I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now? (1947)

104-105 or 108 mins | Musical, Biography | August 1947

Director:

Lloyd Bacon

Writer:

Lewis R. Foster

Producer:

George Jessel

Cinematographer:

Ernest Palmer

Editor:

Louis Loeffler

Production Designers:

Richard Day, Boris Leven, James Basevi

Production Company:

Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Hello, My Baby . The film begins with the following foreword signed by producer "Georgie" Jessel: "This is a story based on incidents from the early life of that ageless American troubadour, Joseph E. Howard, who wrote and sang the nation's songs at the turn of the century. Caring little for money and less for fame, Joe was a rolling stone that left a trail of melody from coast to coast and wherever he went there was sure to be a lovely face, a trim ankle and the fragrant memory of melodies that can never be forgotten, gad, what a life!" The film was conceived as a vehicle for the music of composer-singer-vaudeville star Joesph E. Howard (1867--1961), rather than as a strict biography. Howard ran away from home as a young boy, made his debut in vaudeville at the age of ten or eleven, and went on to author over 525 songs and 22 stage musicals. Together with Frank Adams and Will Hough, he wrote 15 popular musical shows. The trio wrote the song "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now" in 1906. Howard was married at least six times.
       According to materials contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, Fred Finklehoffe and George Jessel worked on various outlines, screenplays and stories for the film between Jun and Sep 1945. Darryl F. Zanuck, the head of production at the studio, who is credited on various drafts as Melville Crossman, hated their work and insisted on a total rewrite. In an 11 Oct 1945 memo, Zanuck ... More Less

