Fireman Save My Child (1954)

79-80 mins | Musical comedy | May 1954

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HISTORY

The film begins with the following written statement: "NOTE: There may or may not be a plot to this story. If you can't find it don't worry about it." The film begins with a series of cartoons depicting a house on fire and the inept firemen sent to save it. Contemporary sources note that Freddie Morgan played "Sir Frederick Gast" and Earl Bennett played "Tyrone," musicians in Spike Jones’s City Slickers band. According to a 3 Nov 1953 HR news item, the film was originally conceived for Bud Abbott and Lou Costello and set to start on 4 Nov, but after Costello became ill, the start date was postponed and Hugh O'Brian and Buddy Hackett took over the lead roles.
       A 1 Nov 1954 LADN article noted that Eddie Cline, a gag writer for Spike Jones and former Keystone Kop, contributed written routines to the film, many of which were reminiscent of early silent comedies, including films featuring the "Kops." Fireman Save My Child marked the last feature-film appearance for Jones and His City Slickers. Although a 1927 Parmaount picture and a 1932 First National film bear the same title, they are unrelated to this ... More Less

The film begins with the following written statement: "NOTE: There may or may not be a plot to this story. If you can't find it don't worry about it." The film begins with a series of cartoons depicting a house on fire and the inept firemen sent to save it. Contemporary sources note that Freddie Morgan played "Sir Frederick Gast" and Earl Bennett played "Tyrone," musicians in Spike Jones’s City Slickers band. According to a 3 Nov 1953 HR news item, the film was originally conceived for Bud Abbott and Lou Costello and set to start on 4 Nov, but after Costello became ill, the start date was postponed and Hugh O'Brian and Buddy Hackett took over the lead roles.
       A 1 Nov 1954 LADN article noted that Eddie Cline, a gag writer for Spike Jones and former Keystone Kop, contributed written routines to the film, many of which were reminiscent of early silent comedies, including films featuring the "Kops." Fireman Save My Child marked the last feature-film appearance for Jones and His City Slickers. Although a 1927 Parmaount picture and a 1932 First National film bear the same title, they are unrelated to this film. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
24 Apr 1954.
---
Daily Variety
27 Apr 54
p. 3.
Film Daily
17 May 54
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Nov 1953
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Nov 1953
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Nov 1953
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Dec 1953
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Feb 1954.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 54
p. 3.
Los Angeles Daily News
1 Nov 1954.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
24 Apr 54
p. 2270.
Variety
28 Apr 54
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Scr
Story
Gag wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
MUSIC
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Scr supv
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Poet and Peasant Overture" and "Dance of the Hours" by Spike Jones and His Orchestra
"Pass the Biscuits, Mirandy" by Del Porter and Carl Hoefle, arranged by Spike Jones and His Orchestra
"In a Persian Market" by Albert Ketelbey and Mack David, arranged by Spike Jones and His Orchestra
+
MUSIC
"Poet and Peasant Overture" and "Dance of the Hours" by Spike Jones and His Orchestra
"Pass the Biscuits, Mirandy" by Del Porter and Carl Hoefle, arranged by Spike Jones and His Orchestra
"In a Persian Market" by Albert Ketelbey and Mack David, arranged by Spike Jones and His Orchestra
"(There'll Be) a Hot Time in the Old Town (Tonight)" by Theodore M. Metz and Joseph Hayden, arranged by Spike Jones and His Orchestra.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
May 1954
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 19 May 1954
Production Date:
mid November--mid December 1953
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
20 May 1954
Copyright Number:
LP3685
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
2:1
Duration(in mins):
79-80
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16933
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In San Francisco in the 1910s, the clownish musical band that runs Firehouse 12 often drowns out alarms with their loud music. Smokey Hinkle, a bumbling inventor and scion of a renowned firefighting family, buys retired firehouse horse Emma to pull his buggy, but when Emma hears an alarm, she follows the fire trucks at top speed. Smokey arrives at the fire at the same time as his pal, fireman Smitty, who points out that the blaze is in Smokey’s own house. Smokey uses his new invention, an ingenious fire extinguisher, to put out the flames, prompting Smitty to hire Smokey as a fireman in exchange for half of the profits from the sale of the extinguisher. Back at the firehouse, Smokey immediately starts a fire and struggles to convince Lt. McGinty, who is busy leading band rehearsal, that they must stop playing and put out the flames. Soon after, Capt. Bill Peters demonstrates his new mechanized fire-engine, and although it continually breaks down, he insists to Chief Rorty that his truck is the way of the future. Rorty agrees to let him motorize one firehouse, but frustrates Bill by assigning him to Firehouse 12. The squad immediately set to work on the new equipment, and although Smokey proves to be an inept fireman, he excels at Bill’s tests because of his dedication to memorizing the manual. To slow Smokey’s progress, the other firemen steal his pants, forcing him to repeatedly attend drills in his underwear. Meanwhile, Smokey sells Emma, and her new owner grows frustrated as she continues to chase fire trucks, and sells her for pennies. During the next weeks, everyone in the firehouse except for Smokey ... +


