Wednesday, January 5, 2022

THE TREE IN A TEST TUBE - "Pete Smith - Interlocutor" (1942)

Now here's a right Weird Wednesday item that everybody should see at least once. It's called "The Tree In A Test Tube," and was an American made propaganda film promoting the appreciation of wood in 1942. The amazing Pete Smith is the "Interlocutor" which is a three dollar word that basically means anybody having a conversation. Other completely useless words for the same thing are conversationalist, dialogist, middleman, and in this case interviewer or narrator.

The first thing that throws you off is that this short piece of film is in colour. 99% of the work of Laurel and Hardy is in black and white.

Pete Smith starts asking the boys if they know how useful wood is. To me it seems like an odd subject to have to sell the general populace on, but then again, these days we have to have billboards telling guys to be good Fathers, because they can't figure that out on their own!

But instead of talking about how good wood is in general, like construction, Pete goes into this whole esoteric diatribe about plastic objects like glasses frames that are made of 60% wood flour.

 Pete Smith Produced 150 short films from the 1930's until 1955 called the "Pete Smith Specialities." What you're seeing here is a shot from his 1941 short called "Murder In 3-D," that included a witch, various monsters, and as seen here, a Frankenstein monster. 
If you'd like a really good dose of what Mr. Smith was doing, and what a great sense of humor he had, then proceed immediately to YouTube and watch this ten minute short from 1944 called
Trust me, if you like swingin' music and amazing dancing you won't regret it!

The sweat bad in Stan's hat is imitation leather made of plastic.

Stan hands Ollie his pipe, and the bowl is made of wood, and the stem is made of plastic.

Matches and the cover on the matches are both made of wood pulp.

Even when he doesn't have them on, there's wood in Stan's rayon shorts!

The Ski Patrol would be lost without some good wood!

Hopefully, when the war is over, wood will provide a lot of jobs for these heroes when they come home.

Interestingly enough, it's stated on IMDB that Laurel and Hardy's parts for this little film were shot eight days before the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Not quite The End, here are a couple more of Pete's shorts for your enjoyment!
From 1944, "Movie Pests."


Realm Of Retro said...

Interlocutor sounds like Electrocutor.

Those are the ultra-violet lights some people
keep in their backyards to electrocute bugs.

I thought it meant the guy who throws the switch at Sing-Sing
but a quick google search proved this wrong.

EEGAH!! said...

Now that's the kind of comment I like!! And who'd a thunk that coming from a couple of interlocutors like us!

Realm Of Retro said...

Thank You Sir & I like this page.

kd said...

Wasn't the Interlocutor a guest star in THIS ISLAND EARTH?

Realm Of Retro said...

The all-powerful Interlocutor recharges here
through intensive visual mesmerization:

Monster Music

Monster Music
AAARRGGHHH!!!! Ya'll Come On Back Now, Y'Hear??