Jitterbugs (1943)

74-75 mins | Comedy | 11 June 1943

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HISTORY

Although HR news items indicate that the working title of this film was Me and My Shadow , information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, reveals that the screenplay for Me and My Shadow bears no resemblance to the story of Jitterbugs . Me and My Shadow , an unproduced screenplay by Paul Yawitz, was a spy comedy in which Laurel and Hardy were to tangle with Nazis while attempting to care for an orphaned baby. The extent of Yawitz' contribution to Jitterbugs , if any, has not been determined. According to HR news items, contributing writer Henry Lehrman was a former production executive for Twentieth Century-Fox who "returned to the studio after an absence of more than two years to aid in script preparation" for the production. Some scenes in the picture, which marked the screen debut of radio actor Bob Bailey, were shot on location in Palmdale, CA, according to HR . The studio story files reveal that in 1950, a 3,770-foot cut version of the film was ... More Less

Although HR news items indicate that the working title of this film was Me and My Shadow , information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, reveals that the screenplay for Me and My Shadow bears no resemblance to the story of Jitterbugs . Me and My Shadow , an unproduced screenplay by Paul Yawitz, was a spy comedy in which Laurel and Hardy were to tangle with Nazis while attempting to care for an orphaned baby. The extent of Yawitz' contribution to Jitterbugs , if any, has not been determined. According to HR news items, contributing writer Henry Lehrman was a former production executive for Twentieth Century-Fox who "returned to the studio after an absence of more than two years to aid in script preparation" for the production. Some scenes in the picture, which marked the screen debut of radio actor Bob Bailey, were shot on location in Palmdale, CA, according to HR . The studio story files reveal that in 1950, a 3,770-foot cut version of the film was released. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
29 May 1943.
---
Daily Variety
24 May 43
p. 3.
Film Daily
25 May 43
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Sep 42
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Oct 42
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Feb 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Feb 43
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Feb 43
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Mar 43
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
24 May 43
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
29 May 1943.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
8 May 43
p. 1305.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
29 May 43
p. 1338.
New York Times
5 Jun 43
p. 12.
Variety
26 May 43
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
DANCE
Dances staged by
SOURCES
MUSIC
"I Had the Craziest Dream," music by Harry Warren
"That's A-Plenty," music by Lew Pollack.
SONGS
"The Moon Kissed the Mississippi," "If the Shoe Fits, Wear It" and "I've Gotta See for Myself," music and lyrics by Charles Newman and Lew Pollack.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Me and My Shadow
Release Date:
11 June 1943
Production Date:
15 February--mid March 1943
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
11 June 1943
Copyright Number:
LP12220
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
74-75
Length(in feet):
6,750
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
9215
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

As they drive through a desert, bumbling musicians Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, whose two-man band is advertised as "a symphony in a nutshell," run out of gas. They are rescued by confidence man Chester Wright, who convinces them that he has invented a pill that can turn water into gasoline. Chester takes the unsuspecting Stan and Ollie to the nearby town of Midvale, where he has them sell the phony pills at a carnival. When an angry crowd demands its money back, Chester pretends to be a bunco squad investigator and "arrests" Stan and Ollie. Chester drives away with the boys, but also inside their trailer is Susan Cowan, a lovely Midvale woman whose purse Chester had put in his pocket while they were dancing to Stan and Ollie's jitterbug music. As Chester is returning Susan's purse, out falls a photograph of her mother, finalizing a real estate deal with financiers Malcolm Bennett and Henry Corcoran. Chester recognizes the alleged businessmen as swindlers and warns Susan that her mother has been cheated out of the ten thousand dollars that she invested. When Chester drives Susan back to town, she investigates and learns that he is telling the truth. Chester persuades her to let him pursue the men instead of calling the police, but she insists on accompanying him and the boys to New Orleans, where Chester thinks Bennett and Corcoran have gone for the racing season. Checking into the hotel where Corcoran is staying, Ollie pretends to be the rich and romantic Col. Watterson Bixby of Leaping Frog, Texas, with Stan as his valet and Chester as his secretary. ... +


As they drive through a desert, bumbling musicians Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, whose two-man band is advertised as "a symphony in a nutshell," run out of gas. They are rescued by confidence man Chester Wright, who convinces them that he has invented a pill that can turn water into gasoline. Chester takes the unsuspecting Stan and Ollie to the nearby town of Midvale, where he has them sell the phony pills at a carnival. When an angry crowd demands its money back, Chester pretends to be a bunco squad investigator and "arrests" Stan and Ollie. Chester drives away with the boys, but also inside their trailer is Susan Cowan, a lovely Midvale woman whose purse Chester had put in his pocket while they were dancing to Stan and Ollie's jitterbug music. As Chester is returning Susan's purse, out falls a photograph of her mother, finalizing a real estate deal with financiers Malcolm Bennett and Henry Corcoran. Chester recognizes the alleged businessmen as swindlers and warns Susan that her mother has been cheated out of the ten thousand dollars that she invested. When Chester drives Susan back to town, she investigates and learns that he is telling the truth. Chester persuades her to let him pursue the men instead of calling the police, but she insists on accompanying him and the boys to New Orleans, where Chester thinks Bennett and Corcoran have gone for the racing season. Checking into the hotel where Corcoran is staying, Ollie pretends to be the rich and romantic Col. Watterson Bixby of Leaping Frog, Texas, with Stan as his valet and Chester as his secretary. Hoping to entrap "the colonel," Corcoran sends his girl friend Dorcas to his room to romance him. Ollie and Dorcas flirt over cocktails while Stan hides under the chaise and drinks brandy. The outraged Corcoran enters and threatens to sue Ollie for estrangement of his wife's affections, but Ollie pretends to be a Midvale sheriff. Ollie claims to have an arrest warrant for Corcoran and accepts the con man's five-thousand dollar share of the money he stole from Susan's mother in exchange for letting him go. Chester then sends Susan to the riverboat run by Bennett to audition as a singer. Bennett is impressed by Susan's abundant talent and asserts that he could build a big show around her if only he had an investor. Armed with Stan, who is dressed as her rich aunt, Emily Cartwright, Susan returns to the boat, and Bennett, who has borrowed his stake from gangster Tony Queen, is taken in by the deception. After Chester disappears with Tony's money, Bennett and Tony's men discover the swindle and take Susan, Stan and Ollie aboard the boat, where Bennett decides to open the show as planned. Stan and Ollie are sent below to work the boiler, but, using Chester's gas pills, they succeed in escaping their guard and in rescuing Susan from Tony's advances. The ship then escapes its mooring and the beleaguered Stan and Ollie must steer it along the crowded river. Their adventure nears an end when Chester appears on a police boat and assures Susan that he has wired the money to her mother. As Chester and Susan leave together, Stan and Ollie are forced to jump into the river to escape their pursuers. +

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.