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On Moonlight Bay

On Moonlight Bay(1951)


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The film's working title was Moonlight Bay. The opening credits are superimposed over period photographs. Hollywood Reporter news items reported that from 2 March-March 8, 1951, director Roy Del Ruth was ill with the flu and Raoul Walsh took over directing duties in his absence. Although their appearance has not been confirmed, according to Hollywood Reporter, Rudi Friml, Jr. and the Bob Mitchell Choir appeared in the picture. On Moonlight Bay marked the first feature film acting role of radio singer Jack Smith (1915-2006), popularly known as "Smiling" Jack Smith. The singer made his feature film debut as himself in the 1947 film Make Believe Ballroom.
       In a letter to Jack L. Warner dated October 31, 1950, which was included in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, PCA head Joseph I. Breen objected to "William's theorizing against the institution of marriage, and for what amounts to a philosophy of free love. Such subjects are of far too serious a nature to be treated in a comedy atmosphere such as this." In the same letter, Breen also objected to the scene in which "Wesley" and "Jim" take "Jim's" father's gun into the barn. Breen wrote, "We feel it will be necessary to substitute some prop other than a gun for the children to be handling in these scenes. The danger of showing adolescents with guns in their hands is only too clear and we are of the firm opinion that such things should be kept off the screen." According to an article in New York Times, the studio explained that the sequence was a classic of American humor and then proposed substituting a blunderbuss for the pistol. The PCA agreed to the substitution, believing that weapon to be less "gangsterish."
       On May 5, 1952, Gordon MacRae, Mary Wickes, Eddie Marr and Billy Gray reprised their roles for a radio adaptation of the film on Lux Radio Theatre. Jane Wyman played Doris Day's role, "Marjorie Winfield." Most of the cast members of On Moonlight Bay appeared together again in Warner Bros.' 1953 sequel, By the Light of the Silvery Moon, which was directed by David Butler (see entry above). For a description of other films based on the Penrod stories, see the entry for Penrod and Sam in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40.