Mystery in Swing (1940)

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Mystery in Swing
 

Released in 1940: The star trumpet player from the CeePee Johnson orchestra is murdered just before he is to leave for Hollywood and a big career in the movies.

Produced by Arthur Dreifuss

Directed by Arthur Dreifuss

The Actors: Monte Hawley (Biff Boyd, reporter), Marguerite Whitten (Linda Carroll), Tommie Moore (Mae Carroll), Edward Thompson (Police Captain Hall), Buck Woods (Buck Bedford, the butler), Jess Lee Brooks (John Carroll, Prince Ellis' song writer), Josephine Edwards (Maxine Rae, nightclub torch singer), Sybil Lewis (Cleo Ellis, the ex-wife), Robert Webb (Prince Ellis, trumpet player), Alfred Grant (Chet Wallace, nightclub announcer), Tom Southern (Sergeant Phipps), Halley Harding (newspaper editor Bailey), Leonard Christmas (lawyer Jones), Earle Morris (reporter Wayburn), John Lester Johnson (Champ, the Penguin Club owner), F.E. Miller (Sergeant Slim), The Four Toppers (themselves, singers), CeePee Johnson (himself, orchestra leader at the Penguin Club), Charles Andrews (jail turnkey John), Lucille Battle (nightclub patron), Louise Franklin (nightclub patron)

 

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Swing Time at the Penguin Club

In the 1930's and 1940's as motion pictures were becoming the biggest entertainment industry in every town, big and small, and there was a little remembered but robust niche industry featuring all African-American cast members in movies created exclusively for a growing chain of theaters in African-American towns and neighborhoods. The bad news is that because the market was limited many of the movies haven't survived . . . but the good news is that the ones that have survived are almost all public domain today and can be freely shared with the world, like this murder mystery from 1940. The real C.P. 'CeePee' Johnson orchestra and the real Four Toppers provide the toe-tapping swing music for our mystery and amazing trumpet player Robert Webb, playing the part of ladies-man Prince Ellis, is the murder victim. Ellis is leaving the band because he got a contract with a Hollywood movie studio but before he leaves he is murdered. His song writer threatens him because the trumpet virtuoso is having an affair with his youngest daughter. His soon-to-be ex-wife has a motive because she will be left without any money once the divorce is final and he leaves for Hollywood. His ex-girlfriends might want to get him because of his penchant for loving too many girls at the same time. His butler may want him dead because of a thing with the butler's sister years ago in Chicago. Penguin club torch singer Maxine, played by Josephine Edwards, may want him dead because she discovers that he is seeing his song writer's youngest daughter. It will be up to ace reporter Biff Boyd, played by Monte Hawley to help the police uncover the identity of the real killer. The first scheme is to assemble all of the known suspects at the Penguin Club and trick the killer into revealing himself, but after some fine swinging music from CeePee Johnson and his orchestra, and The Four Toppers, and the torch singer Maxine, we get another dead body, and are no closer to discovering the truth. Finally, on a dark and stormy night . . . honest . . . on a dark and stormy night at the hour of midnight all of the suspects are assembled in the late trumpet player's apartment and the stage is set for the killer to be revealed . . . I was convinced that the butler did it . . . honest . . . but I was wrong. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter on it and enjoy the show.

Alfred Grant
Alfred Grant
Buck Woods
Buck Woods
Buck Woods and Charles Andrews
Buck Woods and Charles Andrews
Buck Woods and Robert Webb
Buck Woods and Robert Webb
CeePee Johnson and orchestra
CeePee Johnson and orchestra
Edward Thompson
Edward Thompson
Haley Harding and Monte Hawley
Haley Harding and Monte Hawley
Jess Lee Brooks
Jess Lee Brooks
Jess Lee Brooks and Robert Webb
Jess Lee Brooks and Robert Webb
Josephine Edwards singing in the Penguin Club
Josephine Edwards singing in the Penguin Club
Josephine Edwards and The Four Toppers
Josephine Edwards and The Four Toppers
Josephine Edwards
Josephine Edwards
Leonard Christmas
Leonard Christmas
Marguerite Whitten and Jess Lee Brooks
Marguerite Whitten and Jess Lee Brooks
Marguerite Whitten and Monte Hawley
Marguerite Whitten and Monte Hawley
Marguerite Whitten and Monte Hawley at the Penguin Club
Marguerite Whitten and Monte Hawley at the Penguin Club
Marguerite Whitten and Tommie Moore
Marguerite Whitten and Tommie Moore
Monte Hawley
Monte Hawley
Monte Hawley and Edward Thompson
Monte Hawley and Edward Thompson
Monte Hawley and F.E. Miller
Monte Hawley and F.E. Miller
Monte Hawley and Josephine Edwards
Monte Hawley and Josephine Edwards
Robert Webb
Robert Webb
Robert Webb and Alfred Grant
Robert Webb and Alfred Grant
Robert Webb and Monte Hawley
Robert Webb and Monte Hawley
Robert Webb
Robert Webb
Sybil Lewis
Sybil Lewis
Sybil Lewis and Robert Webb
Sybil Lewis and Robert Webb
Sybil Lewis
Sybil Lewis
The Four Toppers
The Four Toppers
The Four Toppers
The Four Toppers
Tom Southern and Sybil Lewis
Tom Southern and Sybil Lewis
Tommie Moore
Tommie Moore
Tommie Moore and Josephine Edwards
Tommie Moore and Josephine Edwards
Tommie Moore
Tommie Moore