It's VHS time! While I love the 80s, there is quite a bit of media from that time that is only available in postage stamp resolution by modern standards. So forgive the lower quality; AI upscaling can only do so much at this point. I hereby swear, should The Gumshoe Kid be released with a 4k digital restoration by the Criterion Collection, I will update this post.
(I'm never going to have to update this post.)
The Gumshoe Kid – The Film
This is the tale of Jeff Sherman (Jay Underwood), a young man obsessed with old detective movies. His dad leaves him with a share of a detective agency. Short-staffed, Jay dons his fedora and starts solving cases.
Anyway, this film is all but forgotten, so information is scarce. Thus I am going in engage in speculation based on… well, everything in this movie. While the release date is 1990, I can almost guarantee it sat on a shelf for years before an unceremonious dump into theatres. It is literally the most 80s movie I think I have ever seen. From the, well, the furs to the new wave punk face sported for entirely too long, this is a virtual catalog of 80s imagery.
The Gumshoe Kid – The Furs
Meet Rita (Tracy Scoggins), whom we are far more interested in than Jay. Rita works at a furrier and, during their investigation, takes Jay to her place of business.
What follows is a fever dream sequence, both figuratively and literally. Rita shows off a mink and a sable and asks which one he likes, though she decides on the sable.
To drive home the fact this was shot in the 80s, Jay dismissively refers to her as playing “Alexis Carrington.” Two things: 1, Dynasty was off the air in 1990, and 2, Tracy Scoggins was on Dynasty from 85 to ‘89 (when it was canceled). She was one of the characters that got grandfathered in when The Colbys spin-off was canceled in ‘85. So, while it may have been a reference to that, I don't think the screenwriters are that smart.
As this already incomprehensibly amazing scene continues, Rita exclaims that “her coat” is here. Rita finds her coat and proceeds to… drink in the scent,
What follows is a fur-induced dream sequence that lasts over one minute, where Rita luxuriates in various fur coats to an original tune called “Why Can't I,” whose lyrics heavily feature references to furs. Like this film, the song is also forgotten, but you can listen to the whole thing during the credits. (Where the end has a 1989 copyright, at least.)
During the dream sequence, Rita tries on various fur coats before tossing them away. Enjoy this montage.
So she does, but sadly they happen to cross paths with Jay's would-be girlfriend, Mona (Pamela Springsteen: Yes, her bother's name is Bruce). In exchange for Mona's car, Rita gives Mona her coat.
Not before “persuading” her briefly. As she leaves, Rita says, “It's you,” to Mona while wearing the coat.
It's not entirely over for the lovely blue fox because Mona keeps it with her during a later scene at the fortune teller.
And, in the finale, she “reconciles” with Jay by walking into his office wearing it. Only to take it off pretty quickly.
We find ourselves at the end of this massive update. Ironically, there is a lot of great content packed into a short time frame, and thus The Gumshoe Kid doesn't look impressive from the runtime perspective. But wow, there is a lot of love in those five minutes. The salon scene alone is worth the price of admission. (This is pretty low since it's unavailable to buy anywhere.)
Fur Runtime: approx 5.5 minutes
Film Runtime: 98 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 5.7%
Find-a-Fur: The Gumshoe Kid, 1990
(all times are approximate and are affected by the cut of the film)
- 47:00 – 50:30 – fur salon sequence
- 57:25 – blue fox coat
- 1:15:40 – ”
- 1:29:00 – ”