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Carolina Blues was the seventh and final film starring "The Ol' Perfessor," bandleader Kay Kyser. Fresh off their USO world tour, this 1944 musical continues the storyline of Around the World, released the previous year: Kyser and his band get back to the U.S. and agree, at the behest of a wealthy industrialist named Carver, to perform at a defense plant. When the band's vocalist runs off to get married, Carver's daughter steps in to save the show as well as win Kyser's heart.
A popular radio personality with his hit show, Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge (1939-49), Kyser translated well to screen, most often playing himself in the light-hearted B-movies he made for RKO, Columbia and MGM. In Carolina Blues, his love interest is played by Ann Miller, the tap dancer-turned-actress who would later steal the spotlight in Easter Parade (1948) and Kiss Me Kate (1953).
Vaudevillian Victor Moore lends more than a hand with the supporting cast, he is the cast: through trick photography, he plays no less than 6 members of the Carver family clan! Armed with such talent, the Columbia Pictures publicity department crowed with the taglines, "Your head will spin to those Kay Kyser melodies! Your sides will split at those Victor Moore insanities! Your feet will tap to those legnificent Ann Miller dances!" Legnificent, indeed!
You could also say that Carolina Blues is a case of life imitating art: Kyser's singer, "Georgeous" Georgia Carroll, joined the group in 1943 and did indeed end up leaving the band to get married...to Kay Kyser!
Producer: Samuel Bischoff
Director: Leigh Jason
Screenplay: Kenneth Earl, Jack Henley, Joseph Hoffman, Al Martin, M.M. Musselman
Cinematography: Franz Planer
Film Editing: James Sweeney
Art Direction: Lionel Banks, Edward Jewell
Music: Dudley Brooks, Walter Bullock, George Duning
Cast: Kay Kyser (Kay Kyser), Ann Miller (Julie Carver), Victor Moore (Phineas), Jeff Donnell (Charlotte Barton), Howard Freeman (Tom Gordon), Georgia Carroll (Georgia Carroll).
by Eleanor Quin