Follow the Fleet


1h 50m 1936
Follow the Fleet

Brief Synopsis

Two sailors on leave romance a dance-hall hostess and her prim sister.

Photos & Videos

Follow the Fleet - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Follow the Fleet - Movie Posters
Follow the Fleet - Publicity Stills

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Adaptation
Romantic Comedy
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Feb 21, 1936
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Shore Leave; A Sea-goin' Comedy in Three Acts by Hubert Osborne, as produced by David Belasco (New York, 8 Aug 1922).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 50m
Sound
Mono (RCA Victor System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

While on shore leave in San Francisco, lonely sailors "Bake" Baker and "Bilge" Smith dash to the Paradise Club, a cheap nightclub featuring ten-cent taxi dancers. Upon entering, playboy Bilge is approached by Connie Martin, a bespectacled, timid schoolteacher. After Bilge brushes Connie off, Bake discovers that Connie's sister Sherry, his former dance partner and girl friend, is performing at the club. While Bake and Sherry discuss their failed romance and Sherry's career plans, Connie is transformed by Sherry's chorus girl friends, who remove her glasses and dress her in one of Sherry's sexy gowns. On the dance floor, Bilge fails to recognize the re-vamped Connie and flirts with her as though a stranger. After Bilge and Connie leave the club together, Bake and Sherry inadvertently become contestants in the club's weekly dance competition and win. To prove to Sherry that he would make a good manager for her, Bake informs the club owner that Sherry deserves better than the Paradise. Although Sherry is fired on the spot, Bake reassures her that he can get her an audition with New York theatrical producer Jim Nolan the next day. At Sherry's apartment, Connie reveals her identity as the bespectacled music teacher to a surprised Bilge and impresses him with her cooking and her devotion to the sea. As soon as Connie mentions marriage, however, Bilge loses interest in her and accepts a ride with Iris Manning, Sherry's divorced, socialite friend. When Bake returns to his ship, he learns that the fleet is planning an immediate departure and will not be returning to San Francisco until the spring. During the sailors' absence, Connie and Sherry arrange with family friend, Captain Hickey, to restore their deceased father's boat so that Bilge will have a ship of his own to command. During his tour, Bake makes extra cash by offering dance lessons to his fellow sailors and performs a jazz dance number for visiting British dignitaries. In anticipation of Bilge's arrival in San Francisco, Connie prepares a loving feast, while Bake vows to re-ingratiate himself with Sherry. Bilge fails to show up for his dinner, however, and Sherry disappoints Bake by refusing to return his telephone calls. Undaunted, Bake locates Jim Nolan, who is in town conducting auditions for new performers. Unaware that Nolan is about to audition Sherry at that very moment, Bake accidentally sabotages her chances at a contract by slipping bicarbonate of soda in a water glass meant for Nolan's "new singer" just before Sherry is to sing. That night Sherry, Connie, Bilge and Bake converge at a party given by Iris. After Sherry, who has learned that Bake was responsible for her disastrous audition, tries to provoke a fight between Bake and his superior officer, Connie discovers Bilge embracing Iris. Although devastated, Connie decides to stay in San Francisco until she can raise enough money to pay back Captain Hickey for restoring her boat. To help, Bake arranges with Sherry to do a fund-raising show on board the boat and ends Bilge's relationship with Iris by staging a phony love scene between the socialite and himself, which Bilge witnesses. Just before the show is to start, however, Bake is confined to his ship because of his altercation with his superior officer. In spite of his orders, Bake jumps overboard and is pursued to Connie's boat by Bilge. After Bilge learns the truth about Connie's sacrifice, he refuses to arrest Bake until after the show. Buoyed by their success in a show-stopping duet, which is seen by an appreciative Nolan, Bake and Sherry overcome their differences and agree to marry. Although facing a term in the brig, Bake happily returns to his ship with a lovestruck Bilge.

