Follow the Boys (1944)

118 or 122 mins | Musical | 5 May 1944

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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Three Cheers for the Boys , Hip Hip Hooray , On with the Show and Cheers for the Boys . Other titles considered by Universal for the film included Three Cheers and Happy Days . Musical numbers missing from this print, which ran 110 minutes, include Sophie Tucker's rendition of "Some of These Days" and Dinah Shore's performance of "Mad About Him Blues." In addition to "Shoo Shoo Baby," The Andrews Sisters performed a medley of their hits, including brief segments of such songs as "Bei Mir Bist du Schön," "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," "Pennsylvania Polka," "Hold Tight, Hold Tight (Want Some Sea Food Mama)" and "I'll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time." In addition to the musical numbers, Follow the Boys features a magic act by Orson Welles and Marlene Dietrich, which they performed numerous times during the war to entertain the troops. W. C. Fields also reprised his famous pool-shooting routine, which he had first performed in vaudeville and then in his film debut in the 1915 one-reel silent, The Pool Shark . Classical pianist Artur Rubinstein made his motion picture debut in Follow the Boys . The Palace Theatre in New York, as depicted in the beginning of the film, was a 1,735 seat vaudeville house which opened on 24 Mar 1913 and closed on 16 Nov 1932.
       Follow the Boys was Universal Pictures' contribution the all-star musical revues that were being presented by the major Hollywood studios in support of the war effort. Other films in this vein include Warner Bros.' ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Three Cheers for the Boys , Hip Hip Hooray , On with the Show and Cheers for the Boys . Other titles considered by Universal for the film included Three Cheers and Happy Days . Musical numbers missing from this print, which ran 110 minutes, include Sophie Tucker's rendition of "Some of These Days" and Dinah Shore's performance of "Mad About Him Blues." In addition to "Shoo Shoo Baby," The Andrews Sisters performed a medley of their hits, including brief segments of such songs as "Bei Mir Bist du Schön," "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," "Pennsylvania Polka," "Hold Tight, Hold Tight (Want Some Sea Food Mama)" and "I'll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time." In addition to the musical numbers, Follow the Boys features a magic act by Orson Welles and Marlene Dietrich, which they performed numerous times during the war to entertain the troops. W. C. Fields also reprised his famous pool-shooting routine, which he had first performed in vaudeville and then in his film debut in the 1915 one-reel silent, The Pool Shark . Classical pianist Artur Rubinstein made his motion picture debut in Follow the Boys . The Palace Theatre in New York, as depicted in the beginning of the film, was a 1,735 seat vaudeville house which opened on 24 Mar 1913 and closed on 16 Nov 1932.
       Follow the Boys was Universal Pictures' contribution the all-star musical revues that were being presented by the major Hollywood studios in support of the war effort. Other films in this vein include Warner Bros.' Hollywood Canteen , M-G-M's Thousands Cheer and Paramount's Star Spangled Rhythm (see entries below). According to Universal press materials, the actual Hollywood Victory Committee arranged for 1,562 actors and actresses to make 12,619 free appearances at 2,197 events in 1943, as well as raising billions of dollars in war bonds.
       According to a contract found in the Charles K. Feldman papers at the AFI Louis B. Mayer Library between producer Feldman and writer/director A. Edward "Eddie" Sutherland, Feldman, who was chairman of the Talent Committee for the H.V.C., agreed to pay Sutherland $6,000 a week, for a minimum of six weeks, to write a screenplay with Gertrude Purcell called Three Cheers for the Boys . The contract also contained a provision for Sutherland to direct the film. In Jul 1943, Feldman brought writer Stephen Longstreet onto the project, who finished his re-write of the script on 20 Jul 1943, at which time writer Lou Breslow was hired by the producer to touch up the screenplay.
       On 6 Aug 1943, Feldman signed a contract with Universal to produce a screenplay entitled Three Cheers for the Boys , written by Purcell, Longstreet and Sutherland. Under this contract, Universal agreed to produce the film, under its new title On with the Show . According to the Feldman papers, Follow the Boys had grossed $1,520,000 in its domestic releases as of 31 Oct 1959, with a worldwide gross in excess of $2,460,000.
