Strictly in the Groove


60m 1942

Film Details

Release Date
Nov 20, 1942
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 9 Nov 1942
Production Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
60m
Film Length
5,371ft (7 reels)

Synopsis

In order to keep their band together, Ozzie Nelson and his orchestra have been flunking their college final examinations for years. Bob Saunders, the new pianist in the band, agrees to fail as well, forgetting that his father, Roger "R. C." Saunders, owner of the Saunders Restaurant chain, had planned for him to join the family business upon graduation. When R. C. shows up at the college and discovers his son's musical studies, he orders Bob to leave New York and go to Big Horn, Arizona to help run their newest restaurant, the Circle S Ranch. Unknown to his father, Bob takes the entire band to Arizona with him. Arriving in Arizona, Bob, posing as Bob Smith, meets and is immediately attracted to Sally Monroe, proprietor of the rival Arizona Lodge. He is not nearly as impressed with the older clientele of the Circle S and its manager, Cathcart, however. When Cathcart refuses to hire Bob's friends, they successfully conspire to convince the current staff to quit their jobs. The musicians are soon fired from their newly acquired jobs, so Bob tries to get the band hired at the Arizona Lodge, but learns from Sally that business has been poor at her resort ever since R. C. bought the Circle S. Meanwhile, Pops, an ex-soda jerk who is now the band's manager, unsuccessfully tries to get cattleman Carter B. Durham to sponsor a radio show for the band, but fails. Unwilling to give up, the band puts on a fake radio show, claiming to be sponsored by the vegetable industry. Before Pops can get Durham to sign the contract, however, Cathcart phones R. C., and the restaurateur fires his son in the midst of the "broadcast." That night, Sally offers to send the band off with a late-night barbecue at the Arizona Lodge. After the barbecue, Sally tells Bob that she and her brother may have to sell out if business does not improve. She then agrees to hire the band in a last ditch effort to boost business by turning the resort into a nightclub. Just before opening night, however, Sally's brother Russ arrives and tells them that R. C. has bought an option on the lodge. Sally then informs Bob that she knows his real identity, and it makes no difference to her. Meanwhile, Durham tells R. C. that, as a member of Saunders' board of directors, he will not approve the purchase of the Arizona Lodge. The restaurateur then travels to Big Horn, where jealous singer Dixie Lee tells him all about his son's activities. R. C. goes to the lodge and informs the Monroes that he will not exercise his option if Bob performs with the band that night. Durham convinces R. C. to attend the show, where they are recognized by Pops as the old-time vaudeville act of "Turkey-Trot" Durham and "Cake-Walk" Saunders. Afraid of having their past exposed, R. C. agrees to allow jazz music in his restaurants and Durham agrees to sponsor the proposed radio show.

Film Details

Release Date
Nov 20, 1942
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 9 Nov 1942
Production Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
60m
Film Length
5,371ft (7 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

This was the first feature film directed by Vernon Keays, who had worked as an assistant director for twenty years. Contract player Jane Frazee was suspended by Universal for refusing the role of "Sally Monroe" in the film, the role was then played by Mary Healy. While under suspension, Frazee accepted a role in the Republic film Tahiti Hey, which was later released as Moonlight Masquerade (see entry above). According to Hollywood Reporter, the numbers featuring Dinning Sisters, a Chicago radio group, were shot in one day, and were photographed by Elwood Bredell. Early Daily Variety and Hollywood Reporter production charts include Donald O'Connor in the cast, but he did not appear in the film. A Hollywood Reporter news item also states that Robert Waldon was cast in the picture, but his participation in the final film has not been confirmed. Strictly in the Groove marked the screen debut of composer Jimmie Davis.