Cast & Crew
In the Bowery section of New York, Horace Debussy "Sach" Jones mistakenly assumes that a pretty girl is following him into Louie Dumbrowski's sweet shop. Sach's buddies, Terence Aloysius "Slip" Mahoney, Chuck and Butch mock Sach's notion, and the young woman reveals that she is Princess Ann from the tiny European country of Truania. Louie is delighted, as he is from Truania and his brother Felix still lives there. Ann informs Louie that Felix is the most loyal general of her father, King Rako, and is heading an underground movement to restore Rako to the throne. Rako, who was ousted by revolutionaries, is currently hiding in New York, and requires Louie's help. After Ann leaves, two thugs enter the shop and threaten the boys about becoming involved with Ann. Louie and the boys then go to the Truania consulate and there meet Col. Alex Baxis, Rako's aide, and Lady Zelda, Ann's lady-in-waiting. Rako explains that he has one half of a coin, the other half of which is in Felix's possession, and that Felix will send his half as a sign that it is safe for Rako to return to Truania. Needing a place to hide the coin, Rako gives it to Louie and tells him that Felix will send a courier with the other half at the appropriate time. Louie gravely accepts the responsibility, and back at the shop, he and Slip hide the half coin in a display candy bar made out of wood. While Louie is out, however, the bumbling Sach accidentally gives the candy bar to a temperamental little girl. Unknown to Rako and Ann, Baxis and Zelda are the leaders of the rebels trying to take over Truania, and while the boys are out looking for the girl, they send their henchmen, George and Boris, to search for the coin. Upon the boys's return, they are surprised to find that the shop is a mess but are glad when Sach arrives with the girl. Bribed by Louie with an ice cream cone, the girl returns the coin, although the transaction is witnessed by the lurking George and Boris. Zelda secretly invites Sach to the consulate and there, hypnotizes him and instructs him to give the coin to George and Boris in the early morning hours. At 4:00 a.m., Sach, still in a trance, hits Slip over the head with a frying pan, gets the coin and passes it to the henchmen, who make a wax impression of it. They return the coin and leave, but Slip, regaining consciousness, sees them and recognizes them as the thugs who had threatened them just after they met Ann. Several hours later, Slip and Sach, who is no longer in a trance, report to Rako. Slip is suspicious of Baxis and Zelda, and follows Baxis while Sach follows Zelda. Slip watches as Baxis meets George and Boris at a restaurant owned by their cohort, Nick, and realizes that Baxis is somehow betraying the king. Inside, Baxis tells his men that the wax impression has been turned into a fake coin, with which they will lure the king back to Truania before Felix is ready. The rebels will then be able to arrest and kill Rako. Soon after, Ann walks in as Zelda is making a short wave radio call to her cohorts about their scheme, and Baxis kidnaps her to keep her quiet. Slip is unaware of the events, however, and when Baxis' fake courier arrives with the phony coin, the boys relay his message that Rako is to return to Truania immediately. The distraught king protests that he cannot leave without his daughter, but Baxis assures him that he will find her. Suspecting that Ann is being held at Nick's, Slip and Sach rush to the restaurant and succeed in freeing the princess. When they take Ann to Louie's shop, they find that Chuck and Butch have tied up another courier, but this one, Ann's cousin Michael, is the real one. Michael explains that Rako is not to return for 10 days, at which time Felix will be able to guarantee his safety. Slip and the others race to the consulate, where Rako is preparing to leave. Slip informs him that Baxis and Zelda are traitors, which Ann confirms. Michael levels a pistol at Baxis to prevent him from escaping, but Zelda hypnotizes Sach into knocking away the gun, and a huge brawl ensues. Although Zelda periodically hypnotizes Sach into helping Baxis, Slip and his pals prevail, and Zelda and Baxis are arrested. Later, at a celebratory dinner hosted by Louie, Rako gives medals to his friends to thank them. Fond of Sach's good humor, the king bestows upon him Truania's highest honor, and the suddenly overbearing Sach barks orders at his friends until they begin pelting him with food.
John C. Chulay
John C. Fuller
Jerome S. Gottler
Edward Morey Jr.
