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Live Wires

Live Wires(1946)

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teaser Live Wires (1946)

The original 'Dead End Kids' went through several name changes in just a few years. In 1946 actor Leo Gorcey and his agent Jan Grippo seized control of the faltering East Side Kids franchise. With producer Sam Katzman shown the door, the series was revitalized with snappier scripts, better directors, and a new name: The Bowery Boys. Gorcey is now Slip Mahoney, and his sidekick Huntz Hall is 'Sach' Jones. The smart-talking punks behave like delinquents, but invariably come out on the right side of the law. Given a keen directorial edge by Phil Karlson, Live Wires (1946) was adapted from a story that Monogram had already filmed twice before. Disappointing his sweet sister, the bad-tempered Slip loses jobs by getting into fights. But his natural talent for tricking people and snatching cars perfectly suits him to work as a process server and repo man. Slip is too streetwise to be fooled by a femme fatale nightclub singer (Claudia Drake of Detour, 1945) who doesn't want her valuables repossessed. But he encounters difficulties when he stumbles onto an auto theft ring and tangles with a hulking gangster named Patsy (Mike Mazurki). Noted by Variety as a 'cuckoo concoction,' this first official Bowery Boys entry was praised for its lively sense of humor and its comedic use of actor Mazurki, who scored a hit as 'Moose' Malloy in the previous year's noir hit Murder, My Sweet. The East Side Kids series proved more popular than ever, averaging four entries a year for the next ten years.

by Glenn Erickson

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