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Down Memory Lane

Down Memory Lane(1949)

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After television host and disk jockey Steve Allen is threatened with dismissal by his producer, Mr. Jeffers, he tries to boost his show's popularity by switching the musical format to one in which motion pictures will be shown. In a hurry to impress Jeffers, who has finally lined up the show's first sponsor, Steve cues up one of the short films that he intends to show, only to discover that it is a silent film. Chaos ensues at the studio as Steve works frantically to add his own sound effects to the silent comedy clips being broadcast live on television. While scenes from Mack Sennett's shorts featuring Phyllis Haver, Ben Turpin, Gloria Swanson, Sennett and others, are being telecast, Steve adds his own impromptu soundtrack to the clips by commenting on the action, playing a piano and making various noises. The first part of one silent comedy is accidentally followed by sound footage of Bing Crosby singing. With the help of Franklin Pangborn, a representative from the Sennett Studios, Steve makes a number of unsuccessful attempts to correct the mixed-up reels of film and add sound effects where they are needed. After a succession of film clips, including ones in which Pangborn appears, Donald Novis sings in a boxing ring, and Ben Turpin, James Finlayson, Mabel Normand, the Keystone Cops and Charlie Murray, tied to a boiler that is about to explode, are featured. Steve then pauses to demonstrate his sponsor's product, Glisten shampoo, after which the clips resume with a Bing Crosby short, in which Pangborn also appears. Instead of the announced reel showing what happened to Murray and the boiler, a reel of W. C. Fields playing golf and practicing dentistry then pops up. Mack Sennett arrives to appear on Steve's show, but before he can be introduced, another Crosby short runs, followed by more footage of Murray's dilemma with the ever-expanding boiler. After the program ends, Jeffers is surprised to receive a phone call from the sponsor saying that he liked the show, but wants to know what happened to Murray and the boiler. Just then an explosion in the studio answers the question.