When the language and content of modern TV shows and movies get you down and make you feel dirty (and not in a titilating way), nothing is more cleansing to the psyche than watching a good old fashioned movie from the 50s or 60s. I have my list of favorites, and my most recent addition is the 1962 comedy Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, starring my favorite classic (and in my opinion, cutest) everyman actor, James Stewart. I requested the movie through my library (the only place, it seems, to get a hold of old movies these days) and liked it so much I watched it twice. There's no f-word, no nudity, and no potty jokes - just good, clean (if a bit slapstick) fun, much of it at the expense of hapless Roger Hobbs, who just wants to spend a quiet vacation with his wife. Those plans are blown up when she insists on inviting their grown children to join them in a rented house on the California coast. There are bratty grandchildren, a cantakerous water pump, and boorish houseguests to contend with but as you can imagine (this is the early 60s, after all), all turns out well at the end.
The beautiful Maureen O'Hara co-stars as Hobbs' wife, Peggy. Teen idol Fabian shows up for about 10 minutes of screen time, performing a rather forgettable song called Cream Puff (yes, folks, this was the pre-Beatles period) with Mr. Hobbs' self-conscious, braces wearing teenage daughter Katie, played by Laurie Peters. And there's a comical sequence when the Hobbs take Katie to a teenage dance at a yacht club and dad resorts to luring suitable dance partners with the help of some $5 bills. But the funniest scene is when John McGiver, playing the stuffy, would-be boss of Hobbs' unemployed son-in-law, attempts to teach Hobbs how to walk properly while on an early morning bird watching expedition.
One little trivia tidbit I learned while looking up the movie on the Internet Movie Database: Herb Alpert, the leader of the jolly 60s brass group The Tijuana Brass, has an uncredited part as a trumpet player in the dance band at the yacht club.
Take a vacation with Mr. Hobbs. You won't be sorry!
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