Photo Collections

Follow the Fleet - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are a few photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of Follow the Fleet (1936), starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
Follow the Fleet - Movie Posters
Here are a few original release American movie posters from RKO's Follow the Fleet (1936), starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
Follow the Fleet - Publicity Stills
Here are some Publicity Stills from RKO's Follow the Fleet (1936), starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.

Videos

Movie Clip

Trailer

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Adaptation
Romantic Comedy
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Feb 21, 1936
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Shore Leave; A Sea-goin' Comedy in Three Acts by Hubert Osborne, as produced by David Belasco (New York, 8 Aug 1922).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 50m
Sound
Mono (RCA Victor System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Articles

Follow the Fleet


For their fourth film together, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers borrowed the most popular elements from previous pictures, but with enough variations to make Follow the Fleet (1936) their second-highest grossing film ever. And although critics would carp about the story taking up too much screen time, it has one of the team's best scores ever (by Irving Berlin), including such hits as "Let's Face the Music and Dance," "Let Yourself Go" and "I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket."

The story idea was credited to the 1922 play Shore Leave, about a sailor who falls in love during a 24-hour leave. The play had already been adapted to musical form in 1925 as Hit the Deck, with such Vincent Youmans hits as "Sometimes I'm Happy" and "Hallelujah." Both versions were filmed: the straight play in 1925 and the musical in 1930. Nor would the Astaire-Rogers version mark the plot's last appearance. Hit the Deck, complete with Youmans' score, was given an official remake in 1955 with Jane Powell, Debbie Reynolds, Ann Miller, Vic Damone, Russ Tamblyn and Tony Martin (who had been an extra back in 1936). It would inspire just about every Navy musical ever made, particularly two with different scores, The Fleet's In (1942), with Dorothy Lamour, William Holden, Eddie Bracken and Betty Hutton; and Here Come the Waves (1944), with Hutton, Bing Crosby and Sonny Tufts.

Producer Pandro S. Berman assigned the script and score to writers Dwight Taylor and Allan Scott and songwriter Irving Berlin, all of whom had just finished work on what would turn out to be Astaire and Rogers' biggest hit, Top Hat (1935, it opened to SRO crowds and raves as Follow the Fleet was going into production). And just to confuse the story credits more, the writers drew elements from Roberta (1935), in which Fred and Ginger had provided comic relief to a serious love story pairing Randolph Scott with Irene Dunne. The studio wanted to cast Dunne in the new film as Rogers' sister and Scott's love interest, but she had other commitments. As a result, some numbers Berlin had written for her were cut from the score and her big ballad, "Let's Face the Music and Dance," became one of Fred and Ginger's most memorable duets.

As was his custom, Astaire began working on the choreography months before filming started. Helping were choreographer Hermes Pan and pianist-arranger Hal Borne, who had been working with him since the film that introduced him to Rogers, Flying Down to Rio (1933). The comic dance duel "I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket" was created to replace a scene in which the stars were to insult each other while practicing a dance routine. Instead, Astaire and Rogers developed a genial collection of terpsichorean mistakes that made it one of the screen's best comic dance numbers. By this point, Rogers had grown so much as a dancer that they even trusted her with a solo routine, a stirring tap solo to "Let Yourself Go."

For the grand finale, a show-within-a-show set on a battleship, the two played a losing gambler and a woman of mystery dancing to "Let's Face the Music and Dance." On the day of shooting, Rogers showed up wearing a beaded dress that weighed 25 pounds. Although Astaire approved it, they both had to adjust to its weight, particularly when she spun around. Astaire wanted to do the dance in one long take, but the first time they tried it, he forgot to dodge the sleeves after one spin and they hit him in the face, almost knocking him out. He managed to complete the take, but could barely remember what he'd done. So they spent the rest of the day doing more than 20 additional takes, none of which worked. The next day they were ready to do it again when they watched the first take and realized it was perfect. Fans still watch for the moment Rogers' costume decks her dancing partner.