Lester A. Sansom
Allen K. Wood
Leon Askin (1907-2005)
Born in Vienna, Austria as Leo Aschkenasy on September 18, 1907, Askin developed a taste for theater through his mother's love of cabaret, and as a youngster, often accompanied his mother to weekend productions.
He made a go of acting as a profession in 1925, when he took drama classes from Hans Thimig, a noted Austrian stage actor at the time. The following year, he made his Vienna stage debut in Rolf Lauckner's "Schrei aus der Strasse."
For the next six year (1927-33), he was a popular stage actor in both Vienna and Berlin before he was prevented to work on the stage by Hitler's SA for being a Jew. He left for Paris in 1935 to escape anti-semetic persecution, but returned to Vienna in 1935, to find work (albeit a much lower profile to escape scrutiny), but after a few years, the writing was on the wall, and he escaped to New York City in 1939, just at the outbreak of World War II. His luck in the Big Apple wasn't really happening, and in 1941, he relocated to Washington D.C. and briefly held the position of managing director of the Civic Theatre, a popular city venue of the day. Unfortunately, after the tragic events of Pearl Harbor in December of that year, the United States became involved in the war that had already engulfed Europe for two years, and seeing a possibility to expediate his application for American citizenship, he enlisted in the U.S. Army.
After the war, Leon indeed became a U.S. citizen and changed his name from Leon Aschkenasy to Leon Askin. He returned to New York and found work as a drama teacher, and more importantly, landed his first gig on Broadway, as director and actor in Goethe's Faust in 1947, which starred Askin in the title character opposite the legendary Albert Bassermann who played Mephisto. The production was a huge success. Askin followed this up with another director/actor stint with Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice and co-starred with Jose Ferrer in Ben Hecht's 20th Century. They were all Broadway hits, and Askin had finally achieved the success he had worked so hard to seek and merit.
It wasn't long before Hollywood came calling, and soon Askin, with his rich German accent and massive physical presence, made a very effective villian in a number of Hollywood films: the Hope-Crosby comedy Road to Bali (1952); Richard Burton's first hit film The Robe; and the Danny Kaye vehicle Knock on Wood (1954).
Askin's roles throughout the 50's were pretty much in this "menacing figure" vein, so little did anyone suspect that around the corner, Billy Wilder would be offering him his most memorable screen role - that of the Russian commissar Peripetschikof who gleefully embraces Amercian Capitalism in the scintillating politcal satire, One, Two, Three (1961). Who can forget this wonderfully exchange between Peripetschikof and Coca Cola executive C.R. MacNamara (James Cagney):
Peripetschikof: I have a great idea to make money. I have a storage full of saurkraut and I'll sell it as Christmas tree tinsil!
MacNamara: You're a cinch!
His performance for Wilder was wonderfully comedic and wholly memorable, and after One, Two, Three the film roles for Askin got noticable better, especially in Lulu and The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (both 1962); but he began to find prominent guest shots on hit television shows too: My Favorite Martian and The Outer Limits to name a few; yet his big break came in 1965, when for six seasons he played General Albert Burkhalter, the Nazi general who was forever taking Col. Kilink's ineptitude to task in Hogan's Heroes (1965-71).
Roles dried up for Askin after the run of Hogan's Heroes, save for the occassional guest spot on television: Diff'rent Strokes, Three's Company, Happy Days; and parts in forgettable comedies: Going Ape! (1981), Airplane II: The Sequel (1982). After years of seclusion, Askin relocated to his birthplace of Vienna in 1994, and he began taking parts in numerous stage productions almost to his death. In 2002, he received the highest national award for an Austrian citizen when he was bestowed with the Austrian Cross of Honor, First Class, for Science and Art. He is survived by his third wife of three years, Anita Wicher.
by Michael T. Toole
Leon Askin (1907-2005)
The working titles of this film were Royal Rogues and Spy Catchers. The opening title cards read: "Allied Artists Pictures Corporation presents Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall and The Bowery Boys in Spy Chasers." For more information on "The Bowery Boys" series, please consult the Series Index and the entry for Live Wires in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50.