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Go, Johnny, Go!

Go, Johnny, Go!(1959)

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The film's working titles were Johnny Melody, The Swinging Story of Johnny Melody and The Swinging Story. Some sources list the title as Go Johnny Go, without punctuation. Actress Barbara Wooddell's surname is misspelled "Woodell" in the cast credits. The title was inspired by Jimmy Clanton's popular single "Go, Jimmy, Go" as well as the refrain from Chuck Berry's hit song "Johnny B. Goode," which is listed as "Johnny Be Good" in the onscreen credits. The song is sung by Berry over the opening and closing credits. The song "Once Again," which a press fact sheet included in the AMPAS Library file on the film states was sung by Clanton and Sandy Stewart, was not heard in the print viewed. Berry, Clanton and Stewart are the only rock and roll stars to act as well as sing in the film. The others only sing their musical numbers, most in a stage performance setting.
       Go, Johnny, Go! marked the motion picture debuts of Clanton and Stewart. Clanton made only one other film, the 1961 release Teenage Millionaire (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70). Go, Johnny, Go! also marked the final screen appearance of "rockabilly" performer Eddie Cochran (1938-1960), who died in an automobile crash on April 17, 1960, and the only screen appearance of popular teenage idol Ritchie Valens (1941-1959), who died in a plane crash on February 3, 1959, along with fellow rock and rollers Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper, shortly after filming his song for the picture.
       Go, Johnny, Go! was also the final film of disc jockey and producer Alan Freed (1921-1965), who had previously appeared in several rock and roll-themed films. Not long after the film's release, Freed became the center of the radio "Payola" scandal that ended his career. He was the subject of the 1978 biographical musical American Hot Wax, directed by Flooyd Mutrux and starring Tim McIntire as Freed. For additional information on Payola and Freed's early career, please consult the entry below for the 1956 film Rock Around the Clock.