Follow the Fleet provided early opportunities for three budding stars. In his film debut, extra Tony Martin almost got the chance to sing "Let's Face the Music and Dance" until the production team decided to give the number to Astaire. He would have to leave RKO to achieve musical stardom in such pictures as Sing, Baby, Sing (1936) with future wife Alice Faye. To replace Dunne, RKO cast popular big-band singer Harriet Hilliard, though she had to dye her blonde hair brown so as not to compete with Rogers. Critics were less than impressed, and many television prints cut her two numbers, but she would go on to fame years later under her married name, Harriet Nelson. And in her largest role to date, newcomer Lucille Ball scored laughs as a wisecracking dancer. Ball had only been with the studio a year, and had almost been dropped until Rogers' mother, acting coach Lela Rogers, threatened to quit if the studio didn't recognize her star potential. Two decades later, Ball would end up buying the RKO lot. In 1936, however, she was comforted by the fact that Follow the Fleet brought her first fan letter: "You might give the tall, gum-chewing blonde more parts and see if she can't make the grade - a good gamble."

Producer: Pandro S. Berman
Director: Mark Sandrich
Screenplay: Dwight Taylor, Allan Scott, based on the play, Shore Leave by Hubert Osborne
Cinematography: David Abel
Art Direction: Van Nest Polglase, Carroll Clark
Music: Irving Berlin
Principal Cast: Fred Astaire (Bake Baker), Ginger Rogers (Sherry Martin), Randolph Scott (Bilge Smith), Harriet Hilliard (Connie Martin), Astrid Allwyn (Iris Manning), Lucille Ball (Kitty Collins), Betty Grable (Singer), Tony Martin (Sailor).
BW-111m. Closed captioning.

