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Kentucky Kernels

Kentucky Kernels (1934) starring Bert Wheeler, Robert Woolsey, Mary Carlisle, Spanky McFarland

Synopsis

In Kentucky Kernels, Wheeler and Woolsey are watching Spanky McFarland for a friend. But Spanky has an absolute mania for breaking glass, leading to lots of comedy. He seemingly inherits a Kentucky mansion, and they all get mixed up in a southern feud!

Review of Kentucky Kernels

I’m not a big fan of Wheeler & Woolsey, but I have to say that I enjoyed Kentucky Kernels. It’s a fast-paced comedy, and very enjoyable. Spanky plays a young brat precocious youngster with a weakness. A weakness for breaking glass at every opportunity! This leads to several classic clown moments, such as when Woolsey pulls a cane out of Spanky’s hand, to prevent him from breaking a display case. And accidentally breaks it himself!

Kentucky Kernels (1934) starring Bert Wheeler, Robert Woolsey, Mary Carlisle, Spanky McFarland

Soon, they think that Spanky’s inherited a southern mansion, so they head south. And soon Wheeler’s fallen in love with he lovely Gloria. And they’re all involved in a long-standing feud between two families. Lots of comedy ensues, both verbal and slapstick.

Comedy highlights include:

  • Preventing a forced marriage with a hat full of rabbits.
  • The extended comedy ending – slapstick, disguising Wheeler as a woman, faking a machine gun, etc.
  • The multiple attempts and success at breaking glass by Spanky. Including the finale with a greenhouse!

Cast of characters

  • Willie (Bert Wheeler). Elmer’s partner, whose skill in magic comes in handy multiple times. He’s falling in love with Gloria.
  • Elmer (Robert Woolsey). The wise-cracking Elmer the Great, who takes the lead in the duo.
  • Gloria (Mary Carlisle, Dance, Girl, Dance). The lovely young lady who falls in love with Elmer. She’s caught in the crossfire between the two feuding families, the Wakefields and the Milfords.
  • Spanky (Spanky McFarland, Our Gang). The young boy who causes most of the trouble in the movie … and occasionally gets Wheeler & Woolsey out of it!
  • Colonel Wakefield (Noah Beery, Zorro Rides Again). The head of the Wakefield clan, who is willing to kill Wheeler & Woolsey if necessary. And he’s secretly in love with a Milford:
  • Aunt Hannah (Lucille La Verne, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs). She’s also in love with Colonel Wakefield. And, at a family dinner formed by Wheeler & Woolsey, they start wooing each other. And the entire feud is nearly resolved … until Spanky’s interference.
  • Buckshot (Willie Best, The Ghost Breakers). The Milford family servant. Sadly, a stereotypical, racist portrayal.

Songs

  • One Little Kiss (1934) Written by Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby
  • Supper Song (1934) Written by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, Performed by Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey at the supper
  • My Old Kentucky Home (1853) Music by Stephen Foster
  • Rock-a-Bye Baby (1886) Music by Effie I. Canning
  • A Hot Time in the Old Town (1896) Music by Theodore A. Metz

Editorial review of Kentucky Kernels courtesy of Amazon.com

Out-of-work vaudevillians Willie and Elmer somehow become the guardians of Spanky McFarland and think they’ve come into a fortune when Spanky inherits a farm in Kentucky.

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