The working title of this film was Hello, My Baby . The film begins with the following foreword signed by producer "Georgie" Jessel: "This is a story based on incidents from the early life of that ageless American troubadour, Joseph E. Howard, who wrote and sang the nation's songs at the turn of the century. Caring little for money and less for fame, Joe was a rolling stone that left a trail of melody from coast to coast and wherever he went there was sure to be a lovely face, a trim ankle and the fragrant memory of melodies that can never be forgotten, gad, what a life!" The film was conceived as a vehicle for the music of composer-singer-vaudeville star Joesph E. Howard (1867--1961), rather than as a strict biography. Howard ran away from home as a young boy, made his debut in vaudeville at the age of ten or eleven, and went on to author over 525 songs and 22 stage musicals. Together with Frank Adams and Will Hough, he wrote 15 popular musical shows. The trio wrote the song "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now" in 1906. Howard was married at least six times.
       According to materials contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, Fred Finklehoffe and George Jessel worked on various outlines, screenplays and stories for the film between Jun and Sep 1945. Darryl F. Zanuck, the head of production at the studio, who is credited on various drafts as Melville Crossman, hated their work and insisted on a total rewrite. In an 11 Oct 1945 memo, Zanuck suggested that the story line include a little girl who grows up to love "Joe" and proposed June Haver for the role. Other materials in the Scripts Collection disclose that the studio bought the rights to a story written by Bill Delany titled I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now . In a letter dated 22 Aug 1945, studio attorney George Wasson stated that the story was acquired to eliminate Delaney's claim that he owned a 25% interest in the project, and that little or none of his material was actually used.
       HR news items yield the following information about this production: A Jun 1946 item notes that Celeste Holm, who was originally slated to play the role of "Lulu Madison," withdrew from the cast to take maternity leave. A Jul 1946 item adds that Linda Darnell rejected the role of "Katie" because she felt it was ill-suited for her. Although HR production charts place Reed Hadley in the cast, his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Aug 1946 news items note that acrobatic tumbling clowns George Suzanne and Loren Riebe were signed to perform a specialty act and Ted Doner was hired for a supporting role, but their appearance in the released film has not been confimred. This picture marked the screen debut of Gene Nelson, a former dancing skater in Sonja Henie's ice troupe.
       Materials contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, also located at UCLA, reveal that the studio went to great effort to obtain the rights to every song performed in the film and procured privacy waivers from Howard and his various wives. Hough refused to sign a waiver until the studio agreed to credit him as the lyric writer onscreen as well as portray his character as the writer of Howard's lyrics. According to a letter dated 26 Apr 1945, the studio wanted to include Howard's song "Somewhere in France There's a Lily," but were deterred from doing so because of problems securing the rights. According to HR and HCN news items, in Jul 1947, composer Harry Orlob sued the studio and Howard, claiming that he wrote the music for the song "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now," as well as approximately 100 other songs credited to Howard. The suit was settled when the defendants agreed to give Orlob credit for composing the tune. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Sep 46
p. 334.
Box Office
21 Jun 1947.
---
Daily Variety
10 Jun 1947.
---
Film Daily
10 Jun 47
p. 10
Hollywood Citizen-News
23 Jul 1947.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Nov 45
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jun 46
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jun 46
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jun 46
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jul 46
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jul 46
p. 3, 15
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jul 46
p. 21.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Aug 46
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Aug 46
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Sep 46
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 46
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Oct 46
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jun 47
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jun 47
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jul 47
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
20 May 48
p. 14.
Independent Film Journal
20 Jul 46
p. 49.
Life
7 Apr 1947.
---
Motion Picture Daily
10 Jun 1947.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
14 Jun 47
p. 3678.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
11 Oct 47
p. 3880.
New York Times
24 Jul 47
p. 27.
Variety
11 Jun 47
p. 8.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Joseph Bernard
William Bailey
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Orig scr, Orig scr
Addl dial
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
Musical settings
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus dir
Assoc mus dir
Orch arr
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
DANCE
Dances staged by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor dir
Assoc
SOURCES
MUSIC
"The Umpire Is a Most Unhappy Man," music by Joseph E. Howard.
SONGS
"Be Sweet to Me Kid" and "Honeymoon," words and music by Joseph E. Howard, Will M. Hough and Frank R. Adams
special lyrics and music by George Jessel and Charles Henderson
"I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now", words and music by Joseph E. Howard, Will M. Hough, Frank R. Adams and Harold Orlob
+
SONGS
"Be Sweet to Me Kid" and "Honeymoon," words and music by Joseph E. Howard, Will M. Hough and Frank R. Adams
special lyrics and music by George Jessel and Charles Henderson
"I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now", words and music by Joseph E. Howard, Will M. Hough, Frank R. Adams and Harold Orlob
"Good Bye My Lady Love" and "What's the Use of Dreaming," words and music by Joseph E. Howard
"Hello! Ma Baby," words and music by Joseph E. Howard and Ida Emerson
"Wait 'Til the Sun Shines, Nellie," words by Andrew B. Sterling, music by Harry Von Tilzer
"Love's Own Sweet Song," words and music by Emmerich Kalman, Catherine Chisholm Cushing and E. P. Heath
"The Glow Worm," words by Lilla Gayley Robinson, music by Paul Lincke
"In the Sweet Bye and Bye," words by Vincent P. Bryan, music by Harry Von Tilzer
"Songs of Love," "Madam Du Barry," "The Sentry Song" and "Come to the St. Louis Fair," words and music by George Jessel and Charles Henderson.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Hello, My Baby
Release Date:
August 1947
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Chicago: 3 July 1947
Production Date:
18 July--14 October 1946
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
3 July 1947
Copyright Number:
LP1264
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
104-105 or 108
Length(in feet):
9,718
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
PCA No:
11839
SYNOPSIS

In New Jersey at the turn of the century, aspiring songwriter Joseph E. Howard demonstrates pipe organs and lives with his guardian, John McCullem, and McCullem's young niece Katie, whom he regards as a sister. One day, Joe takes Katie to a musical show in New York to hear vaudeville star Lulu Madison perform a song he has just sold to her. Backstage, Joe introduces himself to Lulu and she flirtatiously invites him to bring his next song to her personally. Afterward, Joe discovers that Lulu has received sole credit for his composition and angrily goes to confront her. After placating Joe, Lulu invites him to her hotel suite. Sensing that Joe has a fount of songs in him, Lulu asks him to join her on the road as her piano player. When Joe returns home at dawn and tells Katie that he is leaving with Lulu, Katie cautions him to be wary and begs to go along. Refusing her request, Joe asks her to say goodbye to Uncle John, packs his bags and departs. As Joe tours with Lulu, he steadily gains popularity and soon Lulu grants him his own specialty within her act. Katie follows Joe to Philadelphia, and when he insists that she return home, she melodramatically lies that Uncle John has died, and hence, she is now homeless. Jealous of Katie, Lulu objects to her traveling with the show, but Joe persuades her to reconsider. On the road, Katie deliberately antagonizes Lulu about her age, her weight, and encourages Joe to write ballads against Lulu's wishes. In Cleveland, Lulu's manager, Jim Mason, learns that well-known Chicago theater managers ... +


