Follow the Boys


2h 2m 1944

Film Details

Also Known As
Cheers for the Boys, Hip Hip Hooray, On with the Show, Three Cheers for the Boys
Release Date
May 5, 1944
Premiere Information
New York opening: 25 Apr 1944
Production Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Camp Roberts, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 2m
Film Length
10,743ft

Synopsis

After the final performance of the last show at the Palace Theatre in New York, old-time performer Nick West attempts to give a farewell speech, but becomes choked with emotion, so his son and fellow performer Tony finishes it for him, proclaiming that vaudeville will never die. Vaudeville houses continue to close, however, and the Three Wests--Nick, Tony and his sister Kitty--find it difficult to get bookings. Despite his father's objections, Tony breaks up the act and heads for California to try his luck in motion pictures. He soon finds work in the chorus at Universal Pictures, where he catches the eye of musical star Gloria Vance. The two quickly become screen partners, then man and wife. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Tony tries give up his newly found Hollywood stardom and enlist in the U.S. Army, but is rejected because of an old knee injury. He asks, however, that no one, including Gloria, be told of his rejection. Meanwhile, Private "Chick" Doyle, an old vaudeville friend of the Wests, is put in charge of organizing entertainment for the soldiers at his camp, and he gets Nick and Louie Fairweather, an animal trainer, to promise to help. In turn, Nick asks for his son's help, and Tony soon finds himself organizing the Hollywood Victory Committee (H.V.C.), a consortium of motion picture, theatrical and radio personalities dedicated to help the war effort, including the creation of war bond drives and U.S.O. Shows. While returning home from one such show, Tony gets into an argument with Gloria after refusing to listen to her when she tries to tell him that she is pregnant. The misunderstanding leads to the couple's separation. After many months organizing the H.V.C., Tony goes overseas to Brisbane, Australia with a U.S.O. troupe. Breaking her word to Gloria, Kitty tells Tony that he is about to become a father and he makes plans to call his wife upon their arrival onshore. Their cargo ship is attacked by a Japanese submarine, however, and Tony is killed. With her late husband proclaimed a hero on the cover of Life magazine, Gloria takes Tony's place entertaining the troops, along with hundreds of other stars.

Cast

George Raft

Tony West

Vera Zorina

Gloria Vance [West]

Grace Mcdonald

Kitty West

Charles Butterworth

Louie Fairweather

George Macready

Walter Bruce

Elizabeth Patterson

Annie

Theodore Von Eltz

William Barrett

Regis Toomey

Dr. [Jim] Henderson

Ramsay Ames

Laura

Martha O'driscoll

Martha O'Driscoll

Maxie Rosenbloom

Maxie Rosenbloom

Spooks [a Dog]

Junior

Jeanette Macdonald

Orson Welles

Marlene Dietrich

Dinah Shore

Donald O'connor

Peggy Ryan

W. C. Fields

The Andrews Sisters

Artur Rubinstein

Carmen Amaya

Sophie Tucker

Delta Rhythm Boys

Leonard Gautier's

Ted Lewis

Freddie Slack

Charlie Spivak

Louis Jordan

Louise Beavers

Clarence Muse

Maria Montez

Susanna Foster

Louise Allbritton

Robert Paige

Alan Curtis

Lon Chaney [jr.]

Gloria Jean

Andy Devine

Turhan Bey

Evelyn Ankers

Noah Beery Jr.

