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The Vagabond



When the biggest thing on the air is a dummy and the biggest thing in moving pictures is a septet of gnomes America is certainly tottering toward the fiery pit, albeit in a pleasantly pixilated fashion. A nation, like a human being, is most successfully judged by what if does in its leisure hours, and by using the films as an index it is a simple thing to trace the growth of these United States.

About the time that Peter Stnyvesant's $24 island and began to realize there was something west of the Alleghenies other than a horse trading center on the Mississippi and one or two gold fields in Alaska, Americans carried a jack-knife a lump of wax, and a package of miscellaneous stamps for trading purposes in their pants pocket, bought a Tootsic Roll at the corner store, and went to "The Great Train Robbery."

Then came the early teens. "Humming with pseudo-sophisticated nonchalance, we enjoyed our first shave and reminisced on that glorious afternoon when we'd won the game single handed, saved the day, and made the world safe for Democracy. A reaction was only natural for so precocious a youth, and it came in a tendency toward manfully swapping glances with Theda Bara or in clinging to our ideals and displaying a gentle-manly disdain for the mating call of the cow-Balinese in "Goona-Goona." But we soon hit the nadir; we liked our lady friends to wear their skirts around their necks and liked our alcohol distilled from hair tonic or drained from Sterno. Our few healthy moments were spent at "Sunny Side Up."

Now we rub a goodly growth and ponder on the supreme reality. We learn how to win friends and influence people and we have developed a magnificent prejudice for Fascism. We have taken the voodoo out of somnambulism and replaced it with an implicit belief in that supreme bit of charlatanism, that elucidation of common sense by the application of erudite proper nouns, known as Psychology. We still like jazz but we have made it svelt and called it swing; we still like our women more or less naked but we produce a plausible excuse in the sacred name of "athlete." And while we seek a mate among nations to honor as a friend, we also seek a mate among women to worship as an idol. We do not approach her feeling the biological urge as we once did in the days of Clara Bow, for now beauty to us is metaphysical and intellectual. In our wisdom we know we can never find her in human form, though we need her badly. But at last we have found her, and she is the essence of perfect virtue. Her name is Snow White:

Snow White is grand, and though something dormant in us harks back to the past and arouses suppressed longings for the wicked queen, it is only natural we should remember that after all she is the queen and beautiful. We have reformed, however, and we know from experience that Snow White is the only one. We remember that the Dragon Lady captured our hearts once in spite of Burma, but after her renascence she didn't mean a hill of beans, and we're not going to let ourselves in for the same thing with Snow White.

Seriously, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is our nomination for the picture of the year; it gives new life to the cynic, new hope to the skeptic, new faith to the agnostic; to the weary it gives strength, to the fool wisdom, to the frenzied calm. In short, every man, woman, and child in the country should consider it their duty to live, love, and learn with Snow White.

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