In New Jersey at the turn of the century, aspiring songwriter Joseph E. Howard demonstrates pipe organs and lives with his guardian, John McCullem, and McCullem's young niece Katie, whom he regards as a sister. One day, Joe takes Katie to a musical show in New York to hear vaudeville star Lulu Madison perform a song he has just sold to her. Backstage, Joe introduces himself to Lulu and she flirtatiously invites him to bring his next song to her personally. Afterward, Joe discovers that Lulu has received sole credit for his composition and angrily goes to confront her. After placating Joe, Lulu invites him to her hotel suite. Sensing that Joe has a fount of songs in him, Lulu asks him to join her on the road as her piano player. When Joe returns home at dawn and tells Katie that he is leaving with Lulu, Katie cautions him to be wary and begs to go along. Refusing her request, Joe asks her to say goodbye to Uncle John, packs his bags and departs. As Joe tours with Lulu, he steadily gains popularity and soon Lulu grants him his own specialty within her act. Katie follows Joe to Philadelphia, and when he insists that she return home, she melodramatically lies that Uncle John has died, and hence, she is now homeless. Jealous of Katie, Lulu objects to her traveling with the show, but Joe persuades her to reconsider. On the road, Katie deliberately antagonizes Lulu about her age, her weight, and encourages Joe to write ballads against Lulu's wishes. In Cleveland, Lulu's manager, Jim Mason, learns that well-known Chicago theater managers Karl and Kassel have come to see Joe. Katie then overhears Jim warn Lulu that Joe is in danger of eclipsing her act. When Lulu instructs Joe to eliminate his specialty, Katie retaliates by sabotaging Lulu's costume, thus allowing Joe time to perform his song for the theater owners. Joe's composition is greeted by wild applause, and Lulu, furious, fires him. Upon learning of Lulu's chicanery, Joe demands the royalties from all his songs and then meets with Karl and Kassel. When the producers advise Joe to find another partner and build a reputation, Katie teams with Joe and they work their way up the vaudeville circuit to the Karl and Kassel theater in Chicago. There, Joe meets headliner Fritzi Barrington, an admirer of his songs. Joe is smitten by the glamorous Fritzi, who promises to promote his compositions. Consequently, when playwright Will Hough approaches Fritzi with an offer from her former suitor, Martin Webb, to star in a new show he is producing, Fritzi agrees on the condition that Joe write the songs. Hough, who has actually never met Webb, then introduces himself to Webb and informs him that he has engaged Fritzi to star in a musical, and Webb, who is still in love with Fritzi, agrees to finance it. As the show goes into rehearsal, however, Webb finds Fritzi and Joe embracing in her dressing room and withdraws his financial support. Joe then sells all the rights to his songs in exchange for the funds to finance the show. As Fritzi performs on opening night, Katie imagines herself as the star. The show is a hit, and Joe goes to New York to sign a lease on a Broadway theater. There, he meets an old friend, who tells him that Uncle John is still alive. When Joe visits his guardian, Uncle John shows him letters Katie has written, describing her success on stage. Upon returning to Chicago, Joe finds Katie preparing to step into Fritzi's part and learns that Fritzi has left the show to marry Webb. Feeling betrayed, Joe accuses Katie of antagonizing Fritzi into leaving and cancels the show. Joe then abruptly departs to tour the country, playing at honky-tonks along the way. Some time later, Joe arrives at the San Francisco train station to find the town whistling one of his melodies, which had remained unpublished because the lyrics had always eluded him. After booking passage to Alaska, Joe tracks the tune to the Pat O'Dare show, on stage at a local theater. There, Joe is surprised to find Hough, who informs him that he is getting married and has reopened the show after making Joe a full partner. Hough reveals that he and his friend, Frank Adams, have written the lyrics to Joe's elusive tune, "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now," which Katie, using the name Pat O'Dare, is performing. Spotting Joe in the wings, Katie rushes off stage to greet him. In her dressing room, Joe informs Katie that he is sailing for Alaska that night. Katie replies that she is planning to marry Hough, but passionately kisses Joe. As Joe and Katie emerge from the dressing room, Joe tells Hough that he is in love with Katie. When Hough's true fiancée appears, Joe realizes that Katie has deceived him once again. +

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

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