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It's a Joke, Son (1947)



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The Fred Allen Show was one of the most popular comedy programs in the golden age of radio. One of the popular supporting characters on the show was Senator Beauregard Claghorn, a South Carolinian politician whose love for the South extended all the way to Virginia Creepers and Dixie cups. His catchphrases were "That's a joke, son!" and "Pay attention now, boy." If all this seems oddly familiar to you, it's because the Foghorn Leghorn cartoon character was very thinly based on Senator Claghorn.

The Claghorn character made the leap to film once, in 1947, with It's a Joke, Son, a great showcase for his deep Southern bluster. Right in the film's opening scenes, we get a hilarious earful of it: a stream-of-consciousness sequence of everything that's wrong with the world and how to fix it, such as renaming North Carolina something more palatable, like Upper South Carolina.

While the film itself is no great work of art, it is a great showcase of a great character. Fans of Looney Tunes or of classic radio should probably see this at some point. Conveniently, the film is in the public domain and is freely available at various places online, including YouTube.