediately, but who cares? This movie was made for 8-year-olds and those of us who’ve never gotten too far beyond that age mentally. Jack Carson’s great as the big guy who’s never quite grown up, and Lola Albright is a really good sport to go through everything she does. The movie’s climactic scene, when the club rallies to Carson’s aid, was so thrilling to the kids in the theater all those years ago that the stomping, cheering, and clapping nearly drowned out the rallying cry of the secret password. I still get a chill just thinking about it.

They really don’t make ‘em like this anymore, mainly because nobody would go to see it. Probably anybody under fifty would think it was terrible. But I’m an old guy, and I have my VHS tape, and I can watch it anytime I want to. So get off my lawn! And niatpac levram!

Bill Crider is the talented, and slightly cracked, author of a over 50 books ranging from mystery to western to horror. He is best known for the award-winning Sheriff Dan Rhodes series. He is a life-long resident of Texas and lives with his wife and cats. You can learn more from his website or have a hell of a lot of fun with his blog, which should be in the favorites of every single one of you!