Cast & Crew
Sailors Joe Carter and Skip Edwards look forward enthusiastically to their leave as they arrive at the port of Los Angeles. Realizing they have no money, however, the pair plead for a loan from their gullible, but principled buddy, Francis "Moby" Dickerson. Moby tries to avoid telling Joe and Skip about his plans to spend his leave on Santa Catalina Island, but the boys find a pamphlet in Moby's locker and eagerly insist on going along. Once on land, Joe and Skip force Moby into a rowdy bar, where they hope to increase his money by gambling. Instead, the trio loses all of Moby's three hundred dollars when they are conned and drugged by three women and the bartender. When they awaken in an alley the next morning, Moby is anxious to report the theft, but Joe admits that because the bar is off limits, they would end up in the brig if they did. Joe then promises to get the despondent Moby to Catalina and talks the cruiser captain into letting the men sail to the island. Moby soon discovers, however, that Joe has promised that he will work the ship's concession stand for their passage. On board, singer and dancer Gay Knight falls for Skip and offers to get the boys a room in her hotel on Catalina. When they arrive at the Island Chateau bungalows, however, Joe and Skip discover they only have enough of the money that Joe has earned for two of them to stay in a cottage. Joe convinces Moby that it is best for him to sneak in later because he is the smallest of the three. Waiting for nightfall in a nearby park, Moby is accidentally struck in the head by a horseshoe tossed by Nancy Flynn, whose father owns the Chateau. When Joe spots Nancy with Moby, he quickly introduces himself. Learning that the boys are broke again, Gay offers to mention them to her boss at the Cabrillo nightclub. That evening, Joe and Skip dine on a sumptuous meal at the Cabrillo, while Moby works as a waiter to pay for it. Later, Skip joins Gay in her dancing act. Furious when Joe refuses to tip him, Moby hurls a stack of plates and is promptly fired. Outside, Moby runs into Nancy, who tells him about a swank casino nearby that is free for servicemen and accompanies him there. Moby's delight in dancing with Nancy is short-lived, for Joe arrives and immediately cuts in. Dejected, Moby returns to the Chateau, where he falls asleep in the wrong cottage and must creep away before the female occupants discover him. The next morning, Joe and Skip, out of money again, pawn Moby's watch, then entertain Gay and Nancy on a tour of the island. When the two couples settle on the beach, Moby wanders away to the dock and asks the cruiser captain if he might work his way back to the mainland. The captain agrees and while waiting, Moby spots Jane Stanton struggling to start her speed boat. Moby offers to help, but accidentally ends up being pulled into the water. Feeling guilty, Jane offers to take him to her father's yacht in order to dry out his clothes. On board the yacht, Moby gets along well with Jane's millionaire father, Commodore Stanton, who declares that Moby would make a welcome addition to his soft drink company and promises him a good job once his naval service has ended. Jane then receives an invitation to a party on board another yacht around the island, and invites Moby. Meanwhile, Joe, Skip and the girls feel guilty about ignoring Moby and begin searching for him. On the way to the opposite side of the island, Jane's boat stalls and while she and Moby try to fix it, they both fall overboard when the boat abruptly starts. Moby helps Jane to shore, then, using the position of the stars, determines the way back to the nearest town, which is six miles away. The Coast Guard finds Jane's empty speedboat and returns it to the commodore, who immediately forms a search party. Soon the entire island is aware of Jane and Moby's disappearance. While traipsing through the island jungle underbrush, Moby provides the exhausted Jane with some goat's milk, prompting her to call him her hero. Falling into a reverie, Moby imagines himself a fearless knight, Sir Francis the Dragon, who battles cutthroat pirates Black Joe and Skip for Lady Jane's hand. Back in town, Joe, Skip and the girls offer to help the commodore's search team, but then break into a fight over who mistreated Moby. As the boys are about to be arrested, Moby and Jane appear. Jane relates Moby's skill and courage to her father, who in gratitude offers to host the rest of Moby's leave. Moby then has the commodore intercede on Joe and Skip's behalf with the sheriff and invites them along to the Stantons'.
Charles Lawton Jr.
The early '50s were a difficult period for Rooney. He had left MGM in 1949 after studio head Louis B. Mayer turned down his plea to produce a radio version of the Andy Hardy films. Even though his last contract picture, Words and Music (1948), was a hit, he had trouble finding his footing as an independent actor. After attempting to toughen his image with two low-budget crime pictures, he reverted to comic form with He's a Cockeyed Wonder (1950), which kicked off a short-term contract with Columbia Pictures that continued with another military comedy Sound Off (1952). The studio on Gower Gulch was moving up in Hollywood, having survived the loss of its top director, Frank Capra, to develop a line of gritty modern dramas such as All the King's Men (1949) and From Here to Eternity (1953), but it was a still a step down from MGM. It was far from the bottom for Rooney, who would also make films for Poverty Row studios like Eagle-Lion and Republic. It would be another year before he finally reinvented himself as a character actor in The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954), followed by an Oscar®-nominated supporting performance in The Bold and the Brave (1956) and acclaimed work in the television dramas The Comedian (1957) and Eddie (1958).
Rooney's singing co-star, Dick Haymes, had been floundering, too. One of the most popular big-band crooners of the '40s, second only to Frank Sinatra, he had signed a contract with 20th Century-Fox, where he co-starred with Betty Grable in Diamond Horseshoe (1945) and The Shocking Miss Pilgrim (1947). But though his record sales were still going strong, the disastrous Carnival in Costa Rica (1947) had brought a premature end to his studio contract. Subsequent films were less than successful, and as his singing career started to wane in the '50s, he became more famous for his disastrous marriages than anything else. His whirlwind romance with Columbia's biggest star, Rita Hayworth, brought him to the studio, where she convinced her boss, Harry Cohn, to give him starring roles in this film and Cruisin' Down the River (1953).
