It's a Joke, Son!


1h 3m 1947

Brief Synopsis

The first Eagle-Lion film stars Kenny Delmar as Senator Beauregard Claghorn, his "Allen's Alley" resident-character heard on Fred Allen's radio program. Claghorn was a blustery, one-man-Chamber-of-Commerce for all things Southern, who had no tolerence for anything north of the Mason-Dixon line, although he made allowances for South Philly. The character inspired the creation of one of the most popular of the Warners' cartoon characters, Foghorn Leghorn, who re-worked most of the originals material and style. The title of this movie is a stock line- "it's a joke, son"---he would feed a befuddled Fred Allen each week. In the film, Claghorn gets into some financial difficulties and is forced by a machine-political gang to enter a race for state senator against his wife (Una Merkel) who appears to have a good chance to beat the political hack backed by the machine. Claghorn is in to siphon votes and ensure his wife's opponent will win and is expected to run a campaign that will defeat himself and his wife. But, he runs to win and the machine's henchies abduct him.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 15, 1947
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Eagle-Lion Films, Inc.
Distribution Company
Eagle-Lion Films, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 3m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

Outside his local grocery store, impassioned Southerner Beauregard Claghorn spouts the evils of importing apples from the North and declares that the North should be eliminated altogether by moving the Mason-Dixon line to the Great Lakes region. Representatives of state senator Leeds approach Claghorn to make speeches for Leeds's campaign, but he adamantly refuses. At home, Claghorn's wife Magnolia hosts a meeting of the "Daughters of Dixie," while Claghorn and a little boy neighbor named William prepare the punch. William mistakenly pours copious amounts of liquor into the punch instead of grape juice, and the old women, firm advocates of temperance, get uproariously drunk. The women nominate Magnolia as the first woman candidate for state senate, and she contributes $1,500 toward the campaign, unaware that Claghorn has given the money--profits from their mint julep patch--to their daughter Mary Lou. Although Magnolia is against the match, Mary Lou hopes to marry Jeff Davis, who needs the money to buy a frozen foods truck for his new business. To repay the Claghorns, Jeff visits the office of Senator Leeds and advises his staff to sabotage Magnolia's campaign by funding a third party, thus splitting the vote. Leeds gives Jeff $3,000 and he advises Claghorn to run against his wife in the election. As Claghorn's popularity rises, Leeds's henchmen abduct him, but their treachery only strengthens his determination to bring down Leeds. The night before the election, Claghorn is abducted again. In order to qualify for the race, he must reach town hall by nine o'clock that night. After Mary Lou chastises her mother for her continual, cruel domination of her husband, Magnolia tells Claghorn over the radio that she has withdrawn from the race to support him. Jeff and Mary Lou search for Claghorn in a truck that carries a band playing "Dixie," while Claghorn's dog, "Daisy," pursues him on foot. Claghorn hears the music, frees himself from his captors, and arrives at town hall just in time. Claghorn wins the election and Leeds's men are put behind bars, but Claghorn is nowhere to be found. He then emerges from Jeff's frozen foods truck in time for the victory parade.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 15, 1947
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Eagle-Lion Films, Inc.
Distribution Company
Eagle-Lion Films, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 3m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

A written foreword to the film reads: "Senator Beauregard Claghorn is a large body of man entirely surrounded by mint juleps, magnolia blossoms and Southern tradition. So strong is his faith in the old, old South that he is perhaps the only man in all the world who is still buying Confederate Army Victory Bonds. He knows the South did NOT lose the Civil War-it was called on account of darkness." The character of "Senator Beauregard Claghorn," played by Kenny Delmar, originated on the Fred Allen Show radio program, on which Delmar was also the announcer. "Senator Claghorn" became nationally famous in early 1946 as one of the stars of the "Allen's Alley" segment of the program, in which Allen paid visits to a coterie of his friends who lived in a fictitious "alley." This was the Eagle-Lion's first production. A Hollywood Reporter news item noted that the film would not exported because of the American humor and politics in it. The Warner Bros. cartoon character "Foghorn Leghorn," introduced in the 1946 cartoon Walky Talky Hawky was inspired by Delmar's "Senator Claghorn." According to a modern source, Delmar modeled the character after a Texas rancher who, during the Depression, gave him rides in his Model-T Ford and was fond of the expression, "That's a joke, son!"