by Frank Miller

Follow The Fleet

Follow the Fleet

For their fourth film together, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers borrowed the most popular elements from previous pictures, but with enough variations to make Follow the Fleet (1936) their second-highest grossing film ever. And although critics would carp about the story taking up too much screen time, it has one of the team's best scores ever (by Irving Berlin), including such hits as "Let's Face the Music and Dance," "Let Yourself Go" and "I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket." The story idea was credited to the 1922 play Shore Leave, about a sailor who falls in love during a 24-hour leave. The play had already been adapted to musical form in 1925 as Hit the Deck, with such Vincent Youmans hits as "Sometimes I'm Happy" and "Hallelujah." Both versions were filmed: the straight play in 1925 and the musical in 1930. Nor would the Astaire-Rogers version mark the plot's last appearance. Hit the Deck, complete with Youmans' score, was given an official remake in 1955 with Jane Powell, Debbie Reynolds, Ann Miller, Vic Damone, Russ Tamblyn and Tony Martin (who had been an extra back in 1936). It would inspire just about every Navy musical ever made, particularly two with different scores, The Fleet's In (1942), with Dorothy Lamour, William Holden, Eddie Bracken and Betty Hutton; and Here Come the Waves (1944), with Hutton, Bing Crosby and Sonny Tufts. Producer Pandro S. Berman assigned the script and score to writers Dwight Taylor and Allan Scott and songwriter Irving Berlin, all of whom had just finished work on what would turn out to be Astaire and Rogers' biggest hit, Top Hat (1935, it opened to SRO crowds and raves as Follow the Fleet was going into production). And just to confuse the story credits more, the writers drew elements from Roberta (1935), in which Fred and Ginger had provided comic relief to a serious love story pairing Randolph Scott with Irene Dunne. The studio wanted to cast Dunne in the new film as Rogers' sister and Scott's love interest, but she had other commitments. As a result, some numbers Berlin had written for her were cut from the score and her big ballad, "Let's Face the Music and Dance," became one of Fred and Ginger's most memorable duets. As was his custom, Astaire began working on the choreography months before filming started. Helping were choreographer Hermes Pan and pianist-arranger Hal Borne, who had been working with him since the film that introduced him to Rogers, Flying Down to Rio (1933). The comic dance duel "I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket" was created to replace a scene in which the stars were to insult each other while practicing a dance routine. Instead, Astaire and Rogers developed a genial collection of terpsichorean mistakes that made it one of the screen's best comic dance numbers. By this point, Rogers had grown so much as a dancer that they even trusted her with a solo routine, a stirring tap solo to "Let Yourself Go." For the grand finale, a show-within-a-show set on a battleship, the two played a losing gambler and a woman of mystery dancing to "Let's Face the Music and Dance." On the day of shooting, Rogers showed up wearing a beaded dress that weighed 25 pounds. Although Astaire approved it, they both had to adjust to its weight, particularly when she spun around. Astaire wanted to do the dance in one long take, but the first time they tried it, he forgot to dodge the sleeves after one spin and they hit him in the face, almost knocking him out. He managed to complete the take, but could barely remember what he'd done. So they spent the rest of the day doing more than 20 additional takes, none of which worked. The next day they were ready to do it again when they watched the first take and realized it was perfect. Fans still watch for the moment Rogers' costume decks her dancing partner. Follow the Fleet provided early opportunities for three budding stars. In his film debut, extra Tony Martin almost got the chance to sing "Let's Face the Music and Dance" until the production team decided to give the number to Astaire. He would have to leave RKO to achieve musical stardom in such pictures as Sing, Baby, Sing (1936) with future wife Alice Faye. To replace Dunne, RKO cast popular big-band singer Harriet Hilliard, though she had to dye her blonde hair brown so as not to compete with Rogers. Critics were less than impressed, and many television prints cut her two numbers, but she would go on to fame years later under her married name, Harriet Nelson. And in her largest role to date, newcomer Lucille Ball scored laughs as a wisecracking dancer. Ball had only been with the studio a year, and had almost been dropped until Rogers' mother, acting coach Lela Rogers, threatened to quit if the studio didn't recognize her star potential. Two decades later, Ball would end up buying the RKO lot. In 1936, however, she was comforted by the fact that Follow the Fleet brought her first fan letter: "You might give the tall, gum-chewing blonde more parts and see if she can't make the grade - a good gamble." Producer: Pandro S. Berman Director: Mark Sandrich Screenplay: Dwight Taylor, Allan Scott, based on the play, Shore Leave by Hubert Osborne Cinematography: David Abel Art Direction: Van Nest Polglase, Carroll Clark Music: Irving Berlin Principal Cast: Fred Astaire (Bake Baker), Ginger Rogers (Sherry Martin), Randolph Scott (Bilge Smith), Harriet Hilliard (Connie Martin), Astrid Allwyn (Iris Manning), Lucille Ball (Kitty Collins), Betty Grable (Singer), Tony Martin (Sailor). BW-111m. Closed captioning. by Frank Miller

Follow the Fleet on DVD


In the fifth of their ten pairings, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers star in Follow the Fleet, now available from Warner Home Video as a stand-alone disc, or as part of the boxed set The Astaire & Rogers Collection, Volume 1. Fresh off their success in Top Hat, Fred trades in his titular top hat and tails and slaps on a sailor cap. He plays an enlisted swabby who reconnects with former partner and former girlfriend Ginger, now convoying sailors on leave around a ballroom for a dime. RKO followed the same formula established in Roberta (1935), that of having a secondary duo play the romantic leads. So Randolph Scott and Harriet Hilliard come aboard for romantic relief, while Fred and Ginger supply everything else, like the cut-up comedy and the amazing dancing. And Irving Berlin brings to the table seven sparkling songs, like "Let Yourself Go," "We Saw the Sea," "I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket," and "Let's Face the Music and Dance."

The regular guy character of sailor man Bake Baker enables Fred to bring some comical moments to the film, like smacking bubble gum during his and Ginger's first number together in a dance contest. And the two of them are hilariously out-of-sync and out-of-step in the number "I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket." The routine is marked by some robust physical comedy and the playful manipulation with the conventions of a typical Fred & Ginger dance number.

