The Merry Monahans (1944)

90 mins | Musical comedy | 15 September 1944

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HISTORY

According to HR, this film had the largest budget to date of any picture starring actor Donald O'Connor. In Sep 1943, HR announced Frank Ryan as the director of the film, with principal photography scheduled to begin on 11 Oct 1943. Ryan, however, was replaced by Charles Lamont, and shooting did not commence until 6 Dec 1943. During one production number in the film, actress Peggy Ryan does an impersonation of singer Sophie Tucker while singing Tucker's trademark song "Some of These Days." Donald O'Connor, in turn, does an impersonation of Al Jolson singing "Rockabye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody." According to Universal press materials, O'Connor was originally scheduled to do his Jolson impersonation in blackface to the melody "Mammy," with words and music by Sam M. Lewis, Walter Young and Walter Donaldson. A HR news item stated that actor Sidney Blackmer was to play a featured role in this film, but he did not appear in the film. HR production charts included Billy Curtis in the cast, but his participation in the released film has not been confirmed. According to HR, the radio program Double or Nothing dedicated its 15 Sep 1944 broadcast to this film. Hans J. Salter was nominated for an Academy Award for his music score, but lost to Carmen Dragon and Morris Stoloff's Cover Girl score (See Entry). ...

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According to HR, this film had the largest budget to date of any picture starring actor Donald O'Connor. In Sep 1943, HR announced Frank Ryan as the director of the film, with principal photography scheduled to begin on 11 Oct 1943. Ryan, however, was replaced by Charles Lamont, and shooting did not commence until 6 Dec 1943. During one production number in the film, actress Peggy Ryan does an impersonation of singer Sophie Tucker while singing Tucker's trademark song "Some of These Days." Donald O'Connor, in turn, does an impersonation of Al Jolson singing "Rockabye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody." According to Universal press materials, O'Connor was originally scheduled to do his Jolson impersonation in blackface to the melody "Mammy," with words and music by Sam M. Lewis, Walter Young and Walter Donaldson. A HR news item stated that actor Sidney Blackmer was to play a featured role in this film, but he did not appear in the film. HR production charts included Billy Curtis in the cast, but his participation in the released film has not been confirmed. According to HR, the radio program Double or Nothing dedicated its 15 Sep 1944 broadcast to this film. Hans J. Salter was nominated for an Academy Award for his music score, but lost to Carmen Dragon and Morris Stoloff's Cover Girl score (See Entry).

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
26 Aug 1944
---
Daily Variety
16 Aug 1944
p. 3
Film Daily
24 Aug 1944
p. 7
Hollywood Reporter
26 Aug 1943
p. 6
Hollywood Reporter
2 Sep 1943
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
7 Sep 1943
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
30 Nov 1943
p. 7
Hollywood Reporter
1 Dec 1943
p. 7
Hollywood Reporter
17 Dec 1943
p. 11
Hollywood Reporter
24 Dec 1943
p. 9
Hollywood Reporter
16 Aug 1944
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
7 Sep 1944
p. 8
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
4 Mar 1944
p. 1786
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
19 Aug 1944
p. 2053
New York Times
13 Oct 1944
p. 16
Time
16 Oct 1944
---
Variety
16 Aug 1944
p. 16
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Mack Wright
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Jack Gross
Exec prod
WRITERS
Orig scr, Orig scr
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
John B. Goodman
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Hans J. Salter
Mus dir
SOUND
Dir of sd
[Sd] tech
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog
DANCE
Dance dir
Dance dir
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Old Folks at Home" by Stephen Foster; "Pop Goes the Weasel," traditional.
SONGS
"Lovely," "Beautiful to Look At," "We're Having a Wonderful Time," "Stop Foolin'" and "Impersonations," music by Don George, lyrics by Irving Bibo; "I Hate to Lose You," music by Archie Gottler, lyrics by Grant Clarke; "Rockabye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody," music by Jean Schwartz, lyrics by Sam M. Lewis and Joe Young; "In My Merry Oldsmobile," music and lyrics by Vincent P. Bryan and Gus Edwards; "Isle d'Amour," music and lyrics by Earl Carroll and Leo Edwards; "What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?" music and lyrics by Howard Johnson, Joseph McCarthy and James V. Monaco; "Rose Room," music and lyrics by Harry Williams and Art Hickman; "When You Wore a Tulip and I Wore a Big Red Rose," music by Percy Wenrich, lyrics by Jack Mahoney; "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows," music and lyrics by Joseph McCarthy and Harry Carroll; "Missouri Waltz," music and lyrics by J. R. Shannon and Frederick Knight Logan; "Some of These Days," music and lyrics by Shelton Brooks; "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny," music and lyrics by James Bland; "Ta-Ra-Ra-Bom-Der-E," music and lyrics by Henry J. Sayers; "I Love You, California," music and lyrics by F. B. Silverwood and A. F. Frankenstein.
SONGWRITERS/COMPOSERS
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
15 September 1944
Production Date:
6 Dec 1943--late Jan 1944
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
28 July 1944
LP12878
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90
Length(in feet):
8,166
Country:
United States
PCA No:
9983
SYNOPSIS

