Let's Go Collegiate (September 12, 1941)
Released on September 12, 1941: A small college has the chance to get a star athlete, but when he is drafted for the military, the gang tries to have a substitute take his place in this romantic musical comedy.
Directed by Jean Yarbrough
Written by Edmond Kelso.
The Actors: Frankie Darro (Frankie Monahan), Marcia Mae Jones (Bess Martin), Jackie Moran (Tad), Keye Luke (Buck Wing), Mantan Moreland (Jeff), Frank Sully (Hercules 'Herk' Bevans), Gale Storm (Midge Lawrence), Billy Griffith (Professor Whitaker), Barton Yarborough (Coach Walsh), Frank Faylen (Speed Dorman), Marguerite Whitten (Malvina), Paul Maxey ('Bullet' Bill Miller), Tristram Coffin (Slugger Wilson), Gene O'Donnell (the announcer), Marvin Jones (Homer).
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Pop some white kernel popcorn and saturate it with warm melted butter and get ready for a light-hearted romantic musical comedy from a small college campus in 1941. Plenty of our old movie friends are in this one, including the team of Frankie Darro and Mantan Moreland, and the future television star Gale Storm, and the actor that you never knew but occupies a spot in the meaningless trivia of actor history. Take a gander at Coach Walsh, the coach of the college rowing team. He was a character in several movies, but the reason that I remember him is the television show 'Dragnet.' Yup, he was Joe Friday's partner when the show first aired. He was not only Jack Webb's original partner when the show began in 1951, ten years after this movie, but the only partner that was taller than star Jack Webb. Unfortunately, after filming the first two episodes, he had a fatal heart attack and died shortly after, limiting his Dragnet career to the first two shows.
Our movie opens in small Rawley college, where the rowing team, including Frankie Darro and Keye Luke, is looking forward to the arrival of star rowing college guy, Bob Terry, who may help old Rawley college get it's first championship at the big race coming up. But there is bad news . . . on the eve of his arrival, the boys find out that Terry has been drafted into the military and will not be coming. To make things worse, the boys promised to bring Terry to a big sorority dance that evening, and all of their girlfriends are excited about meeting the star. The boys decide to find a substitue for Terry and bring him to the dance so that they won't get into trouble with their girlfriends. Then the next day after the big dance, they can have the substitute disappear and tell everyone that Terry was drafted and won't be able to help the rowing team. While driving around, they spot Herk, a strong man, and convince him to pretend that he is rowing star Terry for one night at the sorority dance.
Complications arise when Herk likes the attention that he is getting from the girls, and decides to stay at the college and continue pretending to be the college star. Lots of comedy throughout the adventure, and it gets even more interesting as we discover that Herk, the fellow impersonating the rowing champ, is actually a wanted criminal. And one of the alumni coming to the college to see the big race is a cop that has been chasing Herk for months.
With lots of song, dance and comedy lines, you will laugh your way through this delightful college comedy from September of 1941, just a couple of months before Pearl Harbor and the overnight change in America's movie mindset.