       HR news items include Elyse Knox and the dance team of Cappella and Patricia in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Universal press materials state that Donald O'Connor and Peggy Ryan's musical number, "Kittens with Their Mittens Laced," was filmed during its actual performance before a military audience at Camp Roberts, CA. According to the Feldman papers, stock footage of overseas entertainment shows were provided by the U.S. War Department's Bureau of Public Relations. HR news items also report that flamenco dancer Carmen Amaya, the only Latin player in the cast, received billing above the other Hollywood guest stars when Follow the Boys opened in Mexico. Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn received an Academy Award nomination for their song "I'll Walk Alone," but lost to the Jimmy Van Heusen-Johnny Burke composition "Swinging on a Star" from the Paramount release Going My Way (See Entry).
       Modern sources add the following actors to the cast: John Carson ( Solider at radio ), Bill Wolfe ( Zoot suit man ), Daisy ( Fifi, a dog ), Lee Bennett ( Acrobat ), George Eldridge ( Submarine officer ), Marie Osborne ( Nurse ), Nicodemus Stewart ( Lt. Reynolds, USAF ), George Chirello ( Magician's assistant ), Janice Gary, Jane Smith, Marjorie Fectan, Doris Brenn, Rosemary Battle, Lolita Leighter, Mary Rowland, Eleanor Counts and Linda Brent ( Magic maids ), Augustín Castellón Sabicas and Philo McCullough. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Apr 1944.
---
Daily Variety
23 Mar 44
p. 3, 14
Daily Variety
1Oct 1944.
---
Film Daily
27 Mar 44
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Sep 43
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Nov 43
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Nov 43
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Mar 44
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Apr 44
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
1 May 44
p . 12.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
1 Apr 44
p. 1825.
New York Herald Tribune
23 Apr 44
p. 8.
New York Times
2 Apr 1944.
---
New York Times
26 Apr 44
p. 24.
Variety
29 Mar 44
p. 21.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Guest Stars in the order of their appearance:
Orson Welles' Mercury Wonder Show:
and Her Company
Bricklayers
and his Band
and his Orchestra
and his Orchestra
and his Orchestra
Appearing in the Hollywood Victory Committee seq:
Lon Chaney [Jr.]
Tony Marsh
Carlyle Blackwell
Bill Meader
Tony Hughes
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Charles K. Feldman Group Prod.
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir of addl scenes
Delta Rhythm Boys seq
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir of addl scenes
Asst dir of Delta Rhythm Boys seq
Asst dir of Delta Rhythm Boys seq
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Orig scr, Orig scr
Orig scr, Orig scr
"Soldiers in Greasepaint" [epilogue wrt by]
Scr of Delta Rhythm Boys seq
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog of addl scenes
Dir of photog of Delta Rhythm Boys seq
Cam op of addl scenes
Cam op of Delta Rhythm Boys seq
Asst cam
Asst cam of addl scenes
Asst cam of Delta Rhythm Boys seq
Gaffer
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Props
Props for Delta Rhythm Boys seq
COSTUMES
Gowns
Miss Zorina's gowns
Miss Zorina's jewelry
Ward for addl scenes
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Dir of sd
[Sd] tech
Sd tech of addl scenes
Sd tech of Delta Rhythm Boys seq
Boom op
Boom op of Delta Rhythm Boys seq
Rec op of addl scenes
Rec op of Delta Rhythm Boys seq
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog
Spec eff
DANCE
Mus prod numbers devised and staged by
Dance dir
MAKEUP
Hairdresser for addl scenes
Makeup artist for addl scenes
PRODUCTION MISC
Grip
Grip for addl scenes
Grip for Delta Rhythm Boys seq
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," traditional, arranged by Henry Thacker Burleigh
"I Feel a Song Coming On" by Jimmy McHugh, Dorothy Fields and George Oppenheim
"Furlough Fling" by Charles Weintraub and Frank Davenport
+
MUSIC
"Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," traditional, arranged by Henry Thacker Burleigh
"I Feel a Song Coming On" by Jimmy McHugh, Dorothy Fields and George Oppenheim
"Furlough Fling" by Charles Weintraub and Frank Davenport
"Besame mucho" by Consuelo Velázquez
"Liebestraum" by Franz Liszt
"Sweet Georgia Brown" by Ben Bernie, Maceo Pinkard and Kenneth Casey
"Merriment" by Augustín Castellón Sabicas.