In 1899, at the Boston Empire Theatre, vaudevillian Pete Monahan proposes to his partner, Lillian Rice and is accepted in the midst of their performance. Backstage, however, show girl Rose announces that she is already engaged to Pete, asserting that he had drunkenly proposed to her the night before. Learning of Rose's claim, Lillian leaves Pete, and he, in turn, marries Rose. Pete and Rose then form their own act, and with the addition of their son Jimmy and daughter Patsy, they become the Four Monahans. Rose later deserts her family and leaves Pete a note admitting that he never proposed to her, that he had only told her how much he loved Lillian. At the start of World War I, the Three Monahans are playing the Colonial Theater in Schenectady, New York when they are offered the headlining position at the Empire Theatre. The sentimental Pete refuses to return to Boston, so in retaliation, Henderson, the district booker, fires them from the Colonial as well. The Monahans fortunes improve, however, when a theatrical agent offers to handle their act and books them on the prestigious Keith theater circuit. On a train to Philadelphia, the now-teenaged Jimmy meets Sheila DeRoyce, Lillian's daughter. Thinking that Jimmy is merely a hobo, Sheila tells him that she and her mother are performing on the Keith circuit with famed actor Arnold Pembroke. When they meet again backstage, she learns who Jimmy really is. Pete also gets re-acquainted with the widowed Lillian, and Pembroke jealously threatens to replace the DeRoyces if Sheila continues to spend her time with Jimmy rather than rehearsing. In actuality, Pembroke is aware that ...

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In 1899, at the Boston Empire Theatre, vaudevillian Pete Monahan proposes to his partner, Lillian Rice and is accepted in the midst of their performance. Backstage, however, show girl Rose announces that she is already engaged to Pete, asserting that he had drunkenly proposed to her the night before. Learning of Rose's claim, Lillian leaves Pete, and he, in turn, marries Rose. Pete and Rose then form their own act, and with the addition of their son Jimmy and daughter Patsy, they become the Four Monahans. Rose later deserts her family and leaves Pete a note admitting that he never proposed to her, that he had only told her how much he loved Lillian. At the start of World War I, the Three Monahans are playing the Colonial Theater in Schenectady, New York when they are offered the headlining position at the Empire Theatre. The sentimental Pete refuses to return to Boston, so in retaliation, Henderson, the district booker, fires them from the Colonial as well. The Monahans fortunes improve, however, when a theatrical agent offers to handle their act and books them on the prestigious Keith theater circuit. On a train to Philadelphia, the now-teenaged Jimmy meets Sheila DeRoyce, Lillian's daughter. Thinking that Jimmy is merely a hobo, Sheila tells him that she and her mother are performing on the Keith circuit with famed actor Arnold Pembroke. When they meet again backstage, she learns who Jimmy really is. Pete also gets re-acquainted with the widowed Lillian, and Pembroke jealously threatens to replace the DeRoyces if Sheila continues to spend her time with Jimmy rather than rehearsing. In actuality, Pembroke is aware that the talented Sheila is the only reason that he remains on the Keith circuit. Upon arriving in San Francisco, Pete tells his children that he plans to propose to Lillian that night, only to learn later that she has just become engaged to Pembroke. The heartbroken Pete then begins drinking heavily, unaware that Lillian is marrying Pembroke only to ensure Sheila's future. After Jimmy and Patsy are forced to perform without their drunken father, Weldon Laydon, the producer of the Manhattan Follies, offers to book the brother-and-sister act, but they, unaware of who he is, refuse his offer. Later, Sheila runs away from Pembroke and her mother, and she and Jimmy decide to elope. They are stopped, however, by Lillian and Pembroke, after which Pembroke admits that his ego can no longer accept Sheila as the star of their act, and leaves. Meanwhile, an upset Pete throws a brick through a liquor store window and is sentenced to thirty days in jail. With their father in jail, Jimmy and Patsy then join the Manhattan Follies. They quit the show, however, after Weldon tells them that their father will not be allowed to join the production. Pete is released from jail just as Prohibition is passed, but having read his children's rave review in Variety , he refuses to return to the act and goes to work on the Patriotic Charities Benefit Show. Jimmy and Patsy join their father on stage, however, and when Weldon sees their performance, he agrees to book the trio. Pete and Lillian are then reunited, as are Jimmy and Sheila, and the Monahans are now a quintet.

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

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