“Boys Beware,” or The Courtship of Jimmy Barnes, Pt. 2

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OK, so I’m not so quick on the whole sequel thing. It’s been a little more than two years since we last visited the 1961 Sid Davis public domain classic “Boys Beware.” I guess it’s taken me that long to shake the heebie jeebies I got from watching the first part. To recap – our hero, Jimmy Barnes, fell under the spell of a balding, mustached Lothario named Ralph.

Jimmy somehow broke Ralph’s spell and ratted him out to the cops. But before we get too complacent, the narrator (Lt. Williamson) jolts us back to reality by warning us that “all homosexuals are not passive. Some resort to violence, as in the case of Mike Merritt.”

 

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Our first shot of the new malevolent stranger has him taking in a game of youth basketball. There was no WNBA in those days, but the level of competition is about the same.

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Like a horny, perverted lion, The Stranger waits until the herd thins before moving in to snag his prey. Note that despite wearing a suit and likely sporting a raging hard-on, The Stranger has a sweet hook shot.

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Mike, soaking up The Stranger’s kindness like Lindsay Lohan soaks up a bottle of Absolut, walks right into a trap, and “sometime that evening, Mike Merritt traded his life for a newspaper headline.” Bummer, dude.

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Quickly putting that ugliness behind us, we visit with Denny and Jerry, who have successfully stolen the day’s newspaper from every lawn in town. But before they can enjoy the spoils of their adventure for too long, they have a run-in another stranger (where the hell is this town?). He pulls the oldest trick in the book – the “get in my car and help me track down those kids who just stole some bikes” gambit – and poor, dim-witted Denny falls for it. Jerry does nothing to stop his friend but does write down the car’s plate number. I suspect that will come in handy later. Where the hell is Chris Hansen when you need him, anyway?

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Yup, I was right. Using the plate number Jerry wrote down, Bike Story Stranger is busted by the 5-0. This part of the story has a happy ending, despite the lack of tasers.

The final act in this epic of anti-gay propaganda reminds us that “public restrooms can often be a hangout for the homosexual.” Insert your own Larry Craig joke here. Anyway, three friends exit the bathroom and head for home. Bobby wisely chooses to split off from the other two and takes a longer and more remote path home. Restroom Stranger follows closely behind and the chase is on!

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But Bobby is hip to Restroom Stranger’s jive, and hightails it out of there. “After all, it’s more fun to stay with your friends anyway,” Lt. Williamson opines. So in the end Bobby escapes certain homosexual doom, but still has to live with that hideous sweater.

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The good lieutenant checks back in to wrap up the story, and shares some good advice – “So no matter where you meet a stranger, be careful if they are too friendly, if they try to win your confidence too quickly, and if they become overly personal. One never knows when the homosexual is about. He may appear normal, and it may be too late when you discover he is mentally ill.”

Indeed, those are words to live by. Wait, what the hell was that last part?!

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