Carolina Cannonball (1955)

Article #1168 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-26-2004
Posting Date: 10-23-2004
Directed by Charles Lamont
Featuring Judy Canova, Andy Clyde, Ross Elliott

When an atomic-powered rocket crashes near the ghost town of Roaring Gulch, the sole residents of the place have run-ins with spies.

This movie opens with stock footage of an atomic explosion, followed by stock footage of the launch of the first nuclear powered submarine. The next thing is the launch of a nuclear powered rocket, which doesn’t take off immediately because the guy pushing the button forgot to plug the cord into the control board. This gag should give you a sense of the level of comedy to be found in this slapstick comedy. Judy Canova was a singer that specialized in yodelling who had been appearing in comedies for twenty years, she plays herself in this movie. The movie also features Sig Rumann, Leon Askin, and Jack Kruschen, Russian spies who try to pass themselves off as Americans (despite their accents) by acting as if they’re not surprised by anything. The title refers to the trolley driven by Canova and her nearly deaf grandpa; the boiler that runs it also serves as a still to provide grandpa’s hooch. Eventually, the boiler blows, and they replace it with the atomic reactor from the rocket, which not only makes the trolley go a lot faster and turns it into a potentially dangerous weapon, it also makes better hooch. There are many running gags about the furniture in the ghost town falling apart. Canova sings some songs as well. That should give you some idea of what this movie is like. It’s better than it could have been, but not by much. Nonetheless, commentary is kind of useless in this case; you either like this kind of lowbrow slapstick or you don’t. You’re on your own.

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