New Year's Memory 1969/70

Updated: 12/30/09

Comments I posted on Cinema Treasures:

My first visit to the Ansley Mall MiniCinema [in Atlanta] was during Christmas week, 1969. Universal [had] reissued their four W.C. Fields titles (1939-1941) to capitalize on his [resurgence].

100 Things About Me #165
I saw a double feature of "You Can't Cheat an Honest Man" and "My Little Chickadee" from new 35mm prints. Those began my lifelong obsession with Fields, so it's no wonder I returned on opening night for the next program of "The Bank Dick" and "Never Give a Sucker an Even Break."
It was New Year's Eve. Every seat was filled. There were two film breaks during the opening titles of "The Bank Dick." I was in a panic I would not get to see the movie.

I had even arrived at the theatre before the management's last minute appearance on the premises. I remember I was worried the shows had been cancelled. The movies did run and the crowd was very enthusiastic. What a great week in my life.

As luck would have it, YouTube is streaming a chunk of "The Bank Dick" (1940), which I have embedded here.

"The Bank Dick" is the grand prize of the Universal Fields with scores of delectable moments. Many I memorized after multiple viewings and would recite for my classmates.

After watching funny movies all these years, I long ago realized W.C. Fields is the finest screen comedian of them all. He had the rare combination of talents to excel in both physical and verbal comedy. (Most successful comics do one or the other.) Add the impeccable instincts of a flowery wordsmith, mischievous creator, and astounding juggler to that unique, curmudgeonly, rascal persona and Fields exhibited a subtle-to-surreal mastery of silliness with unparalleled precision.

More: "W.C. Fields: An Appreciation" @ About.com
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