Jitterbugs


1h 14m 1943

Brief Synopsis

The two-man Laurel and Hardy Zoot Suit Band find themselves fronting a scam for "gasolene pills" in wartime oil-short America. They are however soon on the side of the angels helping recover $10,000 for an attractive young lady whose family have themselves been swindled.

Film Details

Also Known As
Me and My Shadow
Release Date
Jun 11, 1943
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Palmdale, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 14m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,750ft (8 reels)

Synopsis

As they drive through a desert, bumbling musicians Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, whose two-man band is advertised as "a symphony in a nutshell," run out of gas. They are rescued by confidence man Chester Wright, who convinces them that he has invented a pill that can turn water into gasoline. Chester takes the unsuspecting Stan and Ollie to the nearby town of Midvale, where he has them sell the phony pills at a carnival. When an angry crowd demands its money back, Chester pretends to be a bunco squad investigator and "arrests" Stan and Ollie. Chester drives away with the boys, but also inside their trailer is Susan Cowan, a lovely Midvale woman whose purse Chester had put in his pocket while they were dancing to Stan and Ollie's jitterbug music. As Chester is returning Susan's purse, out falls a photograph of her mother, finalizing a real estate deal with financiers Malcolm Bennett and Henry Corcoran. Chester recognizes the alleged businessmen as swindlers and warns Susan that her mother has been cheated out of the ten thousand dollars that she invested. When Chester drives Susan back to town, she investigates and learns that he is telling the truth. Chester persuades her to let him pursue the men instead of calling the police, but she insists on accompanying him and the boys to New Orleans, where Chester thinks Bennett and Corcoran have gone for the racing season. Checking into the hotel where Corcoran is staying, Ollie pretends to be the rich and romantic Col. Watterson Bixby of Leaping Frog, Texas, with Stan as his valet and Chester as his secretary. Hoping to entrap "the colonel," Corcoran sends his girl friend Dorcas to his room to romance him. Ollie and Dorcas flirt over cocktails while Stan hides under the chaise and drinks brandy. The outraged Corcoran enters and threatens to sue Ollie for estrangement of his wife's affections, but Ollie pretends to be a Midvale sheriff. Ollie claims to have an arrest warrant for Corcoran and accepts the con man's five-thousand dollar share of the money he stole from Susan's mother in exchange for letting him go. Chester then sends Susan to the riverboat run by Bennett to audition as a singer. Bennett is impressed by Susan's abundant talent and asserts that he could build a big show around her if only he had an investor. Armed with Stan, who is dressed as her rich aunt, Emily Cartwright, Susan returns to the boat, and Bennett, who has borrowed his stake from gangster Tony Queen, is taken in by the deception. After Chester disappears with Tony's money, Bennett and Tony's men discover the swindle and take Susan, Stan and Ollie aboard the boat, where Bennett decides to open the show as planned. Stan and Ollie are sent below to work the boiler, but, using Chester's gas pills, they succeed in escaping their guard and in rescuing Susan from Tony's advances. The ship then escapes its mooring and the beleaguered Stan and Ollie must steer it along the crowded river. Their adventure nears an end when Chester appears on a police boat and assures Susan that he has wired the money to her mother. As Chester and Susan leave together, Stan and Ollie are forced to jump into the river to escape their pursuers.

Film Details

Also Known As
Me and My Shadow
Release Date
Jun 11, 1943
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Palmdale, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 14m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,750ft (8 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Although Hollywood Reporter news items indicate that the working title of this film was Me and My Shadow, information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, located at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, reveals that the screenplay for Me and My Shadow bears no resemblance to the story of Jitterbugs. Me and My Shadow, an unproduced screenplay by Paul Yawitz, was a spy comedy in which Laurel and Hardy were to tangle with Nazis while attempting to care for an orphaned baby. The extent of Yawitz' contribution to Jitterbugs, if any, has not been determined. According to Hollywood Reporter news items, contributing writer Henry Lehrman was a former production executive for Twentieth Century-Fox who "returned to the studio after an absence of more than two years to aid in script preparation" for the production. Some scenes in the picture, which marked the screen debut of radio actor Bob Bailey, were shot on location in Palmdale, CA, according to Hollywood Reporter. The studio story files reveal that in 1950, a 3,770-foot cut version of the film was released.