Duke of the Navy (January 23, 1942)
Released on January 23, 1942: Two Navy boys get caught up in a phony pirate treasure hunt and discover a real chest of long forgotten pirate treasure.
Directed by William Beaudine
Written by Gerald Drayson Adams, William Beaudine and John T. Coyle.
The Actors: Ralph Byrd (Breezy Duke), Veda Ann Borg (Maureen), Stubby Kruger ('Cookie' Dan Cook), Herbert Corthell ('General' Courtney, swindler), Margaret Armstrong (Mrs. John T. Duke), Val Stanton (Sniffy / Higgins the General's gentleman's gentleman), Paul Bryar (Bunco Bisbee), Sammy Cohen (Murphy), Red Knight (Tex), Lester Towne (Peewee), William Beaudine Jr. (Bingo), Zack Williams (Congo).
Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave . . .
In 1808 Walter Scott wrote a poem that included the famous line, 'Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive! Practically everyone in this treasure hunt is pretending to be someone other than who they really are. Actor Ralph Byrd is Bill Duke, an easy going Navy man with a good natured but a bit daffy side kick Cookie, played by Stubby Kruger. The boys are stationed at a Navy base in Miami, Florida, and have 30 days leave. Ralph Byrd tells everyone that he is William Duke, heir to the Duke candy fortune. Of course, he is not related to the wealthy Dukes in any way. He and Cookie get picked up by a lady who turns out to be the real Mrs. Duke of the candy Dukes. She is a good natured soul who allows the boys to use her suite in a big Miami hotel while they are on leave. Inside the fancy hotel the boys are nearly penniless, but everyone thinks that Byrd is wealthy, so they are chased by all the gold diggers in the place. This includes an old con man in the hotel that is even more penniless than the Navy boys. The con man, pretending to be a retired General who rode with Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders decides that the two Navy boys are his ticket to riches. The con man hires a pretty young blonde as part of his con, and gets the Navy boys to help finance a phony pirate treasure hunt on a nearby Caribbean island. The boys get their Navy buddies to pony up enough cash for their end of the treasure hunt expenses, and the adventure begins. As things begin to get even more complicated, a funny thing happens . . . the Navy boys discover a real chest full of buried pirate treasure, worth a fortune. Now we have two Navy boys pretending to be who they are not, on a treasure hunt with con-men who are pretending to be who they are not, and a real chest of treasure beyond belief. And the a couple of the con men decide that they will steal the treasure for themselves, cutting out the General and the Navy boys. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with warm melted butter on it and watch to see who really winds up with the treasure. Oh, and the name 'Duke' - today in 2013 if you want to name a wealthy gal you might think of Paris Hilton, but in 1942 Duke was the name of the richest lady in the world. Doris Duke was the daughter of a wealthy tobacco tycoon who also made a ton of money with hydroelectric power. He died in 1925 leaving an immense fortune to thirteen year old Doris Duke, who managed to be in the newspaper gossip columns much of time during her youth.
Veda Ann Borg tricks Ralph Byrd and Stubby Kruger into going to the General's hotel room
Herbert Corthell and Paul Bryar discuss their 'pigeons' that they will con with a phony treasure chest
Herbert Corthell as General Courtney and Ralph Byrd as Breezy Duke
Herbert Corthell and Val Stanton watch the suckers dig for treasure
Herbert Corthell and Val Stanton think of a way to con Breezy Duke out of some money
Herbert Corthell as con man General Courtney
Margaret Armstrong as Mrs. John T. Duke
Paul Bryar as BUnco Bisbee, one of the con men
Ralph Byrd and Veda Ann Borg on the way to getting married, with Stubby Kruger at the wheel
Ralph Byrd and Stubby Kruger trying to hitch a ride in Miami
Ralph Byrd and Veda Ann Borg
Red Knight as Navy man Tex
Stubby Kruger and Ralph Byrd hitch a ride with the real Mrs. Duke
Val Stanton and Herb Corthell watch as the boys find a real treasure chest
Val Stanton as Sniffy, the General's manservant
Veda Ann Borg as Maureen sizes up Ralph Byrd and decides how to attract his attention
William Beaudine Jr. as Bingo, one of the Navy boys
William Beaudine Jr. on the radio hears about the treasure
William Beaudine Jr. as Bingo in Duke of the Navy
Zack Williams as Congo, one of the henchmen in Duke of the Navy