Pot o’ Gold (1941)

jimmy stewart harmonica movieBecause including the entirety of the word “of” was just too much work.

 

This is one of those old, forgotten films that fell into public domain, so you can easily find it legally on YouTube or streaming providers like Amazon. If you’re lucky you may even spot it in the $5 bin at Walmart. (It’s a steal, I tell you, a steal.)

Pot o’ Gold is a musical comedy based on an old radio series called (drumroll please…) “Pot o’ Gold.” It was the first big-money giveaway program on radio and attracted lots of attention from the masses. (Almost as much attention as I got in the winter of 2004 as I stood in a pile of snow in the middle of campus wearing nothing but a pair of pink pajama pants while holding a smoking toaster with a charred Pop-tart inside that had burst into flame just a few minutes before and had set off the fire alarm that was still blaring in the dorms behind me, but that’s a story for another day.)

james stewart harmonica movieDirected by George Marshall, this movie stars James Stewart (never heard of him), Paulette Goddard (TBH I really haven’t heard of her), and Horace Heidt. You of course know Horace Heidt—as in “Horace Heidt and his Musical Knights.” You know, that hip, swingin’ band that all the cool kids still listen to today? Trust me, they’re the cat’s pajamas. (But not my pajamas—those were pink.)

And if you watch closely you might notice a very young Art Carney toward the end of the film, who later became famous for his role as Ed Norton in a hit TV show called The Honeymooners. In real life Art Carney got his start as the comedian that travelled with Horace Heidt and his Musical Knights. (And no, that’s not the last time I’m going to bring up that band’s name.)

OH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: After the flaming Pop-tart episode, my roommate walked in to find me shivering beneath a blanket in a smoke-filled room while playing my N-64 and listening to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.”

OK, here’s a wild, off-the-wall theory for you: If you listen to dark music, you’re going to feel dark. If you listen to happy music, you’ll feel happy.

The music to which we consistently listen gradually shapes not only our present mood but also our general outlook on life. So before you invite any screechy, sex-distorting, profanity-laced songs into your home (or even just the ol’ “I hate my ex-boyfriend” playlist), maybe consider something a little more positive. Whether or not that includes Horace Heidt and his Musical Knights is entirely up to you.

Either way, I hope you choose happy music—and that you teach your kids to choose happy music. It’s just a better way to live.

If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.” — Doctrine & Covenants 136:28

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