Dance with Me, Henry (1956)

79-80 mins | Comedy | December 1956

Director:

Charles Barton

Writer:

Devery Freeman

Producer:

Bob Goldstein

Cinematographer:

George Robinson

Production Designer:

Leslie Thomas

Production Company:

Bob Goldstein Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

The opening title card reads: "Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in Dance with Me, Henry . However, their names are listed in reverse order in the end cast credits. According to a Sep 1956 HR news item, the carnival scenes were shot at the Willow Grove Amusement Park near Philadelphia, PA, where Bud Abbott and Lou Costello reportedly had one of their first performances as a comedy team.
       As noted in the Var review, Dance with Me, Henry marked Abbott and Costello's first motion picture following their departure from Universal-International in 1955. Their final film with Universal was Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (See Entry). In addition, Dance With Me, Henry marked Abbott and Costello's last film as a comedy team, and Abbott's last film. Although they began performing together offscreen in 1931, their first motion picture was the 1940 Universal Pictures film One Night in the Tropics (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ), which also featured their famous radio comedy routine, "Who's on First?"
       Abbott and Costello performed in thirty-four feature films. For additional information on their careers, consult the entry for the 1941 Universal film Buck Privates in the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 . A 1984 news item in DV reported that their heirs were suing MGM/UA Entertainment Company for the rights to Dance with Me, Henry , which reportedly were being withheld by the film company, which claimed that the actors owed them money. The final outcome of the lawsuit has not been ascertained. ... More Less

The opening title card reads: "Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in Dance with Me, Henry . However, their names are listed in reverse order in the end cast credits. According to a Sep 1956 HR news item, the carnival scenes were shot at the Willow Grove Amusement Park near Philadelphia, PA, where Bud Abbott and Lou Costello reportedly had one of their first performances as a comedy team.
       As noted in the Var review, Dance with Me, Henry marked Abbott and Costello's first motion picture following their departure from Universal-International in 1955. Their final film with Universal was Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (See Entry). In addition, Dance With Me, Henry marked Abbott and Costello's last film as a comedy team, and Abbott's last film. Although they began performing together offscreen in 1931, their first motion picture was the 1940 Universal Pictures film One Night in the Tropics (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ), which also featured their famous radio comedy routine, "Who's on First?"
       Abbott and Costello performed in thirty-four feature films. For additional information on their careers, consult the entry for the 1941 Universal film Buck Privates in the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 . A 1984 news item in DV reported that their heirs were suing MGM/UA Entertainment Company for the rights to Dance with Me, Henry , which reportedly were being withheld by the film company, which claimed that the actors owed them money. The final outcome of the lawsuit has not been ascertained. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
15 Dec 1956.
---
Daily Variety
10 Dec 56
p. 3.
Daily Variety
14 Dec 1984.
---
Film Daily
14 Dec 56
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
25 May 1956
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jun 1956
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jun 1956
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Sep 1956
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Dec 56
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Dec 1956
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Dec 1956
p. 1.
Los Angeles Examiner
13 Dec 1956.
---
Los Angeles Times
13 Dec 1956.
---
Monthly Film Bulletin
1957.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
15 Dec 56
p. 186.
New York Times
24 Dec 56
p. 8.
The Exhibitor
26 Dec 1956
p. 4270.
Variety
12 Dec 56
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Orig story
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus ed
SOUND
Sd eff ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Prod mgr
STAND INS
Stunts for Sherry Alberoni and double for Rusty Ha
SOURCES
SONGS
"Dance With Me Henry," music and lyrics by Hank Ballard, Etta James and Johnny Otis
The drinking song from the opera La traviata , music by Giuseppe Verdi, libretto by Francesco Maria Piave
"Crazy Fingers," composer undetermined.
DETAILS
Release Date:
December 1956
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: week of 18 December 1956
New York opening: 26 December 1956
Production Date:
late May--late June 1956 at RKO-Pathé Studios
Copyright Claimant:
Bud Abbott & Lou Costello
Copyright Date:
9 December 1956
Copyright Number:
LP8083
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
79-80
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18214
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Lou Henry rushes to the Guiding Light Orphanage to convince his ward, Duffer, who had run away from him, to return home. Father Mullahy, the head of the orphanage, is glad to release Duffer back into Lou’s care, as the boy had only run away because Lou "looks after so many people." Moments later, Lou’s business partner, Bud Flick, arrives to tell him there are problems at their carnival, Kiddyland. When Lou arrives there, he discovers that one of the rides will not stop, so he pulls the fuse, a solution that had never occurred to Bud. Lou later tries to evade social worker, Miss Mayberry, who oversees the foster children, but the ebullient teenager Ernie unintentionally reveals their presence by playing his latest rhythm-and-blues recording. Mayberry reminds Lou how he insulted her in a letter to the district attorney, and presents a court order for her to inspect his home for safety. Lou arrives home and tells his foster children, Shelley, a singer, and Duffer, that Mayberry will be visiting at six o’clock. After they clean the house, Bud arrives with news that Big Frank, a racketeer to whom Bud owes $20,000 in gambling debts, is calling in his loan, and has threatened to force Bud to work for him if he reneges. Mayberry arrives shortly after Bud leaves, and is horrified when Big Frank’s thugs, Dutch Fleer and Mushie, arrive looking for Bud. After the thugs leave, pandemonium ensues when Ernie arrives to play his “loose” music and the dog trots in with an empty liquor bottle in his mouth, which was left by the previous homeowner. ... +


