|A-Haunting We Will Go
|Series:||Laurel & Hardy||♦||Distribution:||20th Century Fox||♦||Director:||Alfred L. Worker||♦||Cinematography:||Glen MacWilliams|
|Production:||-||♦||Type:||Feature||♦||Executive producer:||Sol M. Wurtzel||♦||Editor:||Alfred Day|
|Released:||07 August 1942||♦||Length:||68 minutes||♦||Screenplay:||Lou Breslow||♦||Art direction:||Lewis H. Creber, Richard Day|
|BEST VERSION AVAILABLE
Stan and Ollie's day begins with being kicked out of the local police station (literally) and told to get out of town after spending the previous night behind bars (for being ejected from a freight car bound for Florida). Of course Ollie blames Stan for the predicament as they take to the road to hitch-hike their way to Florida. Ollie thumbs for a lift, but Stan thumbs in the opposite direction. They are passed by a multitude of speeding cars going so fast that Stan cannot keep up with them all. Eventually when one driver (Tom Dugan) stops to offer a lift Stan's head is still shaking from watching too many cars. Ollie accepts the lift on Stan's behalf but then discovers the battery of the car has suddenly died. Ollie offers to push and gets Stan to help him. They end up pushing the car back to the owner's home.
Feeling slightly used, they boys sit down and read the newspaper that is thrown at them by the passing paperboy. Ollie sees an expenses-paid trip to Dayton, Ohio to make a delivery and so decides to go to the address in the advert to enquire further. Once there, the boys are introduced to some shady characters who are looking to pull a con job by transporting one of their members in a coffin to a secure location. When the boys realise their task would be taking care of a 'corpse' they make a quick exit.
|Two more of the gang turn up at the hold-up house after the boys leave and the plan of transporting their crook friend inside the coffin is better explained to them (and to us). Stan and Ollie turn up at the railroad station to receive the coffin they are supposed to transport, oblivious to any criminal involvement. They are given further instructions on what to do when they arrive in Dayton by Joe Morgan (James Bush). During the same period of time a similar (prop) coffin arrives at the station ready to be transported to a magic show which is to be performed by Dante the Magician. Naturally the boys assume this is theirs and claim it as such.
On board the train the boys encounter two swindlers who spot Stan and Ollie showing off their wad of cash. The two men (Richard Lane and Robert Emmett Keane) produce a contraption they call "the inflato" which they claim can turn small denominations of bank notes into larger ones. They make sure the boys see it, and Ollie becomes very interested. Believing he can change their fortunes, Ollie buys the obvious-to-us fake model from the two men, who quickly depart.
Later that evening the boys are finishing up a large meal they have ordered, courtesy of their $1 bill they still have. The porter (Mantan Moreland) gives the boys the check for the food and receives a phony bank note in return. The 'inflato' has revealed its true nature and turned their dollar bill into a phony one-sided fake note. A second attempt to convert the bill through the machine results in it disappearing completely. They are reported and threatened with a forceable ejection from the train if they do not pay.
An unlikely source comes to their rescue in the form of a stage magician who is on the train, on his way to the same destination. He pays for the boy's meal, after performing a small card trick on Ollie. Ollie offers to pay the magician back when he collects the fee for transporting 'Charlie' (the 'corpse' in the coffin). The criminal gang are held up at the Ferndale Sanitarium, when they receive what they believe to be their fellow gang member in the coffin. However, what they get is an identical-looking coffin which is intended for Dante. The mix-up means the gang have to make an excuse to attend Dante's show with the intention of making the switch.
Stan and Ollie arrive at the Palace Theater as promised, to pay back Dante the money they borrowed from him. After a gag involving a predictable weighted bag being dropped onto Ollie's head, the boys make such an impression that Dante hires them to be in his show as part of the light entertainment - after he demonstrates an illusion involving two telephone booths on his stage. 50% COMPLETE
The laughs and magical moments in this dreary feature are few and far between. One of those rare times where a slight smile is raised by the viewing audience is when Stan is introduced to the stage manager Tommy White (John Shelton).