Gale Sondergaard

Peter Coe

Nigel Bruce

Thomas Gomez

Lois Collier

Randolph Scott

Samuel S. Hinds

Mack Gray

Lt. Reynolds

Molly Lamont

Secretary

John Meredith

Blind soldier

John Estes

Patient

Ralph Gardner

Patient

Doris Lloyd

Nurse

Charles D. Brown

Col. Starrett

Nelson Leigh

Bull fiddler

Lane Chandler

Ship's officer

Bill Healy

Ship's officer

Cyril Ring

Laughton

Emmett Vogan

Harkness

Addison Richards

MacDermott

Frank Larue

Mailman

Tony Marsh

Officer

Stanley Andrews

Australian officer

Leslie Denison

Reporter

Billy Wayne

Reporter

Leyland Hodgson

Reporter

Frank Jenks

Chick Doyle

Jimmy Carpenter

Soldier

Bernard Thomas

Soldier

John Whitney

Soldier

Walter Tetley

Soldier

Joel Allen

Soldier

Carlyle Blackwell

Soldier

Michael Kirk

Soldier

Mel Schubert

Soldier

Stephen Wayne

Soldier

Charles King

Soldier

Ralph Dunn

Loomis

Billy Benedict

Joe, a soldier

Grandon Rhodes

Guild member

Howard Hickman

Dr. Wood

Edwin Stanley

Frank Winslow

Roy Darmour

Eddie, an assistant director

Carl Vernell

Terry Dennis, dance director

Wallis Clark

"V" committee

Richard Crane

Marine officer

Frank Wilcox

Army doctor

Carey Harrison

Colonel

William Forrest

Colonel

George Riley

Jimmy

Steve Brodie

Australian pilot

Jack Wegman

Mayor

Clyde Cook

Stooge

Bobby Barber

Stooge

Dick Nelson

Sergeant

Anthony Warde

Captain

Tom Hanlon

Announcer

Don Mcgill

Man in office

Franklin Parker

Man in office

Dennis Moore

Man in office

Martin Ashe

Man in office

Odessa Lauren

Telephone operator

Nancy Brinckman

Telephone operator

Janet Shaw

Telephone operator

Jan Wiley

Telephone operator

Bill Dyer

Messenger boy

Duke York

Military policeman

Lennie Smith

Jitterbug

Robert Ashley

Jitterbug

Jackie Lou Harding

Girl in montage

Genevieve Bell

Mother in montage

Edwin Stanley

Room clerk

Don Kramer

Dancer

Allan Cooke

Dancer

Luis Torres

Dancer

Nickolai

Dancer

John Duane

Dancer

Ed Brown

Dancer

Clair Freeman

Dancer

Bill Meader

Dancer

Eddie Kover

Dancer

Tony Hughes

Crew

David Abel

Director of Photography

Lewis Allan

Composer

A. Anderson

Sound tech of Delta Rhythm Boys seq

Frank Artman

Boom Operator

Billy Austin

Composer

George Balanchine

Dance Director

Ben Bernie

Composer

Irving Bibo

Composer

Marjorie Bowles

Contract Writer

Lou Breslow

Delta Rhythm Boys seq

Lou Breslow

Original Screenplay

S. Bricker

Props for Delta Rhythm Boys seq

Shelton Brooks

Composer

Bernard B. Brown

Director of Sound

Fred Buckley

Grip for addl scenes

Henry Thacker Burleigh

Composer

Sammy Cahn

Composer

Charles Carroll

Sound tech of addl scenes

Kenneth Casey

Composer

Dick Charles

Composer

Wallace Chewning

Camera Operator

Howard Christie

Assistant Director

Con Conrad

Composer

C. Cowie

Grip

Frank Davenport

Composer

Walter Donaldson

Composer

Bert Duke

Makeup artist for addl scenes

Fred E. Ahlert

Composer

Emmy Eckhardt

Hairdresser for addl scenes

E. Esterbrook

Still Photographer

Fred R. Feitshans Jr.

Film Editor

Charles K. Feldman

Producer

Charles K. Feldman

Company

Dorothy Fields

Composer

Dan Fish

Props

Fred Frank

Assistant Director of Delta Rhythm Boys seq

John P. Fulton

Special Photographer

R. A. Gausman

Set Decoration

Arthur Geisle

Assistant Camera of addl scenes

Maury. Gertsman

Camera op of Delta Rhythm Boys seq

Kermit Goell

Composer

John B. Goodman

Art Director

Howard Greer

Miss Zorina's gowns

George Hale

Music prod numbers devised and staged by

Leigh Harline

Music Director

W. Franke Harling

Composer

Bert Heinsickson

Wardrobe for addl scenes

Frank Heisler

Assistant Camera of Delta Rhythm Boys seq

William Holland

Assistant Director

Dorothy Hughes

Screenplay of Delta Rhythm Boys seq

M. Inger

Assistant Director of Delta Rhythm Boys seq

Inez James

Composer

Isham Jones

Composer

Louis Jordan

Composer

Gus Kahn

Composer

Lackritz

Miss Zorina's jewelry

Carl Lee

Special Effects

Franz Liszt

Composer

Harold H. Macarthur

Art Director

Larry Markes

Composer

James Masterson

Rec op of addl scenes

Jimmy Mchugh

Composer

Sidney Miller

Composer

Hal Mohr

Director of Photographer of Delta Rhythm Boys seq

Phil Moore

Composer

M. Nathan

Assistant Camera

George Oppenheim

Composer

R. Parish

Boom op of Delta Rhythm Boys seq

Maceo Pinkard

Composer

Robert Pritchard

[Sound] tech

Gertrude Purcell

Original Screenplay

Jack Rawlins

Director of addl scenes

Eddie Regan

Assistant Director of addl scenes

J. Rixey

Rec op of Delta Rhythm Boys seq

Leo Robin

Composer

Earl Robinson

Composer

Albert L. Rockett

Associate Producer

Henry C. Rogers

Pub

Augustín Castellón Sabicas

Composer

Ross Savon

Gaffer

Joe Schoenfeld

"Soldiers in Greasepaint" [epilogue wrt by]

William Schwartz

Rec op

Willard Sheldon

Assistant Director

Harold I. Smith

Camera op of addl scenes

Jule Styne

Composer

Roy Turk

Composer

Charles Van Enger

Director of Photographer of addl scenes

Consuelo Velázquez

Composer

Ira S. Webb

Set Decoration

Charles Weintraub

Composer

Vera West

Gowns

Richard A. Whiting

Composer

Leo Wood

Composer

Walter Woodworth

Grip for Delta Rhythm Boys seq

Jack Yellen

Composer

Film Details

Also Known As
Cheers for the Boys, Hip Hip Hooray, On with the Show, Three Cheers for the Boys
Release Date
May 5, 1944
Premiere Information
New York opening: 25 Apr 1944
Production Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Camp Roberts, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 2m
Film Length
10,743ft

Award Nominations

Best Song

1944

Articles

Peggy Ryan (1924-2004)


Peggy Ryan, the bouncing, effervescent dancer and leading lady to Donald O'Connor in a string of youth musicals during World War II, died on October 30 in Las Vegas' Sunrise Hospital from complications of a stroke. She was 80.

