Ghost Catchers


1h 7m 1944

Film Details

Also Known As
High Spirits
Release Date
Jun 16, 1944
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 30 May 1944
Production Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 7m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,149ft

Synopsis

Colonel Breckinridge Marshall, an indigent posing as a rich Southern gentleman, signs a six-month lease on a large Manhattan brownstone, having moved from Coolwater, Georgia to New York City so that his daughters Melinda and Susanna can pursue musical careers. That night, strange sounds awaken the family and a threatening note is found scrawled on Melinda's bedroom mirror. Susanna rushes next door for help, where she finds a nightclub owned by vaudevillians Ole Olson and Chic Johnson. After being scared half to death by their wild show, Susanna tells off the two, only to be removed from their establishment through a trap door. Finally realizing that the woman may be in real trouble, Ole and Chic go next door to offer their help and agree, against their better judgment, to stay the night. The next day, Susanna goes with Ole and Chic to see Chambers, the lawyer who rented the house to the Marshalls. Chambers refuses to break the lease, arguing that the ghost is only a legend, that drunken millionaire, Wilbur Duffington, who died there during a wild turn-of-the-century New Year's Eve party, does not haunt the place. Believing that Wilbur haunts the brownstone because he failed to enjoy his own party, Ole and Chic put on a mad bash in his honor, at the conclusion of which the ghost pinches Melinda and leaves another threatening message, this time on the dining room wall. Not to be foiled, Ole and Chic decide to drive the ghost out of the house with loud jazz music. They seemingly succeed this time, as the ghost hoists a white flag and walks out. With the ghost exorcised, the Marshalls prepare to give a concert at Carnegie Hall. Complications arise when the colonel and Melinda are abducted, and while searching the house for them, Susanna finds the dead body of Diggs, the cleaning man, hanging in a closet. Once again, she goes to Ole and Chic for help, and they sneak into the house to investigate. There, Ole and Chic find that gangsters have been trying to scare the Marshalls out of their home in order to steal some valuable pre-Prohibition liquor hidden in the cellar. The two are quickly captured by the gangsters, who wall them up with the colonel and Melinda. With the help of Wilbur's ghost, the four break through the cellar's brick wall and into the nightclub, but when the gangsters grab Ole and Chic in front of the audience, everyone thinks it is part of the show. At the Marshall home, the gangsters are about to kill Ole and Chic when the police arrive, having been summoned there by Wilbur. With only one ticket sold, the Carneige Hall concert is canceled, so Melinda and Susanna perform their show at Ole and Chic's nightclub instead. Ole and Chic then catch Jerry, their headwaiter, trying to kill Melinda, and Jerry is revealed to be the gangster boss. The Marshalls' show is a big hit, and Susanna is united with band leader Clay Edwards.

Cast

Ole Olsen

Chic Johnson

Gloria Jean

Melinda [Marshall]

Martha O'driscoll

Susanna [Marshall]

Leo Carrillo

Jerry

Andy Devine

Horsehead

Lon Chaney [jr.]

Bear [Joe]

Kirby Grant

Clay [Edwards}

Walter Catlett

Colonel [Breckinridge Marshall]

Ella Mae Morse

Virginia [Bennett]

Morton Downey

Henry Armetta

Signatelli

Walter Kingsford

Chambers

Edgar Dearing

Police sergeant

Tom Dugan

Bricklayer

Ralph Peters

Mug

Wee Willie Davis

Mug

Frank Mitchell

Mug

Sammy Stein

Mug

Tor Johnson

Mug

Mel Torme

Drummer

Leonard Sues

Trumpet player

Al Mirkin

Midget

Harry Monty

Midget

Billy Curtis

Midget

Mary Louise Houk

Harpist

Marie E. Wagner

Harpist

Cornelia Bona

Harpist

Miriam R. Lickert

Harpist

Christine Forsyth

Tired blonde

Armando And Lita

Specialty act

Barbara Blain

Jitterbug

Bill Alcorn

Jitterbug

Genevieve Grazis

Jitterbug

John Duncan

Jitterbug

Venna Archer

Jitterbug

Jack Archer

Jitterbug

Betty Story

Jitterbug

Don Gallaher

Jitterbug

June Williams

Jitterbug

Jerry Warren

Jitterbug

Jean Davis

Jitterbug

Bobby Scheerer

Jitterbug

Bill Raymond

Jitterbug

Joy Vahl

Jitterbug

Betty Marie

Jitterbug

Tim Taylor

Jitterbug

Sheila Roberts

Jitterbug

Gil Dennis

Jitterbug

Patti Lacey

Jitterbug

Nancy Marlowe

Jitterbug

Jack Arkin

Jitterbug

Jean Marlowe

Jitterbug

Mike Termini

Jitterbug

Lennie Smith

Jitterbug

Marion Musso

Jitterbug

Nickie Reed

Jitterbug

Alice Scott

Jitterbug

Barbara Hall

Jitterbug

Mike Musso

Jitterbug

Walter Lee Doerr

Jitterbug

Laurie Sherman

Jitterbug

Jack Norton

Wilbur Duffington

Ken Broeker

Policeman

Perc Launders

Policeman

Forrest Taylor

Passerby

Alec Craig

Diggs

Edward Earle

Ticket seller

Cy Ring

Man in tuxedo

Belle Mitchell

Mrs. Signatelli

Robin Raymond

Gag specialty

Kay Harding

Girl

Larry Steers

Bess Flowers

Buddy Wilkerson

Carey Harrison

Lee Bennett

Isabelle Lamal

June Horne

Joe Kirk

Eleanor Welz

Sarah Swartz

Mary Jane Hodge

Film Details

Also Known As
High Spirits
Release Date
Jun 16, 1944
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 30 May 1944
Production Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 7m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,149ft

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was High Spirits. According to modern sources, Ghost Catchers was based on an unpublished story by director Eddie Cline and writer Milt Gross. Modern sources also report that actress Diana Barrymore was originally cast in the role of "Susanna Marshall," but dismissed the burlesque comedy. Her refusal led to the termination of her contract with Universal. Hollywood Reporter news items include Ramsay Ames in the cast, but her appearance in the released film has not been determined. The similarities between this film and Universal's 1941 film Hold That Ghost are acknowledged early in the picture by actors Ole Olson and Chic Johnson, who refer to the Bud Abbott and Lou Costello film as being "a very unbelievable picture," particularly in its use of moving candlesticks. The two vaudevillians are then startled when a candlestick in their bedroom begins to move across a table. Both films feature the same cartoon behind their opening credits.