Movie Critique – Bowery Boys Movies - Trouble Makers (#12) & Jalopy (Bowery Boys #29)

Stars: 5 / 5

Recommendation: Filled with humor and mystery, turn on to a Bowery Boys movie and I guarantee you that you will get into a better mood immediately.

In a recent book that read, The Island of Love Sequined Nun, the protagonist thought that one of the characters, Vincent, sounded like someone from Bowery Boys movies. At that time I didn’t have any inclination to watch those movies. However, a happenstance on TCM a couple of their movies. Here are my thoughts on them.

The Bowery Boys are fictional characters from New York, portrayed by various actors from a New York company.  A total of forty eight films were released in the series starting with Live Wires in 1946 ending with In The Money in 1958. The Bowery Boys were spin-offs from the The East Side Kids movie series by Monogram Pictures that aired from 1940 thru 1945. Until Jalopy, all the Bowery Boys movies were released under Monogram Pictures. 

First one is the twelfth movie in the series, Trouble Makers, released in 1948 by Monogram Pictures. In this film, the Bowery Boys Terrance Aloysius 'Slip' Mahoney and Horace Debussy 'Sach' Jones run a star-gazing operation when they happen to witness a murder in a high rise hotel. Despite the fumbles, the set on to investigate the murder and land into pits and troubles, causing fun to the audience but sometimes the pain to their co-stars.

The second one is, Jalopy is a 1953 comedy film, the twenty ninth in the series; although this is the first release for Allied Artists, new name for Monogram Pictures, in the series. The wacky Bowery Boys invent a fuel that would help them win a car race. Sure, it would mean cheating! But the Boys weren't going back. However, just before the race the bad guys try to steal their new formula. Now they have to put all their brains together to outsmart the bad guys, keep the formula safe and win the race. 

Slip has a way of using words, sometimes large and meaningless, and sometimes totally out of context, that the whole dialogue makes it all the more funnier. For instance, periscope instead if telescope; un-identify instead of identify; destruction instead of construction; officially detest instead of officially determine; optics instead of eyes; clam before the storm instead of calm before the storm; and many many such misquotes that end up being perfectly part of the plot. 

As short as the movies are between 60 to 70 minutes, they are usually shot in a matter of few days. For instance, Jalopy was made in 6 days. There is a lot packed in such short reels involving comedy as well as mystery. 

In Jalopy, the entire scene where Sachs tries to retrieve his cap from the tracks while the cars are racing is very comical, he not only retrieves his cap but also causes a hell lot of crashes decommissioning other cars. While in Trouble Makers the highlight scene was when Slip and Sachs are on the ledge of the window and try to move without falling down.

Bowery Boy always somehow land into more trouble than needed while they are investigation a case or they try to outsmart a villain. Most of their movies are humor-laced crime dramas giving the best of both worlds. I found them amusing and an hour of uninterrupted entertainment.

Although there were a dozen of so actors who played The Bowery Boys, most movies revolved around Slip and Sachs portrayed by Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall respectively. The remaining actors became their supporting gaffs and sometimes helping in their failed plots to get a quick buck. 

I haven't watched all the 48 movies yet. However, the two that I watched definitely give the viewers humor, mystery, loyalty and love. Anytime you feel a little down, turn on to a Bowery Boys movie and I guarantee you that you will get into a better mood immediately.

Spoiler Alerts:

1) Plot Reveals:

a. Opening credits of the movie Jalopy, has the song (Hail, Hail,) The Gang's All Here playing in the background. Music composed by Theodore Morse and Arthur Sullivan while Lyrics penned by Theodora Morse and Dolly Morse.

2) Sub-Plots:

a. From Trouble Makers:

i. Lionel Stander portrays the role of "Hatchet" Moran. But I remember his for his famous role as Max, the loyal butler, cook & chauffer to wealthy amateur detectives in Hart to Hart. 

b. From Jalopy:

i. Robert Lowery portrays the role of Skid Wilson, the owner of the competing race car. I remember him from Perry Mason TV Series in The Case of the Provocative Protégé in 1960 and The Case of the Roving River in 1961. 

3) Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character Errors:

a. In Jalopy, the bad guys try to copy the formula by stealing the same components that Sachs is using along his side hidden near the window. First Sachs uses solution from a round bottomed flask. Second one he uses from a triangle shaped one. But the bad guy takes solution twice from the same round bottomed flask, even though the triangle shaped flask is right there


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