Joe Palooka in Humphrey Takes a Chance


1h 2m 1950

Brief Synopsis

The Square Deal Boxing Corporation (crooked as a snake's hind leg), through Gordon Rogers (Tom Neal), tries to make a deal with Knobby Walsh (Leon Errol) whereby it will own thirty percent of the contract with Heavyweight Champion Joe Palooka (Joe Kirkwood Jr.) Knobby refuses, saying even in West Wokkington Falls he could stage a record bout. He only mentions the town because that is where he is going with Joe and his wife, Anne Howe Palooka (Lois Collier), to visit their friend Humphrey Pennyworth (Robert Coogan). Rogers assumes Walsh is going to stage a bout between Palooka and Pennyworth and hastens to block it. Rogers tricks Pennyworth into signing with him for a bout and then arranges for the crooked town mayor, Phiffeny (Jack Kirkwood), and his cousins who run the town to erect a fight stadium. Knobby tells Humphrey that the only way to get out of his contract is a recall election replacing the present town officials with honest ones. Humphrey, the most-liked citizen agrees to run for mayor. At a campaign picnic, a child actress hired by Rogers rushes up to the unmarried candidate, crying "Daddy."

Film Details

Also Known As
Humphrey Takes a Chance
Release Date
Jun 4, 1950
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 16 May 1950
Production Company
Monogram Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Monogram Distributing Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the comic strip "Joe Palooka" created by Ham Fisher, distributed by McNaught Syndicate (1928--1984).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 2m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,618ft

Synopsis

Knobby Walsh, who manages world heavyweight champion Joe Palooka, becomes indignant when Gordon Rogers, who works for a shady boxing syndicate, demands thirty percent of Joe's earnings and refuses him. Rogers threatens to use his syndicate's monopoly on boxers and arenas to make it impossible for Joe to fight, but Knobby boasts that he could stage a bout for Joe anywhere, even West Wokkington Falls, home of their old friend Humphrey Pennyworth. The syndicate boss, Bentley, assumes that Knobby is planning to set up a match between the champ and Humphrey, who had reluctantly entered the ring with Joe once before. When Knobby, Joe and his wife Anne drive up to West Wokkington Falls to spend the weekend with Humphrey, Rogers follows them. Just outside of town, Knobby is stopped by Sheriff Grogan on a trumped-up traffic offense, and he, Joe and Anne are brought before the corrupt, nepotistic mayor, Juniper Phiffeny, who fines them. They mayor is then called to a meeting with Rogers, who expresses interest in holding some prizefights in West Wokkington Falls and bribes him to sign over all boxing rights. Phiffeny greedily offers to build a stadium and rent it to Rogers organization, and Rogers instructs him to sign Humphrey to fight there exclusively. Phiffeny and Rogers visit Humphrey and his sister Prunella, and the mayor convinces the kind-hearted but dim-witted Humphrey to sign a contract, which he then sells to Rogers. Knobby, Joe and Anne join the Pennyworths for dinner, and when Prunella shows them the contract, Knobby has Humphrey call the mayor and tell him that he is a crook. Phiffeny threatens to put Humphrey in jail if he breaks his contract, and word of this conversation spreads quickly among the townspeople, some of whom had been listening on their party lines. Knobby gathers the local citizens and convinces them to hold a special election to recall Phiffeny, and when no one volunteers to run for mayor, Knobby nominates Humphrey. Determined to discredit the popular Humphrey, Phiffeny and Rogers hire talent agent Lee Tucker, who supplies them with a cute child actress, Mary Happy. At a campaign picnic, Mary runs up to Humphrey, tearfully claiming to be his abandoned daughter, and the bewildered Humphrey is promptly arrested for child desertion. Realizing that his friend has been framed, Joe sends Knobby, dressed as a French doctor, to search for evidence in the mayor's office. While playing a word association game with Phiffeny, Knobby finds Lee's business card, and he narrowly escapes after his fake beard comes off. After instructing Prunella and Anne to gather the townspeople, Joe and Knobby go to the Tucker Agency and bring Lee and Mary back to West Wokkington Falls, with Rogers' thugs in pursuit. Meanwhile, Humphrey breaks out of his jail cell and goes to the park, where he finds Prunella and Phiffeny using pies to compete for the voters' favor. Joe and the others arrive, and Mary is about to tell the truth when one of the thugs grabs for her, and a pie-throwing free-for-all ensues. After Joe's side wins the brawl, the syndicate agrees to let Joe fight anywhere he wants, and little Mary gives Humphrey a spirited endorsement.

Film Details

Also Known As
Humphrey Takes a Chance
Release Date
Jun 4, 1950
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 16 May 1950
Production Company
Monogram Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Monogram Distributing Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the comic strip "Joe Palooka" created by Ham Fisher, distributed by McNaught Syndicate (1928--1984).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 2m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,618ft

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

This film was also reviewed under the title Humphrey Takes a Chance. The onscreen screenplay credit reads "written by Jeff Anjan," which was the pseudonym of Henry Blankfort. A number of contemporary reviews list Blankfort as the screenplay's author instead of Anjan. For more information on the "Joe Palooka" series, please consult the Series Index and see the entry above for Joe Palooka, Champ.