Pistol Packin' Mama
Cast & Crew
Casino owner Vicki Norris, who is renowned for her business acumen and sharp shooting, often entertains her customers with a rendition of her signature song, "Pistol Packin' Mama." One evening, her establishment is visited by professional gambler Nick Winner and his sidekick Joker. Nick, who is in need of cash to open his own casino in New York City, has been sizing up Vicki's operation. Using a pair of loaded dice, Nick wins $100,000, thereby cleaning out Vicki's club. Although she suspects that Nick cheated, Vicki honors her debt and pays him the money. As he leaves, however, Nick accidentally gives her the loaded dice, and Vicki determines to have her revenge on the smooth-talking gambler. Nick returns to New York, where he opens a successful club of his own. After a few hectic months, Nick takes a vacation in Florida, and while he is gone, Joker hires Vicki, whom he does not recognize, as a singer. Vicki, who uses the name "Sally Benson," fools Joker, but when Nick returns, he recognizes her during a performance of "Pistol Packin' Mama." Vicki tells Nick that she is aware of his cheating and persuades him to cut cards with her for his club. After planting her lucky charm, which is an ace of hearts with a bullet hole through the center, in the deck, Vicki wins the draw and uses her ever-ready pistols to force Nick to sign the club over to her. She allows him and Joker to remain as the managers, however, and to protect Nick's pride, allows everyone to think that he is still the owner. Business is smooth and prosperous, and as time passes, Nick falls in love with Vicki, although she begins dating socialite J. Leslie Burton, III. Soon she and Leslie are engaged, but after an argument, they break up, and Vicki and Nick confess their love for each other. Their romance is also sidetracked, however, when Vicki overhears Joker tease Nick about marrying her in order to regain control of the club. Believing Joker, Vicki tells Nick that their relationship is over. Nick's problems escalate when gangster Johnny Rossi, who owns a competing club, attempts to hire Vicki as a singer. After Vicki refuses, Rossi threatens not only to take her, but to assume control of Nick's club as well. In order to protect Vicki, Nick allows Rossi to believe that he is the club's owner, and his suspicions about Rossi are confirmed when he is abducted by thugs and taken to Rossi's office. Nick manages to leave Vicki's lucky card on his desk, thereby alerting her that he is in danger. Vicki and Joker rush over to Rossi's, where the thugs are beating Nick. Vicki's quick shooting soon frees Nick, however, and after the dust settles, Nick learns that she has left him the deed to his club and returned West. Nick and Joker follow her to her empty casino, where she shoots another hole in her lucky card when Nick tosses it into the air. The sweethearts then reconcile and embrace.
The King Cole Trio
A 3 September 1943 Los Angeles Times news item reported that Republic paid $250,000 for the rights to Al Dexter's song "Pistol Packin' Mama." The song, which was extremely popular, was first recorded by Al Dexter and soon after became a big hit for Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, Ruth Terry was "chosen [for the title role] after fans over the country recommended her above others under contract."