—Short and Fun—
Your Bogie Fix:
Director – William D. Russell
A young woman in Hollywood is unable to visit her wounded, war veteran brother in Washington D.C. because there’s no transportation to get there. Discovering that a train load of celebrities is headed to D.C. to sell war bonds, she crashes the front gate at Paramount Pictures to beg and plead her way to Bing Crosby, who might just be able to secure her a place on the train.
What I Thought. . .
Filled with celebrities that are still household names today (Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Barbary Stanwyk, etc.) and a few that time has kind of left behind (Carmen Cavallaro and Olga San Juan), at least half of the twenty minute running time is song and dance routines. There are also a few fun bits with a campy train station agent (Franklin Pangborn), a disgruntled Paramount security guard (William Demarest) and a number of very funny moments with Hope and Crosby. All in all, it’s a variety show in the guise of a half hour sitcom that ends up as a commercial for the US government.
It’s a fun little time capsule into 1940’s pop culture, and worth checking out.
The Bogart Factor
Playing himself, Bogart takes no part in the running story of the woman and her war veteran brother. His sole job is to walk out onstage during the final celebrity packed show and make a pitch to buy bonds. He looks fantastic – very healthy and sharp – and I’d have to say that if I’d been in the audience, I might have bought a war bond after hearing his short pitch. Then again, he was charismatic enough that he could have sold me just about anything he wanted.
By far the best part of the show comes when Hope and Crosby are forced to share a berth on the train to D.C. Having the most screen time out of all the celebrities in the show, there are lots of great moments for each man, but the sight of them spooning in bed, fast asleep, as Hope drapes his arm around Crosby’s waist is priceless. Then, when Crosby begins to dream about his racehorse Bluefoot (?) and starts reaching around and slapping Hope on the backside while saying, “Giddyup!” I had an actual laugh-out-loud moment. It’s every bit as fun as the hotel bed scene in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, and it makes me very excited to eventually review Road to Bali, as Bogart makes a cameo in that film as well.
Classic Bogie Moment
He’s not acting, so there are no classic tough guy lines or actions, but the classic Bogie stance does make an appearance. If you’ve seen any Bogart movies at all, you know the stance I’m talking about. Bogart stands up straight, puffs his chest, pops his hips out just a bit, and then tucks his thumbs into the waistband of his pants as he talks.
The Bottom Line
This is probably not a must see unless you’re a completist, but there are a few good chuckles and at least one guaranteed laugh from Hope and Crosby. If you’re a fan of Classic Hollywood, you won’t mind spending twenty minutes enjoying this little piece of Cinema history.