Watching 1939: Everybody’s Hobby (1939)

In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them. As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, that’s difficult. 

everybodyshobby21939 film: 

Everybody’s Hobby (1939) 

Release date: 

Aug. 26, 1939

Cast: 

Irene Rich, Henry O’Neill, Jackie Moran, Jean Sharon, Aldrich Bowker, Peggy Stewart, Alberto Morin, John Ridgely

Studio: 

Warner Brothers

Director: 

William C. McGann

Plot:
Everyone in the Leslie family is obsessed with their hobbies:
-Mom/Myra (Rich) collects stamps
-Robert (Moran) has a HAM radio
-Evelyn (Sharon) loves records
-Uncle Bert (Bowker) love statistics and facts
And Dad/Thomas (O’Neill) has no hobby. Because of this, everybody else’s hobby drives him crazy and he thinks it is nonsense. But due to his dissatisfaction and stress at his newspaper job, Dad takes up a photography hobby and takes a camping trip with his son Robert. While Robert and his dad are camping, a forest fire breaks out and they use their hobbies to help out.

1939 Notes:
• By the numbers:
-Jean Sharon’s first film. She made only two films and both were in 1939.
-Jackie Moran was in five films released in 1939.
-Irene Rich was in one feature film released in 1939.
-Henry O’Neill was in 12 feature films released in 1939.
-Aldrich Bowker was in 10 films released in 1939, and started in films this same year.
-Alberto Morin was in 11 films in 1939.
-Peggy Stewart was in three films in 1939.
-Last film of Jackie Morrow.

everybodys hobby

Other trivia: 
• Working title was “The Hobby Family.”
• William Clemens was originally set to direct the film.
• Jane Bryan was originally announced to play the daughter, Evelyn, but wasn’t able to due to her role in THE OLD MAID (1939), according to The Hollywood Reporter.
everybodys hobby3

My review: Searching for the “1939 feature”:

I don’t know why I love this movie, but I just think it’s a good time.

Not even an hour long, EVERYBODY’S HOBBY (1939) takes a look at how the hobby you’re obsessed with can be helpful (or harmful).

 It drives Tom Leslie (O’Neill) crazy that his whole family is hobby mad. He finds his wife’s stamps in his breakfast, his daughter’s records around the house, his son is always with his HAM radio, and his unemployed brother only spouts off facts in the middle of a conversation. But when Tom’s newspaper is sold and he is fed up with his job, he takes up photography and goes on a four week camping trip with his son. While they are camping, an arsonist starts a forest fire. Robert’s HAM radio is invaluable while trying to communicate during the crisis, and Tom’s camera serves to be helpful too. Myra’s stamp collection also helps the family financially. But it’s Evelyn’s record collection that gets the family in trouble.

The cast is rounded out by mostly B-players. Henry O’Neill is in the lead role, and if you watch any Warner Bros. film of the 1930s and 1940s, he is usually a background character. The most interesting actor I find is actress Jean Sharon, here in her first film of only two she released total, and both in 1939. Sharon isn’t really a good actress, but also looks like a mix of Lily Pons and Loretta Young. Jane Bryan was initially cast, but it conflicted with her role in the OLD MAID. While I love Jane Bryan, this film wouldn’t have been up to her caliber of talent.

I also think it’s interesting that Aldrich Bowker started in films in 1939 at age 64.

Overall, this is a fun 54 minute film. It may not be much to write home about, but I think it’s entertaining.

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