A Girl, a Guy and a Gob
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Lucille Ball made nearly forty films in her eight years at RKO. Over the course of these films, she went from bit player to leading lady. Ball's first RKO picture was Roberta (1935); she had a non-speaking role as a French fashion model. Her final film for the studio was Seven Days' Leave (1942) and she, along with co-star Victor Mature, received top billing. A Girl, a Guy, and a Gob (1941) came towards the end of Ball's RKO days. She had already achieved leading lady status and would only make four more films for RKO before stepping up to MGM.
As for A Girl, a Guy, and a Gob, the girl in question is, of course, Lucille Ball. She plays a secretary named Dot. The guy is Edmond O'Brien, Ball's boss at a shipping firm. And the gob is George Murphy, a sailor called "Coffee Cup." (A gob, for those not up on their military slang, is a term for a sailor in the U.S. Navy.) "Coffee Cup" is set to marry Dot when her boss comes into the picture and romantic complications ensue.
According to a pre-production item in The Hollywood Reporter, the film's original cinematographer was Merritt Gerstad, who was hired to photograph the production's first two weeks. After that, Russell Metty, the credited cinematographer, took over, having finished up work on No, No Nanette (1940). Also of note was the film's producer who was none other than silent comedian Harold Lloyd. A Girl, a Guy, and a Gob was the first of two films produced by Lloyd for RKO and the first film he produced but did not star in. Lloyd's second RKO production was the Kay Kyser vehicle My Favorite Spy (1942). Reportedly Lloyd was a hands-on producer, who dropped by the set of A Girl, a Guy, and a Gob and offered comedic advice. Edmond O'Brien's handkerchief bit, for example, had been used previously in Lloyd's Welcome Danger (1929).
RKO borrowed George Murphy from MGM for A Girl, a Guy, and a Gob. Murphy was well established in his career by this time, having appeared in films like Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937) and Little Nellie Kelly (1940) with Judy Garland, as well as dancing with Shirley Temple in Little Miss Broadway (1938). Edmond O'Brien, on the other hand, was just beginning his career when he made A Girl, a Guy, and a Gob. It was only his third film but lacked the prestige of his previous part in the classic 1939 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Also starring in A Girl, a Guy, and a Gob is Henry Travers, whose impressive screen credits include High Sierra (1941), Mrs. Miniver (1942), The Bells of St. Mary's (1945) and perhaps his most memorable role as angel Clarence in It's a Wonderful Life (1946). Character actor Franklin Pangborn also pops up in A Girl, a Guy, and a Gob as the pet store owner. Pangborn appeared in hundreds of films, beginning in silent pictures. He made his mark in The Bank Dick (1940) and Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941) with W.C. Fields, and played a memorable role in Sullivan's Travels (1941).
Producer: Harold Lloyd
Director: Richard Wallace
Screenplay: Gerald Drayson Adams (story), Grover Jones (story), Bert Granet, Frank Ryan
Cinematography: Russell Metty
Film Editing: George Crone
Art Direction: Van Nest Polglase
Music: Roy Webb
Cast: George Murphy (Claudius J. Cup), Lucille Ball (Dorothy Duncan), Edmond O'Brien (Stephen Herrick), Henry Travers (Abel Martin), Franklin Pangborn (Pet shop owner).
by Stephanie Thames