What the hell are Bette Davis, Dick Powell, Warren William, Joan Blondell, Ruth Donnely and Preston Foster doing in an informercial for General Electric products shot in 1933? The answer is: I haven’t the foggiest idea. I never heard of this little weirdie until stumbling upon it this afternoon, deep in the murky waters of Youtube. The short film was produced by Vitaphone, thus the presence of the popular Warner players as well as the use of a few songs from the then-recent hit ‘Forty-Second Street’. Davis incongruously plays the housewife who demonstrates how her workload is severely lessened by the handsome and clever new G.E. products they’ve installed in their home in Maine. (Maine? Why?) Dig that top-loading dishwasher…that stove with a neat little timer-clock…that sexy vacuum coffee pot. At one point Donnely–playing the role of the wife who knows nothing about these new gadgets and thus needs them explained to her–refers to Davis as ‘you frail little thing’, certainly the only time in screen history that La Davis was thus degraded. A Youtube commenter suggests that the film was shown in Hardware stores, which seems unlikely to me given the cumbersome nature of the projection equipment of the day. Perhaps at Hardware store conventions? All’s well that ends well as the General Electric gadgets for some reason become responsible for Powell being promoted at work. Dick and Bette even have a baby girl who, if she still lives, would now be pushing 90. Jesus!


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