Tommy (to Stan): "Glad to know you"
• This was the second feature Laurel and Hardy made for 20th Century Fox after leaving Hal Roach two years previously.
• March 15 - early April 1942.
• Lou Lubin bravely performed his own stunts at the end of the film when he is trapped in the cage with the lion.
• Sheila Ryan was recruited for the film at the insistence of Stan and Ollie, after she impressed them on the previous film, Great Guns.
• Director Alfred Werker was more suited to dramatic pictures, so to be involved in the front line of making a comedy he was a bit out of his depth.
• Mantan Moreland was given the role of the train porter after he was working on the 20th Century Fox lot at the time of shooting. He came over to watch the boys shooting their scenes and was put in the one scene where he gives Stan and Ollie their bill. Their scene was largely improvised.
• When the boys cannot pay for their meal on the train, the conductor instructs the train to stop at Milledgeville to let them off. Millidgeville was a real town in Georgia, where Ollie grew up as a kid.
• The film begins with a fade-in.
• The opening scenes of the film are set in Atlanta, Georgia.
• The police station at the beginning of the film where Stan and Ollie spend the night is Hamilton. There are five steps leading up to the main entrance from street level.
• Stan says he had oatmeal for breakfast before being released from the police station.
• After their move to 20th Century Fox, Stan was particularly frustrated over the lack of say he had in their pictures. Therefore it's nice to note that the boys were able to retain some of their famous mannerisms from their earlier pictures with a slightly different take on Ollie's famous "mess" phrase: "Well, here's another predicament you've gotten us into."
• When Stan and Ollie start hitch-hiking by the side of the road, Stan thumbs for a lift in the opposite direction as to what Ollie is. This was a gag they used previously in their brief cameo in On The Wrong Trek.
• The license plate of the car the boys push back to the owner's house is Georgia C16-326 (1942 plate).
• The newspaper that is thrown at Ollie by the paperboy is The Atlanta Constitution.
The main headline reads: "Japanese, Nazi Stores Are Wrecked, Axis Aliens Mauled As Brazilians Rio".
The advert reads: "Free transportation and expenses to Dayton. Phone Evergreen 42120".
• The ticket attached to the Dante's coffin at the train station is M07-746.
• The charge for the boys' meal on the train comes to $6.80.
• Dante is performing at the Palace Theater in Dayton, Ohio.
• When Stan drops the weighted bag on Ollie's head, Ollie tells him to "let that alone". Stan releases the rope which is holding the bag and it falls on Ollie's head a second time. Watch Ollie close his eyes in anticipation before the bag hits the second time.
• When Ollie gives Stan two dimes for his nickel during the telephone booth illusion, Ollie doesn't even check his change to make sure he is giving Stan the correct amount.
What the experts say
• "It's a dreary experience to spend 67 minutes of one's life in the company of this wretched excuse for a movie." - Randy Skretvedt
|Dante the Magician
|Elisha Cook Jr.
Frank Lucas/Aunt Mary
Police Lieutenant Foster
Malcolm Kilgore, attorney
|Robert Emmett Keane
Detective on train
Wilcox, baggage handler
Dante's young admirer
|Mary Lou Harrington
Dante's young admirer
Dante's young admirer
Dante's young admirer
Showgirl #2 on stairs
Paperboy - Baggage handler #1 - Conductor
Dante's backstage doorman - Showgirl #1 on stairs - Dante's young admirer
||POSTERS, LOBBY CARDS, COLORIZED TITLE CARD & STILLS
(all courtesy Rick Greene)
(all courtesy John Field)
'From The Forties Forward' by Scott MacGillivray (book)
Joe Davis (color title card)
Jorge Finkielman (cleaning poster)
John Field (images + restoration)
Scott MacGillivray (help identifying Mary Lou Harrington)
7 lobby cards courtesy Rick Greene - used with his kind permission
This page was last updated on: 19 May 2018