Lou Henry rushes to the Guiding Light Orphanage to convince his ward, Duffer, who had run away from him, to return home. Father Mullahy, the head of the orphanage, is glad to release Duffer back into Lou’s care, as the boy had only run away because Lou "looks after so many people." Moments later, Lou’s business partner, Bud Flick, arrives to tell him there are problems at their carnival, Kiddyland. When Lou arrives there, he discovers that one of the rides will not stop, so he pulls the fuse, a solution that had never occurred to Bud. Lou later tries to evade social worker, Miss Mayberry, who oversees the foster children, but the ebullient teenager Ernie unintentionally reveals their presence by playing his latest rhythm-and-blues recording. Mayberry reminds Lou how he insulted her in a letter to the district attorney, and presents a court order for her to inspect his home for safety. Lou arrives home and tells his foster children, Shelley, a singer, and Duffer, that Mayberry will be visiting at six o’clock. After they clean the house, Bud arrives with news that Big Frank, a racketeer to whom Bud owes $20,000 in gambling debts, is calling in his loan, and has threatened to force Bud to work for him if he reneges. Mayberry arrives shortly after Bud leaves, and is horrified when Big Frank’s thugs, Dutch Fleer and Mushie, arrive looking for Bud. After the thugs leave, pandemonium ensues when Ernie arrives to play his “loose” music and the dog trots in with an empty liquor bottle in his mouth, which was left by the previous homeowner. Appalled by the conditions, Mayberry leaves. Big Frank and his thugs later approach Bud at the carnival to insist that he transport $200,000 in marked money stolen from a bank robbery to Chicago. Lou overhears the exchange and telephones District Attorney Martin Proctor, offering information about the stolen money in exchange for Proctor’s approval of his adoptions. Proctor agrees to meet Lou at the carnival grounds that night, where Bud has also arranged a meeting with Mushie. That night, Bootsie, an orphan who loves to follow Lou, is playing alone at the carnival grounds and sees Mushie hide cash in a treasure chest atop a sign for “Grab the Brass Ring” game. Bud and Lou, meanwhile, are waiting in their office, unaware of the reason the other is there. Mushie shoots Proctor when he arrives and deposits the body on a seat of the Ferris wheel, then knocks Lou out when he comes to investigate the gunshot. Mushie then places Lou and the murder weapon, which he has wiped clean, alongside Proctor and turns on the ride. Bootsie and Mushie both run from the scene. Bud turns off the Ferris wheel as two patrolman arrive and recognize the dead district attorney. After Bud regrettably suggests that Lou is the killer, Lou is arrested. Several detectives question Lou for eighteen hours, but he remains silent. In the meantime, Mayberry removes Shelley and Duffer from Lou's home. Soon after, Father Mullahy brings Bootsie to the police station and she tells Lt. Garvey what she saw. Although Garvey distrusts her imagination, he releases Lou, and has him followed. Bud, meanwhile, meets with Mushie, who offers to split the $200,000 with him if Bud retrieves it. However, Dutch and Big Frank overhear him and shoot the traitor, then take Bud hostage, demanding to know the location of the money. Lou is also taken to Big Frank’s hide-out where he is beaten because he does not know where the cash is. To save Lou, Bud falsely offers to lead them to the money, and they leave moments before police raid the house. Bud takes them to Kiddyland, where he tricks Big Frank into a recorded confession. Big Frank catches Bud in the act, however, and demands that they break the record. When Lou refuses, Big Frank angrily throws him through a closed door. Bud then grabs the record and flees, and he and Lou are chased throughout the carnival by the thugs. Unknown to them, Bootsie and Duffer bring all their friends to the carnival and arm themselves with darts, baseball bats and rifles from the shooting gallery. After the children slow down the gangsters’ progress, Bud and Lou hide on top of the merry-go-round. When the thugs stand underneath, they drop the treasure chest on them, which breaks open and reveals the money. The police arrive moments later and Big Frank confesses to Garvey, but when Lou proudly plays the recording, he discovers that Bud had accidentally grabbed one of Ernie’s be-bop records. Later, Shelley and Duffer return home, and set up a party for Lou with Ernie and Father Mullahy’s help. Father Mullahy thanks Bud for donating the reward money to the orphanage, and Bud admits it was at Lou’s insistence. Moments later, Lou arrives like the fabled Pied Piper, playing a flute and dancing down the sidewalk while a train of children follows. +

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

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