You have no idea how this particular episode of Black and White World pleases your host. But let us not jump the gun; begin with the first title card.
That's right: before the Terry Gilliam movie, before the by-proxy Syndrome, there was a Baron Munchausen movie. Who was his co-star?
He wasn't the Schnozzola yet, merely the Schnozzle. One of the female stars:
This reminded me of something: there was a Chicago prog-rock band called "Zazu" - a contemporary of Styx. A high-school friend in the Toddling Town swore they took their name from Zasu Pitts, but the rationale escapes me. Can't find much, but they have a myspace page.
That's a radio dial. We've had a radio tower, a radio dial, and now:
Radio tubes on parade! This shows it's a high-tech modern movie, and in case you missed the point, it's BASED ON THAT GUY ON THE RADIO.
The story, such as it is, involves a stock comedian who's in the jungle with Durante, playing themselves, tagging along with an explorer named Baron Munchausen. The Baron abandons them and runs away with provisions, but they're rescued, and the non-Durante character is mistaken for the real Baron - which means, in a nice twist on the character, that he's lying about being Baron Munchausen.
A rapturous reception in New York follows, and then the screenwriters, realizing there hadn't been any cheesecake, move the action here:
Yes, the ivy-covered halls of Cuddle College, an all-girl school that bursts into musical numbers at the slightest provocation. Such as a mass all-girl shower:
She's practicing for her role as Charlette Corday, I guess. The school has a few male members on the faculty, and they're janitors. Wacky janitors. Ready?
If you're not a Stooge fan - and I never was, really - this comes as revelation, not only because you see Ted Healy slap Moe, a lot. Moe is clearly the Beta male here. I found this satisfying.
But not as much as this. Behold the very first opening moments. Listen carefully:
Vas you dere? The fellow who will lie his way into the identity of Baron Munchausen has this retort to anyone who challenges his stories. Vas you dere? It's his catchphrase.
Those are the first moments of the movie, and it was a wise move. If you have a character with a catchphrase, you have to get the catch phrase out of the way because no one will be satisfied until you do. But it's only a partial catchphrase; takes about 22 minutes before we get the full version, when the Baron is interviewed on the radio by a dapper fellow named Charlie. You want timing? Everyone in the audience knew what he was going to say. He doesn't milk it. He just gives them what they paid their dimes to hear:
Vas you dere, Chawlie? FINALLY. My life is complete. The clip below was a mystery until a Bleat reader explained it in the comments, but now it's all come full circle. How popular was the Baron's catchphrase?