Cocktails have played a part in motion pictures since the very beginning, over 100 years ago now. Cocktails can serve many purposes: they can establish a characters background and up bringing, add sophistication or lack of it, say something about the characters social status, become a characters weakness or crutch, add humor to a scene or heartbreak.
Cocktails on film can also offer a fascinating social commentary, reflecting the cultures regard or disregard for drinking and drinkers, and offer us a peek into the popular fashions of each era just as much as clothing can. Start making note of what year a film was made, and what the characters order when at a party, bar or cocktail lounge. Notice the size of the stemware. You’ll be shocked at just how small a martini was originally!
Here is one of the all time classic cocktail scenes, and one of the funniest. It features Jim Backus, an airplane and multiple Old Fashioneds. I’m a big Jim Backus fan, I’ll have to admit. Beyond his Thurston Howell III character on the television series “Gilligan’s Island,” he created many other memorable characters in a film career that spanned several decades. This is one of his best.
Is that not the coolest bar you’ve ever seen? I want one in my living room! If you haven’t watched the 1963 all star comedy classic “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” then rent it immediately. In addition to Jim Backus, Mickey Rooney and Buddy Hackett, it features just about every major comedian alive at the time it was filmed, either in major roles or cameos.