As always, the dancing itself is sublime. The two of them make it look so easy, which is why the aforementioned number is so funny. The magical final dance sequence "Let's Face the Music and Dance" is one of Fred and Ginger's best, performed in one take, of course. Take note of Ginger's gown, made of weighty beads that reportedly weighed 35 pounds. During the dance sequence, you can see the sleeve of the dress twirl around and hit Fred in the face. Despite feeling like someone punched him in the eye, Fred continued the number without flinching. Follow the Fleet is also the first of the Astaire/Rogers films in which Ginger is given a dance solo.

Harriet Hilliard made her film debut in Follow the Fleet. A natural blond, she wears a brunette wig so as not to distract from the other blondie in the picture, Ginger Rogers. Hilliard later became a fixture on television with her husband Ozzie Nelson in the hit TV series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. And speaking of hit TV series, look fast for another blond named Lucille Ball, playing a bit part.

The DVD extras include the 13-minute featurette, "Follow the Fleet: The Origins of Those Dancing Feet." It is a brief history into how Fred and Ginger each got into show business, how they got their "big breaks," and where they first met. It includes interviews with Ava Astaire McKenzie (Fred's daughter), archivists, and biographers. Also included is the musical short, "Melody Master: Jimmy Lunceford and His Dance Orchestra" and the Merrie Melodies animated short "Let It Be Me."

For more information about Follow the Fleet, visit Warner Video. To order Follow the Fleet, go to TCM Shopping.

by Scott McGee

Follow the Fleet on DVD

In the fifth of their ten pairings, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers star in Follow the Fleet, now available from Warner Home Video as a stand-alone disc, or as part of the boxed set The Astaire & Rogers Collection, Volume 1. Fresh off their success in Top Hat, Fred trades in his titular top hat and tails and slaps on a sailor cap. He plays an enlisted swabby who reconnects with former partner and former girlfriend Ginger, now convoying sailors on leave around a ballroom for a dime. RKO followed the same formula established in Roberta (1935), that of having a secondary duo play the romantic leads. So Randolph Scott and Harriet Hilliard come aboard for romantic relief, while Fred and Ginger supply everything else, like the cut-up comedy and the amazing dancing. And Irving Berlin brings to the table seven sparkling songs, like "Let Yourself Go," "We Saw the Sea," "I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket," and "Let's Face the Music and Dance." The regular guy character of sailor man Bake Baker enables Fred to bring some comical moments to the film, like smacking bubble gum during his and Ginger's first number together in a dance contest. And the two of them are hilariously out-of-sync and out-of-step in the number "I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket." The routine is marked by some robust physical comedy and the playful manipulation with the conventions of a typical Fred & Ginger dance number. As always, the dancing itself is sublime. The two of them make it look so easy, which is why the aforementioned number is so funny. The magical final dance sequence "Let's Face the Music and Dance" is one of Fred and Ginger's best, performed in one take, of course. Take note of Ginger's gown, made of weighty beads that reportedly weighed 35 pounds. During the dance sequence, you can see the sleeve of the dress twirl around and hit Fred in the face. Despite feeling like someone punched him in the eye, Fred continued the number without flinching. Follow the Fleet is also the first of the Astaire/Rogers films in which Ginger is given a dance solo. Harriet Hilliard made her film debut in Follow the Fleet. A natural blond, she wears a brunette wig so as not to distract from the other blondie in the picture, Ginger Rogers. Hilliard later became a fixture on television with her husband Ozzie Nelson in the hit TV series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. And speaking of hit TV series, look fast for another blond named Lucille Ball, playing a bit part. The DVD extras include the 13-minute featurette, "Follow the Fleet: The Origins of Those Dancing Feet." It is a brief history into how Fred and Ginger each got into show business, how they got their "big breaks," and where they first met. It includes interviews with Ava Astaire McKenzie (Fred's daughter), archivists, and biographers. Also included is the musical short, "Melody Master: Jimmy Lunceford and His Dance Orchestra" and the Merrie Melodies animated short "Let It Be Me." For more information about Follow the Fleet, visit Warner Video. To order Follow the Fleet, go to TCM Shopping. by Scott McGee

