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Soft Drinks and Sweet Music 1934
Description: In this "Broadway Brevity," a soda jerk/songwriter dreams (literally) of performing his songs on Broadway.
Released: 08 Dec 1934 Director: Roy Mack Writers: Eddie Moran Actors: Georgie Price, Sylvia Froos, Billie Leonard, George Watts Genres: Musical, Short
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Soft Drinks and Sweet Music Reviews:

Here's an enjoyable Vitaphone short that packages few musical numbers, a wisp of a plot, and a modest supply of laughs into a tight twenty minute running time. The leading boy is a comedian called Georgie Price, who was prominent in Vaudeville and musical comedy in the 'teens and '20s. Unlike some of his contemporaries such as George Burns, Jack Benny and Bob Hope, Price did not transfer his scene appeal to comparable fame in films or broadcasting, so he became a footnote in theater history while those another gents are still remembered. Price was a petite, energetic comic who comes off like a combination of George Jessel and Eddie Cantor, both of whom were his co-horts from childhood days in the popular scene kiddie act of Gus Edwards. Seeing as how our leading boy grew up in present business it's appropriate that this car for his talents is built around that ever famous theme: the young performer who makes his Broadway debut as an unknown but comes back—yes, a star!Soft Drinks and Sweet Melody opens at a Manhattan drug shop where Georgie is a lowly soda jerk, but we quickly learn that he's also a gifted songwriter who yearns to receive his tunes heard on Broadway. Perhaps the greatest thing about this short, as with so many another Vitaphone mini-musicals, is that things happen fast! This one kicks off with a cheery number featuring the drug store's waitresses (back when they served meals in drug stores), and before you know it, Georgie is flirting with a pretty young lady called Sally who was formerly a singer in Vaudeville "when there WAS Vaudeville," as they ruefully note. Later Georgie is fired for flirting with a customer, but she takes him back to her zone for an impromptu performance of his recent song. Sally's roommate is a dancer who is appearing in a present that needs a fresh number, so she whisks him to the theater to enjoy his tune for the director. And gee, before you can change the stage with one of those nifty optical effects, the present is underway and Georgie is wowing the house.The highlight of the present is a parody of old-time melodramas, something of a familiar goal in the films around this time. Georgie plays the dastardly villain with a black top hat and a large mustache, having the time of his life as he hams it up mercilessly. Fanatics of W.C. Fields will certainly receive a sense of déjà vu when the villain exclaims that "it ain't a fit night out for boy nor beast," and then gets hit in the face with a handful of fake snow. (Oh well, Fields probably borrowed the bit from some old melodrama, himself.) This all culminates in a salute to that 19th century scene perennial Uncle Tom's Cabin, finished with an array of dancers all attired as characters from the story. Viewers familiar with the musicals of Busby Berkeley won't be fazed by the sight of a scene filled with multiple versions of Tom, Topsy, Tiny Eva, and Simon Legree, all singing and dancing in unison: just other bizarre tableau brought to you by the people at Vitaphone. Georgie follows it with a stand-up routine in which he tosses off some perfect impressions of Jolson, Cantor, Harry Richman, and Ed Wynn.It's not too surprising when Georgie's whirlwind Broadway success turns out to have been a dream, and we search that he's still Georgie the lowly soda jerk. There's an inside joke at the end however, albeit an accidental one. In the final moments before our character wakes up, he's being courted by few prosperous producers who wish to sign him to lucrative contracts. In reality, Price left present business not long after this movie was made and became a stockbroker. He traded Broadway for Wall Street, and wound up as wealthy as his hero in Soft Drinks and Sweet Melody should ever dream of being. (In soon years he did perform again on occasion, on scene and TV.) Perhaps Georgie Price the forgotten comedian had the last laugh after all.


Georgie Price (George Harris) is a daydreaming soda jerk at a busy confectionery store with dreams of the large time. He gets his possibility when a flirtatious gal and her mate whisk him off to the theater to audition his writing skill for a Broadway director. On an unimaginable quick track that's only possible in twenty minute movie shorts like this, George wows the crowd with his songs and impersonation of people like Ed Wynn, Harry Richmond, Al Jolson and Eddie Cantor. Most of those names won't mean anything to viewers today, and quite honestly, actor Harris's delivery was a bit hokey for my taste. That goes double for the Simon Legree/Uncle Tom's Cabin inspired number with both boys and girls performing in black face. But in the end it all turns out to be a dream with Georgie waking up back in the soda shop, none the worse for wear but with a setback to his song writing aspirations.


As I sat and watched this Vitaphone short, the only thing that kept going through my mind was "What the $%&& were they thinking when they wrote this?!?!!!"...and I can only assume you'll feel cute much the same. Overall, the plot is bizarre to the mission of absurdity as well as in very terrible taste. I still can't trust I saw what I just saw!!The movie started off well. In a restaurant, all the waitresses started dancing about and guys in suits suddenly appeared as their dance partners--sort of like a terrible man's Busby Berkeley production. It made no sense but it was fun. However, later after this the movie gets much, much stranger...so strange you wonder if ANYONE got paid to write this! I sure hope not!!After the soda jerk in the restaurant is inexplicably fired, the movie changed completely. Suddenly, the soda jerk is producing an insane Broadway production. Much of it is a musical ver of Uncle Tom's Cabin...and in very terrible taste. Tom, Topsy and the rest of the blacks are all white people in black-face and they sing and dance as if slavery was one of the most entertaining institutions of all time!! This is the opposite meaning of the original (and enjoyable) storyline by Harriet Beacher Stowe! You also see Simon Legree and the rest all cavorting about--singing and dancing! It's not only bizarre but god- awful...and nonsensical.Soon, you see the soda jerk in the wings and the enjoy changed radically--and it becomes a tons present in the 1930s. The soda jerk then comes out and does some impersonations that sucked. In fact, the entire thing rather sucked and made no sense...especially when people stood in line to throw cash at George to purchase the hit production(??). At the end, you search out, sort of, why it was a disjoint mess...it was all a dream! I disagree...it was more of a nightmare!



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