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)

Peggy Ryan (1924-2004)

Peggy Ryan, the bouncing, effervescent dancer and leading lady to Donald O'Connor in a string of youth musicals during World War II, died on October 30 in Las Vegas' Sunrise Hospital from complications of a stroke. She was 80. 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

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working titles of this film were Three Cheers for the Boys, Hip Hip Hooray, On with the Show and Cheers for the Boys. Other titles considered by Universal for the film included Three Cheers and Happy Days. Musical numbers missing from this print, which ran 110 minutes, include Sophie Tucker's rendition of "Some of These Days" and Dinah Shore's performance of "Mad About Him Blues." In addition to "Shoo Shoo Baby," The Andrews Sisters performed a medley of their hits, including brief segments of such songs as "Bei Mir Bist du Schön," "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," "Pennsylvania Polka," "Hold Tight, Hold Tight (Want Some Sea Food Mama)" and "I'll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time." In addition to the musical numbers, Follow the Boys features a magic act by Orson Welles and Marlene Dietrich, which they performed numerous times during the war to entertain the troops. W. C. Fields also reprised his famous pool-shooting routine, which he had first performed in vaudeville and then in his film debut in the 1915 one-reel silent, The Pool Shark. Classical pianist Artur Rubinstein made his motion picture debut in Follow the Boys. The Palace Theatre in New York, as depicted in the beginning of the film, was a 1,735 seat vaudeville house which opened on March 24, 1913 and closed on 16 November 1932.
       Follow the Boys was Universal Pictures' contribution the all-star musical revues that were being presented by the major Hollywood studios in support of the war effort. Other films in this vein include Warner Bros.' Hollywood Canteen, M-G-M's Thousands Cheer and Paramount's Star Spangled Rhythm (see entries below). According to Universal press materials, the actual Hollywood Victory Committee arranged for 1,562 actors and actresses to make 12,619 free appearances at 2,197 events in 1943, as well as raising billions of dollars in war bonds.
       According to a contract found in the Charles K. Feldman papers at the AFI Louis B. Mayer Library between producer Feldman and writer/director A. Edward "Eddie" Sutherland, Feldman, who was chairman of the Talent Committee for the H.V.C., agreed to pay Sutherland $6,000 a week, for a minimum of six weeks, to write a screenplay with Gertrude Purcell called Three Cheers for the Boys. The contract also contained a provision for Sutherland to direct the film. In July 1943, Feldman brought writer Stephen Longstreet onto the project, who finished his re-write of the script on July 20, 1943, at which time writer Lou Breslow was hired by the producer to touch up the screenplay.
       On August 6, 1943, Feldman signed a contract with Universal to produce a screenplay entitled Three Cheers for the Boys, written by Purcell, Longstreet and Sutherland. Under this contract, Universal agreed to produce the film, under its new title On with the Show. According to the Feldman papers, Follow the Boys had grossed $1,520,000 in its domestic releases as of October 31, 1959, with a worldwide gross in excess of $2,460,000.
       Hollywood Reporter news items include Elyse Knox and the dance team of Cappella and Patricia in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Universal press materials state that Donald O'Connor and Peggy Ryan's musical number, "Kittens with Their Mittens Laced," was filmed during its actual performance before a military audience at Camp Roberts, CA. According to the Feldman papers, stock footage of overseas entertainment shows were provided by the U.S. War Department's Bureau of Public Relations. Hollywood Reporter news items also report that flamenco dancer Carmen Amaya, the only Latin player in the cast, received billing above the other Hollywood guest stars when Follow the Boys opened in Mexico. Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn received an Academy Award nomination for their song "I'll Walk Alone," but lost to the Jimmy Van Heusen-Johnny Burke composition "Swinging on a Star" from the Paramount release Going My Way .
       Modern sources add the following actors to the cast: John Carson (Solider at radio), Bill Wolfe (Zoot suit man), Daisy (Fifi, a dog), Lee Bennett (Acrobat), George Eldridge (Submarine officer), Marie Osborne (Nurse), Nicodemus Stewart (Lt. Reynolds, USAF), George Chirello (Magician's assistant), Janice Gary, Jane Smith, Marjorie Fectan, Doris Brenn, Rosemary Battle, Lolita Leighter, Mary Rowland, Eleanor Counts and Linda Brent (Magic maids), Augustín Castellón Sabicas and Philo McCullough.