In San Francisco in the 1910s, the clownish musical band that runs Firehouse 12 often drowns out alarms with their loud music. Smokey Hinkle, a bumbling inventor and scion of a renowned firefighting family, buys retired firehouse horse Emma to pull his buggy, but when Emma hears an alarm, she follows the fire trucks at top speed. Smokey arrives at the fire at the same time as his pal, fireman Smitty, who points out that the blaze is in Smokey’s own house. Smokey uses his new invention, an ingenious fire extinguisher, to put out the flames, prompting Smitty to hire Smokey as a fireman in exchange for half of the profits from the sale of the extinguisher. Back at the firehouse, Smokey immediately starts a fire and struggles to convince Lt. McGinty, who is busy leading band rehearsal, that they must stop playing and put out the flames. Soon after, Capt. Bill Peters demonstrates his new mechanized fire-engine, and although it continually breaks down, he insists to Chief Rorty that his truck is the way of the future. Rorty agrees to let him motorize one firehouse, but frustrates Bill by assigning him to Firehouse 12. The squad immediately set to work on the new equipment, and although Smokey proves to be an inept fireman, he excels at Bill’s tests because of his dedication to memorizing the manual. To slow Smokey’s progress, the other firemen steal his pants, forcing him to repeatedly attend drills in his underwear. Meanwhile, Smokey sells Emma, and her new owner grows frustrated as she continues to chase fire trucks, and sells her for pennies. During the next weeks, everyone in the firehouse except for Smokey gains skills with the mechanized hoses and ladders. During one drill Smokey falls from the speeding truck into the apartment of Harry, a large and jealous husband who assumes Smokey is having an affair with his wife. When Smitty gets thrown from the truck into the same apartment days later, Harry promptly decides to move to New York. Commissioner Spencer then plans a party, for which McGinty’s band practices night and day. When Harry later becomes trapped in his Murphy bed and his wife sounds an alarm, Firehouse 12 shows up wearing their silly band outfits, causing Spencer to suspend them all. Bill resigns in defeat, after which Smokey barges into Spencer’s office to defend the men. Realizing Smokey is related to renowned firefighters Hose, Hook and Ladder Hinkle, Spencer reinstates the firehouse, then urges Smokey to demonstrate his fire extinguisher. The invention is a hit, but Smokey infuriates Smitty by donating it to the city for free. At Spencer’s party, McGinty’s band plays a number that includes a midget climbing out of the tuba and a grenade explosion. Just before Smokey displays his extinguisher to the crowd, jealous rivals replace the fluid with gasoline, which triggers a bonfire. Deducing the ruse, Smokey, Smitty and McGinty jump in the fire-engine and chase the hoodlums’ car, followed closely by Emma and her bewildered new owner. When the hoodlums pull into a garage, Smokey flies off the firehose and through the garage window, and subdues the men by spraying them with his extinguisher. By the time Spencer arrives, the fire truck has combusted, but Smokey extinguishes it with ease, impressing the crowd. Smitty is thrilled until Smokey admits that he has forgotten the formula for the extinguisher. Soon after, Smokey, Smitty and McGinty are called to rescue Harry’s wife, who thanks them all with kisses, causing Harry to knock out all three. He tosses their unconscious bodies onto Emma, whose owner watches gratefully as she walks away. +

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.