1. To Hell with Hitler (Film Alliance of the United States, 1940)

    AKA Let George Do It; Starring George Formby – One of the best and most successful of the George Formby vehicles. The toothy, guitar-strumming Formby plays a dimwitted entertainer who is mistaken for a notorious Nazi spy. The misunderstanding is played to the hilt, culminating with our hero battling the forces of the Axis on the fields of Norway. (allmovie)

    George Formby and Hal Gordon in Let George Do It

    George Formby and Hal Gordon in Let George Do It

    VIDEO: George Formby; Count Your Blessings and Smile from Let George Do It

     
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  5. Tars and Spars (Columbia, 1946)

    The watery world of the Coast Guard provides the setting for this musical that is loosely based on the famed Guard show Tars and Spars and makes fun of war movies. The story centers on the exploits of a heroic sailor who has never been to sea. Look for former Coast Guard sailor Sid Caesar in his feature film debut. (allmovie)

    Isaac Sidney Caesar (born September 8, 1922) known as Sid Caesar—is an Emmy Award-winning American comic actor, and the youngest of three sons born to Jewish immigrants living in Yonkers, New York.  Max and Ida Caesar ran a restaurant, a 24-hour luncheonette. By waiting on tables, their son learned to mimic the patois, rhythm and accents of the diverse clientele, a technique he termed “double-talk,” which he would famously use throughout his career.

    Sid CaesarAfter graduating from Yonkers High School, Caesar left home, intent on a musical career. Caesar played in the dance band and learned to perform comedy, doing three shows a week at the Vacationland Hotel on Swan Lake in the Catskills. In 1939, he enlisted in the United States Coast Guard and was stationed in Brooklyn, New York, where he played in military revues and shows.

    Still in the service, Caesar was ordered to Palm Beach, Florida, where Vernon Duke and Howard Dietz were putting together a service revue called Tars and Spars. There he met the civilian director of the show, Max Liebman, who later produced his first television series. When Caesar’s comedy got bigger applause than the musical numbers, Liebman asked him to do stand-up bits between the songs. Tars and Spars toured nationally, and became Caesar’s first major gig as a comedian.

    After the war, Caesar moved to Hollywood and a film version of Tars and Spars was made by Columbia Pictures, with Caesar reprising his role. (wikipedia)

    Tars and Spars (full movie) on YouTube

     
  6. So This is Paris (Universal, 1955) Belgian release poster

    Tony Curtis, Gene Nelson and Paul Gilbert play three American sailors on leave in the City of Light. In record time, the trio makes the acquaintance of three lovely lasses: Gloria de Haven, Corinne Calvert and Mara Corday. Before the boys’ 24 hours are up, they are inveigled into staging a benefit show for a group of tousle-haired war orphans. +

    Romantic complications and resolutions follow in true musical comedy fashion. +

     
  7. Skirts Ahoy! (MGM, 1952)

    Esther Williams joins the WAVES after leaving her fiancé at the altar. Much of the humor is of the gender-switch variety, with the lady sailors ogling and whistling at every eligible male who crosses their path at the Great Lakes U.S. Naval Training Center. Inevitably, Williams sheds her navy duds in favor of a swimsuit. +

    The aqua routines are not really a part of the overall plot, and neither is a scene at the local dinner club featuring Billy Eckstine.

    In a show on the base, we find Keenan Wynn, Debbie Reynolds, Bobby Van and a full selection of orchestra, drill teams, and choral groups. +

     
  8. Crewmen of the USS Monitor pose on the deck of their ironclad ship in July 1862.

    In 1862, the USS Monitor — a Civil War-era ironclad warship — fought one of the world’s first iron-armored battles against the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia. Less than a year later, a violent storm sank the Union ship off the coast of Cape Hatteras, N.C. The wreck was discovered more than a century later, and subsequent searches have turned up more than just a crumbling ship — they also found the skeletons of two of the Monitor’s sailors in the ship’s gun turret.  (more)

     
  9. Son of a Sailor (Warner Brothers – First National, 1933)

    Joe E. Brown is a sailor who hopes to match the accomplishments of his seaman father. Unfortunately, Joe is perhaps the clumsiest gob ever to sail the seven seas. Nor can he steer clear of trouble: Through a series of wholly unbelievable circumstances, Joe finds himself alone on deck of a ship that’s about to be shelled for target practice.

    He manages to redeem himself for this and all past misdeeds when he inadvertently breaks up an espionage ring. +

    Joe E. Brown in Son of a Sailor

    Joe E. Brown (1891 – 1973) Was one of the most popular American comedians in the 1930s and 1940s. In 1939, Brown testified before the House Immigration Committee in support of a bill that would allow 20,000 German Jewish refugee children into the US, two of whom he himself adopted.

    Likable and gregarious, Brown traveled thousands of miles at his own expense to entertain American troops during World War II. He was the first to do so, traveling to both the Caribbean and Alaska before Bob Hope or the USO were organized.

    On his return to the States he brought sacks of letters, making sure they were delivered by the Post Office. He gave shows in all weather conditions, many in hospitals, sometimes doing his entire show for a single dying soldier, and signing autographs for everyone. Brown was one of only two civilians to be awarded the Bronze Star in WWII.

    Later in his career, Brown starred in 1958′s Some Like It Hot as Osgood Fielding III, in which he speaks the famous punchline “Well, nobody’s perfect”.  (more)

     
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  15. monstography:

    The first known mermaid stories appeared in Assyria, ca. 1000 BC. The goddess Atargatis, mother of Assyrian queen Semiramis, loved a mortal shepherd and unintentionally killed him.

    Ashamed, she jumped into a lake to take the form of a fish, but the waters would not conceal her divine beauty.

    Thereafter, she took the form of a mermaid—human above the waist, fish below—though the earliest representations of Atargatis showed her as a fish with a human head and arm, similar to the Babylonian god Ea. The Greeks recognized Atargatis under the name Derketo.

    Prior to 546 BC, the Milesian philosopher Anaximander proposed that mankind had sprung from an aquatic species of animal. He thought that humans, with their extended infancy, could not have survived otherwise.

    (via mudwerks)