While New York Sleeps (December 15, 1938)

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A Shot in the Dark
 

Released on December 15, 1938: A practical joker nightclub owner mixed up with murder and bond theft is seemingly killed by a dancer at the club, so her boyfriend reporter tries to find the real killer.

Directed by H. Bruce Humberstone

The Actors: Michael Whalen (reporter Barney Callahan), Jean Rogers (nightclub dancer Judy King), Chick Chandler (newspaper photographer Snapper Doolan), Robert Kellard (boyfriend from Johnstown, Malcolm Hunt), Joan Woodbury (nightclub singer Nora Parker), Harold Huber (nightclub owner Joe Marco), Marc Lawrence (Happy Nelson), Sidney Blackmer (lawyer Ralph Simmons), William Demarest (Red Miller), June Gale (Kitty, telepone operator), Cliff Clark (Inspector Jeff Collins), Edward Gargan (Sergeant White), Minor Watson (editor Charles MacFarland), Robert Middlemass (James Sawyer, insurance company boss), Carol Adams (dancer), Mantan Moreland (janitor)

 

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The Johnstown Jolt with Ipecac

I spent my teenage years in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, about 30 miles or so from Johnstown, where on May 31, 1889 a poorly engineered dam broke above the valley town and a Great Flood swept through the city killing hundreds and destroying much of the town. Johnstown is situated in the Laurel Highlands of the Appalachian Mountains in a deep valley with mountains on both sides, and once in a while Dad would take us to Johnstown to ride the Incline train that ran up the side of the mountain, and tell us about the Great Flood of 1889. In this crime adventure centered in a nightclub in New York City, Jean Rogers is dancer Judy King from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and when her boyfriend from back home visits the nightclub he orders a 'Johnstown Jolt.' William Demarest is Red Miller the bartender and he has no idea what a 'Johnstown Jolt' is, and Chick Chandler, a newspaper photographer guesses that it might be a glass of water . . . But our leading man, hot-shot reporter Barney, played by Michael Whalen, suggests to the bartender that the drink includes three parts of ipecac! Now, for you youngsters who don't have any idea what ipecac is, you should first know that this fellow is also in love with the nightclub dancer, and is very jealous of her boyfriend from Johnstown . . . then you should know that ipecac is a drug that when swallowed will induce severe vomiting . . . kind of like the poor man's stomach pump . . . and that isn't the only corny gag in this very serious murder thriller. Nightclub owner Joe Marco, played by Harold Huber, loves gags . . . exploding cigars . . . firecrackers in the piano . . . hand buzzers . . . . heh, I remember seeing an ad for an electrical shock hand buzzer for 99 cents in the back of one of my comic books as a youngster. I sent in the money expecting to get some electrified gadget that would positively shock the daylights out of anyone that I would use it on. It turned out to be a small wind-up toy that would vibrate a bit and buzz loudly as a spring unwound . . . it didn't even scare my big sister Carol . . . I still remember how disappointed I was . . . but in this movie the same kind of hand buzzer features prominently in the clues leading to the killer. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with warm melted butter drizzled over it and be careful not to smoke any exploding cigars as you enjoy the show.

Chick Chandler as Snapper Doolan
Chick Chandler as Snapper Doolan
Cliff Clark and Edward Gargan
Cliff Clark and Edward Gargan
Cliff Clark and Michael Whalen
Cliff Clark and Michael Whalen
Edward Gargan and Cliff Clark
Edward Gargan and Cliff Clark
Edward Gargan as Sergeant White
Edward Gargan as Sergeant White
Harold Huber as Joe Marco
Harold Huber as Joe Marco
Jean Rogers, Michael Whalen and Harold Huber
Jean Rogers, Michael Whalen and Harold Huber
Jean Rogers and Michael Whalen
Jean Rogers and Michael Whalen
Jean Rogers and Michael Whalen
Jean Rogers and Michael Whalen
Jean Rogers and William Demarest
Jean Rogers and William Demarest
Jean Rogers as dancer Judy King
Jean Rogers as dancer Judy King
Jean Rogers in While New York Sleeps
Jean Rogers in While New York Sleeps
Joan Woodbury in While New York Sleeps
Joan Woodbury in While New York Sleeps
Joan Woodbury
Joan Woodbury
Joan Woodbury in While New York Sleeps
Joan Woodbury in While New York Sleeps
Joan Woodbury singing in the nightclub
Joan Woodbury singing in the nightclub
Joan Woodbury is angry because her boyfriend isn't listening to her
Joan Woodbury is angry because her boyfriend isn't listening to her
June Gale and Michael Whalen
June Gale and Michael Whalen
Mantan Moreland as the janitor
Mantan Moreland as the janitor
Marc Lawrence, Joan Woodbury and Robert Middlemass
Marc Lawrence, Joan Woodbury and Robert Middlemass
Marc Lawrence holds his gun on the group as he confesses
Marc Lawrence holds his gun on the group as he confesses
Marc Lawrence as Happy Nelson
Marc Lawrence as Happy Nelson
Marc Lawrence in While New York Sleeps
Marc Lawrence in While New York Sleeps
Mark Lawrence smokes his cigar
Mark Lawrence smokes his cigar
Mark Lawrence as Happy Nelson
Mark Lawrence as Happy Nelson
Mark Lawrence and Sidney Blackmer
Mark Lawrence and Sidney Blackmer
Michael Whalen and Chick Chandler
Michael Whalen and Chick Chandler
Michael Whalen and Harold Huber
Michael Whalen and Harold Huber
Michael Whalen is reporter Barney Callahan
Michael Whalen is reporter Barney Callahan
Michael Whalen in While New York Sleeps
Michael Whalen in While New York Sleeps
Minor Watson and Michael Whalen
Minor Watson and Michael Whalen
Minor Watson as newspaper editor Charles MacFarland
Minor Watson as newspaper editor Charles MacFarland
Minor Watson in While New York Sleeps
Minor Watson in While New York Sleeps
Nora Parker and Marc Lawrence
Nora Parker and Marc Lawrence
Marc Lawrence with an exploding cigar
Marc Lawrence with an exploding cigar
William Demarest and Harold Huber
William Demarest and Harold Huber
William Demarest and Michael Whalen
William Demarest and Michael Whalen
William Demarest serves a drink to Michael Whalen
William Demarest serves a drink to Michael Whalen
William Demarest is bartender Red Miller
William Demarest is bartender Red Miller
William Demarest in While New York Sleeps
William Demarest in While New York Sleeps