Now, there are some pretty bad Soundies out there, and at first viewing some might argue that this is one of them. I would argue that before passing judgment – this short is actually pretty entertaining – a bit of context is always in order.
L.O.L. Productions, the company responsible for this short, was the most parsimonious of Soundies producers … and that is putting it politely. Each of their subjects was made for $1,200, and that included talent, music, studio rental, camera and sound technicians, film stock, etc. In the case of “Heat’s On Again,” performed to the tune “A Zoot Suit,” the set is a white wall, a door and a steamer trunk. The Soundie was produced during the recording ban and L.O.L. would not have paid much to the non-union musicians who recorded the soundtrack. The sync, especially at the end, is virtually ignored.
In terms of the performers, the Three Heat Waves, vaudevillian Bob Boucher immediately recognized the first dancer to enter as the great Nick Condos. Part of the Condos Brothers, Nick was one of the most highly respected hoofers of his generation.
Boucher notes that the other two, “Jack Winston—the dancer in drag—and Don Bruce were, two burlesque comedians. Popular on theater stages. Goofy in the same way that the Ritz Brothers were goofy. But there was no regularly-established act called The Three Heat Waves, at least not in the big time. Nick Condos would never have worked with such a ragged act…never with buffoons like Jack Winston and Don Bruce….and I’m certain he was brought in to shore up the act, to the extent that it can be called an act. Or maybe he just needed some extra spending cash, or was doing someone a favor. Who knows?”
Enjoyable? Dispensable? Your thoughts???