CineSavant Column

Tuesday June 7, 2022


An interesting disc arrived from Shout! Factory to review. That quality disc boutique hasn’t provided us with review product for quite a while, just odd marginal titles of the kind we don’t normally cover. We do our utmost not to take this personally. Now out of the blue comes this very good disc, which is also far outside CineSavant’s normal purview. Interesting subject matter . . . is someone at Shout! Factory trying to tell me something?

No paranoia here — the disc was surely sent in good faith. And here’s a mini-review, just to be cooperative. I’ve yet to see a Sesame Street disc that wasn’t quality goods, such as this item from 2019 that has signifcant nostalgia appeal.

On June 7 arrives the fabulous kiddie disc Elmo Potty Time Plus!, a two-hour musical primer in which the beloved red muppet Elmo preps little kids on the Wide & Wonderful World of personal hygiene, and what those porcelain artworks in the bathroom are all about. It has subtitles in both Spanish and English, so if your toddler doesn’t like to listen to your instructions, maybe he’ll be happy reading them in a foreign language.

Actually, parents of babies and tiny tots have extra issues to worry about this year — masks — vaccines — baby formula. I will watch the whole thing, just to make sure I’ve nothing new to learn. Does the show need a scene in which Elmo hoards toilet paper?



This was a curious sight.

Correspondent and CineSavant contributor “B” was searching through old issues of Variety. Like most magazines Variety carried occasional movie star endorsement ads, for everything from cigarettes to motor oil. Mad Magazine had a field day pointing out the absurdity of this mercantile persuasion strategy, with spoof ads lampooning the patronizing assumptions Madison Avenue made about American consumers.

This endorsement ad is a real head-scratcher. (It’s fully readable if you zoom in or open it in a new window.) Dolled up and dressed as if they were Tyrone Power and Gene Tierney, actors John Dall and Peggy Cummins look like a million bucks posing for Lux Soap. The surprise is that the ad is a movie tie-in with the very non-glamorous rural bandit noir Gun Crazy. Admiring ‘lovely’ Peggy Cummins, we wonder how the photo would look if she were brandishing Annie Laurie Starr’s murderous six-gun.

In 1950, were Dall and Cummins front-page Hollywood personalities?  They were not exactly career skyrockets (Ms. Cummins was cheated, of course). They’re leading players and she’s certainly ‘Lux-worthy’ beautiful, so I guess it’s no shock that they might be solicited for endorsements. Perhaps they had a clever agent who neglected to tell the Lux people that Gun Crazy is a perverse crime picture about mad dog killers begging to be shot down like Bonnie & Clyde. When John and Peggy are cornered in a swamp and covered with sweat and mud, the cops don’t offer them a chance to wash up.

We doubt that the copywriter really asked Peggy for her thoughts about Lux. Just the same, the ad includes a quote from the actress:

“It’s wonderful the way Lux Soap facials leave skin softer, smoother. I work the rich fragrant lather well in, rinse, and then pat gently with a soft towel to dry.”

It sounds like Ms. Cummins could have been a shoo-in to narrate the queasier sections of Elmo Potty Time Plus.

We’re thinking that the Ad agency could have studied “Gun Crazy” and come up with a much better quote. They could even re-dub some of the film’s dialogue, for TV spots:

Annie Laurie Starr:   “Bart, I’ve been kicked around all my life, and from now on, I’m gonna start kicking back — with Lux Soap!”  “I want a lot of things – big things! soapy things!”

“You’ll never make big money. You’re a two-bit guy. Lux Soap is on sale today at four bits, in the generous new bath size cake.”

Bart Tare:   “We go together, Annie. I don’t know why. Maybe like guns and ammunition and Lux Soap go together.”

Annie Laurie Starr:   “Come on, Bart, let’s finish it the way we started it: on the level. I’ll start the bath, you get the Lux Soap.”

The Lux tie-in might explain why the bandit-lovers in Gun Crazy keep falling down and dropping things when escaping: they must be slipping on bars of soap.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson