I’m looking for a copy, on any format and in any quality, of a 1955 film called Ain’t Misbehavin’ (IMDb) – starring Rory Calhoun and Piper Laurie.
As I discovered recently, this apparently obscure movie – directed by Edward Buzzell – includes a sequence in which
“an inventor demonstrates his newest television attachment, which allows viewers to zoom in on individuals during live programs” (from the AFI Catalog)
I haven’t seen the film, but I reckon the ‘inventor’ character is probably based on the somewhat mysterious real-life zoom lens inventor Dr Frank Back.
Dr Back, as I’ve written before, was one of the men behind the astonishing popularity of the Zoomar company during the 1940s and 1950s. Though Back was a fascinating and at times rather colourful character, he died in relative obscurity in 1983. His biography is hardly central to my research, but the more I learn about him, the more interesting he seems to become – his life and inventions certainly deserve far more attention than they’ve ever been given.
As a result I’m very keen to get hold of a copy of Ain’t Misbehavin’ – but it’s proving tricky to locate: not only has it apparently never had a commercial release on DVD or VHS (or any other format I can track down), it also isn’t held by any of the major film archives that I’ve been able to check with.
The only place that advertises it for sale is a website called LovingTheClassics.com, but I’m fairly sure (judging from online chatter about the site here and here and from the lack of company information on the website) that it’s either a scam or a very poorly managed operation.
So that leaves me at the mercy of you, dear reader. If you happen to possess a copy (or know where one can be obtained), please let me know. I’d be very grateful for your help.
Later this year I’ll be visiting the USA to carry out various bits of archival research, and I’ll be making a stop at UC San Diego to look at their collection of Frank Back’s papers (details here). I’ll also be looking at various court papers in other locations.
I hope to then be able to write a blog post, or perhaps something more substantial, on Dr Back’s life and innovations. His biography is scattered across the internet, and I think it deserves to be brought together somewhere.