Hold That Ghost (1941)

85-86 mins | Comedy | 8 August 1941

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Oh, Charlie . The picture was originally scheduled to be Abbott and Costello's second release of 1941, but with the unexpected success of Buck Privates (See Entry), Universal decided in Apr 1941 to hold back the film and release In the Navy (See Entry) first, as it was also a military comedy with high production values. HR reported on 7 Apr 1941 that Universal had decided to upgrade Oh, Charlie with additional sequences featuring the Andrews Sisters and Ted Lewis and His Orchestra. This announcement also stated that one sequence would be based on George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," but that musical number did not appear in the released film. The additional sequences were shot in mid-May 1941, and actor Mischa Auer was added to the cast. According to Var , Burt Kelly was the original associate producer on the film, but left the studio to take a similar position at Paramount when the film was in its initial editing stages. For the additional material, Universal assigned Glenn Tryon to replace Kelly as the associate producer.
       In Jun 1941, The film was retitled Hold That Ghost and its release was set for Aug 1941, following the success of In the Navy . On 19 Aug 1941, HR stated that the film had opened to "100% capacity crowds," despite "luke warm reviews." Modern sources claim that after actress Evelyn Ankers' deal with Twentieth-Century Fox collapsed, she signed a seven-year contract with Universal and was then cast in this picture. In a modern interview, director ... More Less

The working title of this film was Oh, Charlie . The picture was originally scheduled to be Abbott and Costello's second release of 1941, but with the unexpected success of Buck Privates (See Entry), Universal decided in Apr 1941 to hold back the film and release In the Navy (See Entry) first, as it was also a military comedy with high production values. HR reported on 7 Apr 1941 that Universal had decided to upgrade Oh, Charlie with additional sequences featuring the Andrews Sisters and Ted Lewis and His Orchestra. This announcement also stated that one sequence would be based on George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," but that musical number did not appear in the released film. The additional sequences were shot in mid-May 1941, and actor Mischa Auer was added to the cast. According to Var , Burt Kelly was the original associate producer on the film, but left the studio to take a similar position at Paramount when the film was in its initial editing stages. For the additional material, Universal assigned Glenn Tryon to replace Kelly as the associate producer.
       In Jun 1941, The film was retitled Hold That Ghost and its release was set for Aug 1941, following the success of In the Navy . On 19 Aug 1941, HR stated that the film had opened to "100% capacity crowds," despite "luke warm reviews." Modern sources claim that after actress Evelyn Ankers' deal with Twentieth-Century Fox collapsed, she signed a seven-year contract with Universal and was then cast in this picture. In a modern interview, director Arthur Lubin stated that he was assigned to Hold That Ghost only after the success of the Buck Privates preview, and that he was paid $5,000 to start directing it the very next day. Modern sources also state that the final budget of this film was $190,000. Modern sources credit Alex Gottlieb as produer and John Rawlins as 2nd unit director for the production and add Janet Shaw ( Alderman's girl ), Frank Richards ( Gunman ), Bobby Barber ( Waiter ), Harry Wilson ( Harry ), Jeanne Blanche ( "Pretty Thing" ), and Kay, Kay & Katya ( Dancers ) to the cast. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Aug 41
p. 392.
Box Office
2 Aug 1941.
---
Daily Variety
28 Jul 1941.
---
Film Daily
30 Jul 41
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jan 41
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jan 41
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Feb 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Apr 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Apr 41
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
20 May 41
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
23 May 41
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jun 41
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jul 41
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Aug 41
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald
2 Aug 1941.
---
New York Times
8 Aug 41
p. 13.
Variety
30 Jul 41
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Orig story
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
[Sd] tech
DANCE
Mus numbers staged by
SOURCES
MUSIC
"The Blue Danube" by Johann Strauss II.
SONGS
"When My Baby Smiles at Me," words by Ted Lewis and Andrew B. Sterling, music by Bill Munro
"Me and My Shadow," words by Billy Rose, music by Al Jolson and Dave Dreyer
"Sleepy Seranade," words and music by Mort Greene and Louis C. Singer
+
SONGS
"When My Baby Smiles at Me," words by Ted Lewis and Andrew B. Sterling, music by Bill Munro
"Me and My Shadow," words by Billy Rose, music by Al Jolson and Dave Dreyer
"Sleepy Seranade," words and music by Mort Greene and Louis C. Singer
"Aurora," original words and music by Mario Lago and Roberto Roberti, English lyrics by Harold Adamson.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Oh, Charlie
Release Date:
8 August 1941
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 7 August 1941
Production Date:
21 January--26 February 1941
addl seq mid May 1941
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
30 July 1941
Copyright Number:
LP10617
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
85-86
Length(in feet):
7,721
Country:
United States
PCA No:
7215
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

