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The Bowery Boys: Volume Two

Rod Lott April 30th, 2013

In the span of a decade, post-World War II, the comedy team known as The Bowery Boys (née The East Side Kids, née The Dead End Kids) made 48 movies. Up until now, I’d seen exactly zero of them.


For this four-disc follow-up to 2012’s set, Warner Archive again mined its vaults for 12 of the Boys’ Poverty Row features. The best way to describe their style is that it comes from the “why I oughta!” school of comedy.

I’m unsure if it ever graduated, given exchanges like “How can you read in the dark?” “I went to night school!”

Not boys at all, the grown men of the gang — led by Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall as Slip and Sach, respectively — get into all sorts of bumbling trouble, not unlike the Three Stooges or other acts of the black-and-white era predicated on buffoonery and slapstick. Each flick barely cracks the hour mark, which is roughly the ideal time for their pencil-thin plots.

Of the dozen, I most enjoyed the haunted-house high jinks of Spook Busters, Ghost Chasers and The Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters. Two of those three also involve a gorilla, but only the latter throws in a werewolf butler and a robot that looks constructed by fourth-graders.

Maybe sixth-graders. —Rod Lott

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