THE GOOD HUMOR MAN
(director: Lloyd Bacon ; screenwriter: Frank Tashlin/Roy Huggins from “The Saturday Evening Post” story “Appointment With Fear”; cinematographer: Lester White; editor: Jerome Thom; music: Heinz Roemheld; cast: Frank Ferguson (Insp. Quint), Jack Carson (Biff Jones), Lola Albright (Margie Bellew), Peter Miles (Johnny Bellew), Jean Wallace (Bonnie Conroy), George Reeves (Stuart Nagle), David Sharpe (Slick), Chick Collins (Fats), Eddie Parker (John); Runtime: 80; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: S. Sylvan Simon; Columbia; 1950)
“Silly slapstick comedy that can’t melt in your mouth without leaving an unsavory taste.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Lloyd Bacon (“Here Comes The Navy”/”The Fighting Sullivans”) directs this silly slapstick comedy that can’t melt in your mouth without leaving an unsavory taste. Writer Frank Tashlin bases it on the Roy Huggins story “Appointment With Fear” appearing in “The Saturday Evening Post.” Jack Carson is someone I can’t take in large doses, as the more hammy he gets the more tiresome he becomes. The film was shot in black and white. Biff Jones (Jack Carson) is the friendly bumbling Good Humor ice cream salesman dating Margie Bellew (Lola Albright). Margie supports her younger brother Johnny (Peter Miles), and says she won’t marry him until Johnny grows up. She works for the slimy insurance detective Stuart Nagle (George Reeves, TV’s Superman), who unsuccessfully flirts with her. On the elevator of her office building the jealous Biff creams Nagle in his puss with an ice cream pop and as a result gets barred from again selling ice cream in the insurance building. On his route Biff is sideswiped by two cars, and saves a mysterious damsel in distress, Bonnie Conroy (Jean Wallace), who says the three thugs in the other car want to kill her. The ice cream vendor gets beaten by the thugs and stuffed in the freezer of his truck while the woman escapes unharmed. Inspector Quint (Frank Ferguson) happens by and frees him from the freezer, but doesn’t believe his incredulous story. Threatened with being dismissed from the job he loves because of those two incidents, Biff intends to work all night to sell out all the ice cream in his truck thereby hoping to save his job. This leads to him being lured into the dark house of the mystery woman and after tricked into staying overnight to guard her, he finds in the morning the woman gone and his ice cream truck is identified as the one used in the murder/robbery of an industrial plant of $300 thousand. To his rescue come the members of the Captain Marvel club, where Johnny is leader and Biff is the only adult member. The heavy-handed slapstick routines call for such things as Biff getting repeatedly clubbed over the head, his hair set on fire by a match discarded after lighting a cigar and soot pouring down from the chimney to cover his face. It’s comedy at its lowest. What prevails is my nostalgia as a kid for the Good Humor man to come by and for me to have one of their delicious banana pops.
REVIEWED ON 9/24/2016 GRADE: C+