The Andrews Sisters and Ted Lewis and His Orchestra are performing at the "Chez Glamour" nightclub, where Chuck Murray and Ferdinand "Ferdie" Jones are working as relief waiters. The two bumblers, however, are much more interested in playing dice than serving tables. Gangster Sidney "Moose" Matson arrives at the nightclub with his lawyer, Bannister, who tells him that "two-bit hood" Charlie Smith wants half the money from Moose's latest hold-up or he will go to the district attorney. Moose states that he doesn't plan to pay Charlie anything, as only he knows where the stolen money is. Meanwhile, Chuck and Ferdie are fired by the head waiter, Gregory, when they are caught eating their patrons' food. After they return to working at a gas station, Chuck and Ferdie find themselves servicing Moose's car when the police arrive, and the two are trapped inside the gangster's car during a high-speed shootout. Moose is shot and killed, and Chuck and Ferdie learn that they are the benefactors of his will, which gives his estate to whomever he is with when he dies. During a meeting with Bannister, they are told that they have inherited an old tavern. The next day, they travel by bus to the tavern, along with Charlie Smith, Jackson, a physician, Norma Lind and radio performer Camille Brewster. Once there, the bus driver announces that the weather is too bad to continue the trip, so the group becomes Chuck and Ferdie's first guests. Only when the bus driver takes off with their luggage, however, do they realize that they are stranded at the tavern. Examining the grounds, the group discovers hidden rooms and comes ... +


The Andrews Sisters and Ted Lewis and His Orchestra are performing at the "Chez Glamour" nightclub, where Chuck Murray and Ferdinand "Ferdie" Jones are working as relief waiters. The two bumblers, however, are much more interested in playing dice than serving tables. Gangster Sidney "Moose" Matson arrives at the nightclub with his lawyer, Bannister, who tells him that "two-bit hood" Charlie Smith wants half the money from Moose's latest hold-up or he will go to the district attorney. Moose states that he doesn't plan to pay Charlie anything, as only he knows where the stolen money is. Meanwhile, Chuck and Ferdie are fired by the head waiter, Gregory, when they are caught eating their patrons' food. After they return to working at a gas station, Chuck and Ferdie find themselves servicing Moose's car when the police arrive, and the two are trapped inside the gangster's car during a high-speed shootout. Moose is shot and killed, and Chuck and Ferdie learn that they are the benefactors of his will, which gives his estate to whomever he is with when he dies. During a meeting with Bannister, they are told that they have inherited an old tavern. The next day, they travel by bus to the tavern, along with Charlie Smith, Jackson, a physician, Norma Lind and radio performer Camille Brewster. Once there, the bus driver announces that the weather is too bad to continue the trip, so the group becomes Chuck and Ferdie's first guests. Only when the bus driver takes off with their luggage, however, do they realize that they are stranded at the tavern. Examining the grounds, the group discovers hidden rooms and comes to realize that Moose used the tavern as a speakeasy during Prohibition. When Charlie goes into the basement, he is strangled to death by an unknown hand. Ferdie becomes convinced that the tavern is haunted, as strange things continually happen to him when he is left alone. Unable to find Charlie, the group decides to go to bed. In Moose's old room, Chuck and Ferdie discover Charlie's body, but when the police arrive unannounced, the body disappears. Each time Ferdie tries to go to bed, his room changes into a gambling parlor, but then it changes back to a bedroom when Chuck enters. Downstairs, Norma finds Jackson testing the tavern's water, and the two begin to feel a mutual attraction. After being chased by what appears to be a ghost, Ferdie and Camille sit together downstairs, where a floating candle causes Ferdie much concern. Chuck and Camille, meanwhile, try to figure out where Moose's money may be. As he had said that he kept it "in his head," Ferdie suggests the money is in the moose head on the wall, an idea which the others ridicule. Sticking his hand in the moose's mouth, however, Ferdie finds the money, much to Chuck and Camille's disbelief. The police finally reemerge, but reveal themselves to be members of Moose's gang who have been looking for his money for fifteen years. The gangsters chase the group throughout the house, with Ferdie knocking them out one by one with a bag of money. Alerted by the sound of a police siren, the gangsters scamper out of the tavern, unaware that the "siren" was actually Ferdie. Afterward, the group divides the money, and Chuck and Ferdie consider opening their own gas station. Jackson, however, tells them that they should turn the tavern into a health spa, as the water has great therapeutic values. Later, on opening night of the spa, Jackson and Norma arrive fresh from their honeymoon, and Ferdie tells them that he and Camille had a "runaway wedding": she wanted to get married, so he ran away. Ferdie works the cash register, but when Chuck checks it, he finds it nearly empty, then discovers all the money hidden in Ferdie's tuxedo. +

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

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