Quotes

I don't often try to apologize 'cause I seldom make any mistakes.
- Bake Baker
Gosh, you're glad to see me.
- Bake Baker
Don'tcha friends dance?
- Cashier
Nah. They're underage. I hold 'em on my lap.
- Bake Baker
It isn't really that gentlemen prefer blondes. It's just that we look dumber.
- Sherry Martin
Let's kiss and make up.
- Bake Baker
No, let's just make up. That'll give you something to work for.
- Sherry Martin
"Well, I don't see any Admiral stripes on you!"
- Sherry Martin
"I like to go incognito just to mingle with the boys."
- Bake Baker

Trivia

For the dance number "Let Yourself Go," choreographer Hermes Pan scouted several talented amateurs from Los Angeles dance halls. The best couple was spliced into the routine.

The role of Connie Martin was originally planned for Irene Dunne, but she was unavailable.

Harriet Hilliard darkened her hair for the role to heighten the contrast between her and Ginger Rogers.

During the final dance sequence on the boat it is possible to see Fred Astaire hit in the face by Rogers' beaded sleeve. The sequence was shot again 23 times in the hope of capturing the magic of that take without the accident, but it wasn't to be, and this original take was used.

Bugle call: see also Gay Divorcee, The (1934) and Roberta (1935).

Notes

Harriet Hilliard and Tony Martin made their screen debuts in this film. RKO borrowed Randolph Scott from Paramount and Astrid Allwyn from Fox for the production. According to a March 1936 Pacific Audit and Research Bureau (PARB) report on the film, Rogers walked out on the production rehearsals on September 18, 1935, complaining of physical exhaustion and unequal treatment. Through her mother Lela, Rogers demanded a $10,000 bonus and publicity equal to Astaire's as condition for her return. On September 20, 1935, Rogers returned to rehearsals, having secured a $2,000 per week salary, $700 more per week than she had previously earned. Astaire was paid a total of $60,000 for the production, according to the PARB report, which also listed Irving Berlin's salary as $75,000 plus a percentage of the film's profits. A Hollywood Reporter news item announced that director Mark Sandrich completed filming three days ahead of schedule. According to the PARB report, Rogers shot her own 16mm "miniature version" of the picture during the production. The PARB report also notes that, in mid-December 1935, Lew Lipton was hired for "special comedy scenes and working on the set." Lipton is credited in Screen Achievements Bulletin records as a "contributor to dialog." Hollywood Reporter production charts, the PARB report and news items add the following actors to the cast list: Thelma Leeds, Connie Bergen, Jerry Larkin, Kitty McHugh, David Preston, Frank Sully, Jean Acker, Billy Dooley, Max Wagner, Blanca Vischer, and Patsy Boyle. Their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. Contemporary reviewers commented on RKO's decision to cast Astaire in a "gum-chewing gob" part instead of his more typical debonaire dancer role. In this film, Rogers performs her only solo tap dancing number of the Astaire-Rogers RKO series.
       In his autobiography, Astaire describes problems that he and Rogers had with Rogers' costume in the "Let's Face the Music and Dance" number: "In this number, Ginger came up with a beaded gown which was surely designed for anything but dancing. I saw it before shooting of the number started, and I tried a few steps with Ginger. It was a good-looking dress but very heavy, I thought-one solid mass of beads. Ginger said it would work fine, and I, in an absent-minded moment, agreed that it would be all right. The dress had heavy beaded sleeves that hung down from the wrists, which I hadn't bargained for. When Ginger did a quick turn, the sleeves, which must have weighed a few pounds each, would fly, necessitating a quick dodge by me....When shooting of the number started, things went smoothly in the first take for about fifteen seconds. Then Ginger gave out with some special kind of a twist and I got the flying sleeve smack on the jaw and partly in the eye. I kept on dancing, although