Comin’ Round the Mountain

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Comin’ Round the Mountain : Theatrical agent Al Stewart has successfully booked his client, Dorothy McCoy, “The Manhattan Hillbilly”, at a New York nightclub. He has also booked an inept escape artist, The Great Wilbert, at the same location. During his performance, Wilbert cannot escape from his shackles and screams for help. Dorothy recognizes Wilbert’s shrill scream as the “McCoy clan yell”. More evidence of Wilbert’s heritage, namely a photograph and concertina, are found in his dressing room, and prove that he is the long-lost grandson of “Squeeze Box” McCoy, leader of the McCoy clan. Granny McCoy has been looking for Wilbert, as she will reveal where Squeeze Box hid his gold to “kinfolk” only. Al, Dorothy and Wilbert head to Kentucky, and Granny recounts the story of the McCoy-Winfield feud that began over 60 years ago. The McCoys choose Wilbert to represent them against Devil Dan Winfield in a turkey shoot. Wilbert has never even seen a gun before, and his carelessness leads to a revival of the feud.

Bud&Lou Go a Feudin’

Comin’ Round the Mountain : The feud is on between the Wingfields and the McCoys when Bud Abbott discovers his clients, hopeless magician Lou Costello and the Park Avenue hillbilly Dorothy Shay are both McCoys and Costello’s inherited concertina holds the secret to a treasure of hidden gold. So off they go to the Appalachins where Costello’s arrival sets off the feud that had pretty much died down.

Bud and Lou get themselves a good supporting cast with a group of players used to rustic roles. I’m wondering how the folks at Universal missed getting Judy Canova and Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride in this film. Lou’s best scene involves him haggling with a hag played by Margaret Hamilton in her wicked witch makeup over some love potion with each making a voodoo doll of the other to poke holes in.

Dorothy Shay was just about at the end of her peak of popularity which started post World War II. She was a singer with a warm contralto who decided to play up her southern roots. Dorothy made a whole lot of hillbilly ditties popular back in those days and her big hit song, Feudin’ a Fussin’ and a Fightin’ was still selling good in 1951 when Comin’ Round the Mountain came out. I have it and also a vinyl record of a Bing Crosby radio show where she sang that song as a trio number with herself, Bing, and Groucho Marx. She did what very few did in Abbott and Costello pictures, hold her own with the boys and not get lost in the supporting cast.

It’s not the best of their films, but still enjoyable and just wait till you see the treasure that they do find.

 

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