All Ashore's dancing team, Ryan and McDonald, could at least claim to have found love after leaving the majors. She had been a prominent musical star at Universal, most often teamed with Donald O'Connor. But when the studio changed management while she was out on maternity leave, she returned to find herself out of a job. McDonald had started with great promise at MGM, but the studio already had Rooney for the most important juvenile leads, so he only worked sporadically. His contract ended with Good News (1947). After that, he moved to Eagle-Lion, where he teamed twice with Ryan, in Shamrock Hill and There's a Girl in My Heart (both 1949). When her marriage to actor James Cross ended in 1952, the team started dating. They would marry in 1953. All Ashore would be the last film for both, though they would continue performing together in nightclubs and on television until their divorce in 1957. When McDonald died a few months after Ryan's re-marriage (to Hawaiian real-estate developer Eddie Sherman), the story spread that he had taken an overdose of sleeping pills in despair over his declining career and the loss of Ryan. Actually, his television career was picking up at the time and the coroner's report found no drugs in his bloodstream. He apparently died after choking on food in his hotel room.
While the film's stars were, at least temporarily for Rooney, on the way down in Hollywood, its writing-directing team was among Columbia's brightest new talents. Director Richard Quine had started out as an actor on Broadway, scoring a hit in the 1939 Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein musical Very Warm for May. After a few films, he joined the MGM stock company as one of "The Three Balls of Fire," a musical act featuring Rooney and McDonald, in Babes on Broadway (1941). He would continue at MGM until 1948, at which time he got a taste of directing as an assistant on the Columbia boxing film Leather Gloves (1948). Columbia would give him his first solo feature in 1951 (When My Baby Smiles at Me), and he would direct former co-star Rooney for the first time a year later in Sound Off. After undertaking a variety of projects, he would establish his niche as a director of light comedies with stars like Judy Holiday and Kim Novak, almost marrying the latter. One woman he did marry was Fran Jeffries, on the rebound after her divorce from Haymes.
Quine's writing partner at the time was Rooney's former roommate, Blake Edwards. A former actor, Edwards teamed with Quine as a writer after working with him on Leather Gloves. Eventually, he would move into directing, eclipsing his partner with such hits as Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) and the Pink Panther movies.
Producer: Jonie Taps
Director: Richard Quine
Screenplay: Blake Edwards, Richard Quine
Based on characters created by Eurania Rouverol
Cinematography: Charles Lawton, Jr.
Art Director: Walter Holscher
Score: Morris Stoloff
Cast: Mickey Rooney (Francis 'Moby' Dickerson), Dick Haymes (Joe Carter), Peggy Ryan (Gay Night), Ray McDonald (Skip Edwards), Barbara Bates (Jane Stanton), Jody Lawrence (Nancy Flynn), Jean Willes (Rose), Joan Shawlee (Hedy), Ed Fury (Tennis Player), Emil Sitka (Bartender).
by Frank Miller
Peggy Ryan (1924-2004)
Born Margaret O'Rene Ryan on August 28, 1924, in Long Beach, California, Ryan began dancing professionally as a toddler in her parents' vaudeville act, the Dancing Ryans, and was discovered by George Murphy when she was 12. Murphy arranged for young Peggy to dance with him in the Universal musical Top of the Town (1937). She would go on to make a few more film appearances over the next few years - the most striking of which as a starving, homeless girl in John Ford's The Grapes of Wrath (1940) - yet for the most part, she was hardly noticeable apart from a few dance numbers.
Her luck changed when Universal cast her opposite another teenage hoofer, Donald O'Connor in What's Cookin'? (1942). From then on, they teamed in a series of innocuous musicals that were low on production values, but high on youthful pluck. Just check out some of their titles: Private Buckaroo, Give Out, Sisters!, Get Hep to Love (all 1942); Top Man, Mr. Big (both 1943); Chip Off the Old Block, This Is the Life, and Bowery to Broadway (all 1944). They may have not been high art, but jitterbuggin' kids loved it, and given the low investment Universal put into these pictures, they turned quite the profit.
Her career slowed down after the war. In 1945, she married songwriter James Cross, and didn't return to films until 1949, when she made two minor musicals that year: Shamrock Hill, There's a Girl in My Heart. She divorced Cross in 1952 and met her second husband, dancer Ray McDonald, in her final film appearance, a forgettable musical with Mickey Rooney, All Ashore (1953). Tragically, McDonald died in 1957 after a food choking incident, and the following year, Ryan moved to Honolulu after marrying her third husband, Honolulu Advertiser columnist Eddie Sherman. She kept herself busy teaching dance classes at the University of Hawaii, but in 1969, she found herself back in front of the camera as Jenny Sherman, secretary to Detective Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord) on the long-running show Hawaii Five-O,. She played the role for seven years, remaining until 1976.
Eventually, Ryan relocated with her husband to Las Vegas, where for the last few years, she was teaching tap dancing to a whole new generation of hoofers. She is survived by her son, Shawn; daughter Kerry; and five grandchildren.
by Michael T. Toole
Peggy Ryan (1924-2004)
All Ashore was the third and final film in which dancers-actors Peggy Ryan and Ray McDonald appeared together.
Released in United States Winter February 1953
Released in United States Winter February 1953