Saturday, May 30, 2015

Where in the world are the Bowery Boys?

As we get even closer to Talk Like Slip Mahoney Day on June 2, the tension mounts... the streets of New York are a-sizzle with excitement!

The Wikipedia entry on the Bowery Boys (of which Slip Mahoney was the one true king) noted that the BBs' many film plots followed those of Abbott and Costello---when Bud and Lou did a Western, the Boys did a Western; when A&C did a haunted house, the Boys did a haunted house, and so on. I enjoyed Abbott and Costello films, but hey---they made only 36 movies; the Bowery Boys made 48. How many easy comedy ideas were floating around in that era? B movies were not nor expected to be dynamos of originality.

Anyway, the Bowery Boys got around a lot in those pictures, although they always played the same characters---unlike Abbott and Costello, who played different characters (who were exactly like Bud and Lou). Sometimes it required taking storytelling liberties. For example, in Bowery Buckaroos, the characters were transported to the Old West by virtue of the story being a dream of Sach's. In a later film (Hold that Hypnotist), a hypnotist uses past-life regression hypnosis to send the Boys on an adventure in piracy. (Note that Slip was out of the series by then, so there's no crossover between Talk Like Slip Mahoney Day and International Talk Like a Pirate Day.)

Most of the Bowery Boys films were typical New York-based crime stories (although fantasy elements were featured in several of them), but the Bowery Boys often hit the road, especially in later films. If this should come up in conversation on the big day, you might mention that Slip and the gang had many adventures outside the confines of the city:

Let's Go Navy! -- the Boys enlist in the Navy to find thieves that rob a charity and spend a year at sea
Loose in London -- the Boys go to London when Sach gets an inheritance
Paris Playboys -- the Boys go to Paris to find a missing professor
Jungle Gents -- the Boys go to Africa to find diamonds
Bowery to Bagdad  -- a genie transports Slip and Sach to Baghdad
Dig That Uranium -- the Boys go to the western U.S. to find uranium
Crashing Las Vegas -- the Boys win a trip to Vegas

They go to the mountains in Spook Chasers, but by then Slip was gone, so for our purposes we're leaving it off the list. Talk to us if there's ever a Talk Like Duke Covelske Day.

The Boys wound up enlisting in the Navy, Marines, Army, and the Air Force in their adventures, which would make them unique in the armed forces history of the U.S. The Coast Guard is probably pretty sore about being left out again.

So as you can see, Slip Mahoney was not only a tough New York street kid, but he was also something of a world traveler. He could mangle words from several languages, too, which might make him describe himself as something of a polygoat.

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