+
SONGS
"Good Night" music and lyrics by Leo Wood, Con Conrad and Irving Bibo
"Tonight," music by Walter Donaldson, lyrics by Kermit Goell
"The Bigger the Army and the Navy," music and lyrics by Jack Yellen
+
SONGS
"Good Night" music and lyrics by Leo Wood, Con Conrad and Irving Bibo
"Tonight," music by Walter Donaldson, lyrics by Kermit Goell
"The Bigger the Army and the Navy," music and lyrics by Jack Yellen
"Kittens with Their Mittens Laced," music and lyrics by Inez James and Sidney Miller
"Beyond the Blue Horizon," music by Richard A. Whiting and W. Franke Harling, lyrics by Leo Robin
"I'll Walk Alone" and "A Better Day Is Coming," music and lyrics by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn
"I'll Get By," music by Fred E. Ahlert, lyrics by Roy Turk
"Is You Is, or Is You Ain't My Baby," music and lyrics by Louis Jordan and Billy Austin
"I'll See You in My Dreams," music by Gus Kahn, lyrics by Isham Jones
"The House I Live In," music and lyrics by Earl Robinson and Lewis Allan
"Shoo Shoo Baby," music and lyrics by Phil Moore
"Mad about Him, Sad without Him, How Can I Be Glad Without Him Blues," music and lyrics by Larry Markes and Dick Charles
"Some of These Days," music and lyrics by Shelton Brooks.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Cheers for the Boys
Hip Hip Hooray
On with the Show
Three Cheers for the Boys
Release Date:
5 May 1944
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 25 April 1944
Production Date:
28 September--4 December 1943
addl seq 23 December 1943, 1 February-5 February 1944
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
31 March 1944
Copyright Number:
LP12601
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
118 or 122
Length(in feet):
10,743
Country:
United States
PCA No:
9986
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After the final performance of the last show at the Palace Theatre in New York, old-time performer Nick West attempts to give a farewell speech, but becomes choked with emotion, so his son and fellow performer Tony finishes it for him, proclaiming that vaudeville will never die. Vaudeville houses continue to close, however, and the Three Wests--Nick, Tony and his sister Kitty--find it difficult to get bookings. Despite his father's objections, Tony breaks up the act and heads for California to try his luck in motion pictures. He soon finds work in the chorus at Universal Pictures, where he catches the eye of musical star Gloria Vance. The two quickly become screen partners, then man and wife. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Tony tries give up his newly found Hollywood stardom and enlist in the U.S. Army, but is rejected because of an old knee injury. He asks, however, that no one, including Gloria, be told of his rejection. Meanwhile, Private "Chick" Doyle, an old vaudeville friend of the Wests, is put in charge of organizing entertainment for the soldiers at his camp, and he gets Nick and Louie Fairweather, an animal trainer, to promise to help. In turn, Nick asks for his son's help, and Tony soon finds himself organizing the Hollywood Victory Committee (H.V.C.), a consortium of motion picture, theatrical and radio personalities dedicated to help the war effort, including the creation of war bond drives and U.S.O. Shows. While returning home from one such show, Tony gets into an argument with Gloria after refusing to listen to her when she tries to tell him that she is ... +


After the final performance of the last show at the Palace Theatre in New York, old-time performer Nick West attempts to give a farewell speech, but becomes choked with emotion, so his son and fellow performer Tony finishes it for him, proclaiming that vaudeville will never die. Vaudeville houses continue to close, however, and the Three Wests--Nick, Tony and his sister Kitty--find it difficult to get bookings. Despite his father's objections, Tony breaks up the act and heads for California to try his luck in motion pictures. He soon finds work in the chorus at Universal Pictures, where he catches the eye of musical star Gloria Vance. The two quickly become screen partners, then man and wife. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Tony tries give up his newly found Hollywood stardom and enlist in the U.S. Army, but is rejected because of an old knee injury. He asks, however, that no one, including Gloria, be told of his rejection. Meanwhile, Private "Chick" Doyle, an old vaudeville friend of the Wests, is put in charge of organizing entertainment for the soldiers at his camp, and he gets Nick and Louie Fairweather, an animal trainer, to promise to help. In turn, Nick asks for his son's help, and Tony soon finds himself organizing the Hollywood Victory Committee (H.V.C.), a consortium of motion picture, theatrical and radio personalities dedicated to help the war effort, including the creation of war bond drives and U.S.O. Shows. While returning home from one such show, Tony gets into an argument with Gloria after refusing to listen to her when she tries to tell him that she is pregnant. The misunderstanding leads to the couple's separation. After many months organizing the H.V.C., Tony goes overseas to Brisbane, Australia with a U.S.O. troupe. Breaking her word to Gloria, Kitty tells Tony that he is about to become a father and he makes plans to call his wife upon their arrival onshore. Their cargo ship is attacked by a Japanese submarine, however, and Tony is killed. With her late husband proclaimed a hero on the cover of Life magazine, Gloria takes Tony's place entertaining the troops, along with hundreds of other stars. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.