The Cohens and Kellys in Africa
Cast & Crew
Patrick Kelly and Nathan Cohen operate a piano business that is faltering due to the lack of ivory for keys. Outside their office they discover Windjammer Thorne, a fast-talking patent medicine salesman who claims to know about ivory conditions in Africa. Under the guidance of Thorne, Cohen and Kelly, accompanied by their wives, depart for Mombasa, which is on the African coast. Before travelling inland to the Zulu village of Gumbo Gumbo, Mrs. Cohen and Mrs. Kelly catch their husbands flirting with two French floozies in a speakeasy. They arrive eventually at the village, where the women stay while Cohen, Kelly, Thorne and their guide trek through the jungle in search of ivory. The wives are kidnapped by a group of gorillas, and the female apes appropriate the women's outer garments. Meanwhile the men, captured by cannibals, dress up in lion skins and effect an escape. Cohen and Kelly, again lost in the brush, wander into another native village where they find an old friend, Sam Ginsberg of Brooklyn, who three years earlier made a deal with the natives and stayed on as their elected chief. Cohen and Kelly make a deal with the chief, betting his huge supply of ivory on the winner of a miniature golf competition, which Ginsberg has introduced to the natives. Cohen defeats Ginsberg's pro in a match with a miraculous stroke on the last hole. Learning from the jungle drums that their wives have been abducted, the husbands fear the worst when they find the female gorillas dressed in their wives' clothing. After they are reunited with Thorne and his men, Thorne tells them their spouses are being held in the harem of Sheik Abdul Hassan Cafa. At the sheik's palace, he agrees to exchange their ivory for their wives. Cohen refuses to sign away the ivory, and a series of chases follow, which result in the release of their wives and the capture of the sheik and his guards. Cohen and Kelly inform their wives of their newly found wealth, for not only have they secured a large shipment of ivory, but they have also sold off their old piano inventory to the natives, who quickly master the instrument. Many of the jungle animals also learn to play, including the gorillas who mimic "Mammy."
Louis John Bartels
Charles D. Hall
C. Roy Hunter
Carl Laemmle Jr.
William K. Wells
Although there was an entry for this film in the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 (F2.0954), its actual release date was January 19, 1931. In 1926, Universal released the The Cohens and Kellys, the first of a series of eight films featuring the "Cohen and Kelly" characters. The Cohens and Kellys was based on Aaron Hoffman's play, Two Blocks Away (New York, 1925), and starred Charlie Murray, George Sidney, Vera Gordon and Kate Price (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.0953). The Cohens and Kellys in Africa was the sixth entry in the series and the first to be released in the thirties. George Sidney starred in all eight films as "Mr. Cohen," while Vera Gordon and Kate Price left the series in 1931. Other cast members playing continuous featured roles include Mack Swain, J. Farrell MacDonald, Emma Dunn and Esther Howard. For more information consult the Series Index.