somewhat maimed. We had designed the number as a four-minute dance to be shot in one piece with no cuts, and we came to the end of it with me still in a daze....I asked for another take, which everybody agreed upon....From then on I kept ducking and dodging that sleeve, and we couldn't get one take all through that pleased us, so we went on until about eight o'clock that night, still trying, and finally gave up, prepared to continue the next day on the same number....Next morning we went in to see the rushes of the film and the No. 1 take was perfect." Astaire also mentions a scene that he played with Randolph Scott in which he was supposed to deliver a stage punch to Scott's jaw but accidentally slugged him for real and drew blood.
       Modern sources give the following additional information about the production: At the urging of studio efficiency experts, Sandrich prepared a color-coded chart from the shooting script, which provided a break-down of each scene in terms of its components-music, singing, acting, dancing, inserts, etc. Sandrich timed each scene according to his chart and estimated that the entire film would run 97 minutes, with slightly over a quarter of that running time being taken up by the numbers. Two Berlin songs-"Moonlight Maneuvers" and "There's a Smile on My Face"-were discarded from the score before filming. An early draft of the screenplay indicated that "Moonlight Maneuvers" was to be a production number for Rogers and the chorus during the final show-within-the-film. In addition, when RKO was negotiating for Irene Dunne to play "Connie," "Let's Face the Music and Dance" was assigned to that role. After Dunne was eliminated from the cast, RKO considered giving the song to Tony Martin. "There's a Smile on My Face" also was dropped as a song for "Connie" after "Get Thee Behind Me, Satan" was moved from Top Hat. In the "I'm Putting All My Eggs in Basket" number, Astaire allowed the camera to cut to a medium shot for the first and only time in the Astaire-Rogers' series. (All of his previous numbers were done in long shots so that the whole body could be seen.) For the dance contest scene, RKO held a series of actual contests in Los Angeles area ballrooms and recruited the various winners to appear in the film. The two dancers who acted as Rogers and Astaire's final competitors were an eighteen-year-old dishwasher and a twenty-year-old stenographer. Their dancing was filmed separately from Astaire and Rogers' dancing. Harvey S. Haislip, who acted as the film's technical advisor, appears in one of the later scenes as Astaire's commanding officer. Although Lucille Ball, an RKO contract player, had only a small part in the film, one impressed member of a preview audience suggested to the studio surveyors that she be given more parts in future RKO films. Riding on the success of Top Hat, Follow the Fleet became the second top grossing Astaire-Rogers' picture.
       RKO released an edited version of Follow the Fleet in 1953. Three numbers, "Get Thee Behind Me, Satan," "Here Am I, But Where Are You?" and "I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket" were cut from this version. Modern sources add Don Jahraus (Miniatures) and Mel Berns (Makeup artist) to the crew, and James Pierce (Bouncer), Gertrude Short (Paradise cashier), George Magrill (Quartermaster) and Dorothy Fleisman and Bob Cromer (Contest dancers) to the cast. In addition, modern sources give the above-credited cast members the following character names: Huntley Gordon (Touring officer) and Herbert Rawlinson (Webber). Hubert Osborne's play was first filmed in 1925 by Inspiration Pictures. Richard Barthelmess and Dorothy Mackaill starred in and John S. Robertson directed this silent film called Shore Leave. In 1930, Luther Reed directed Jack Oakie in RKO's Hit the Deck, a musical that was based in part on Osborne's play (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.5014 and F2.2540). (M-G-M remade Hit the Deck in 1956. Tony Martin played one of the leads in this remake.) For more information regarding RKO's series of Astaire-Rogers films, for Top Hat.