The Underdog (October 17, 1943)

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The Underdog
 

Released on October 17, 1943: A young boy and his dog help capture a World War II saboteur.

Produced by Max Alexander

Directed by William Nigh

The Actors: Barton MacLane (John Tate), Bobby Larson (Henry Tate), Jan Wiley (Amy Tate), Charlotte Wynters (Mrs. Bailey), Conrad Binyon (Spike Connors), Elizabeth Valentine (Mrs. Connors), Kenneth Harlan (Eddie Mohr), George Anderson (Kraeger), Jack Kennedy (Police Officer O'Toole), Frank Ellis (old timer), I. Stanford Jolley (friendly soldier), Jack Rockwell (fireman)

 

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Henry & Hobo

October 1943 . . . World War II is raging in Europe and the Pacific, and life at home in the States is very different . . . there are spies in every neighborhood . . . food and other goods are rationed at home because the men at the front need the food and supplies . . . A large blue star on your house means that someone in the family is fighting for freedom and a large gold star means that a military man of the house has perished. If you don't have a star on your house it may imply that you are not a patriot, as the neighborhood bully tells little Henry Tate. The sign on the wall upstairs at Kraeger's bar that is seen in several scenes is of a sailor drowning as his ship has sunk. The drowning sailor is reaching out his hand in desperation and the poster reads, "Someone Talked." Keeping secrets was very important during the Second World War. Today there are no more secrets . . . if your neighbor breaks wind you can read about it on Facebook, or if someone tweets something incredibly stupid, within hours the whole world knows about it . . . but in 1943 there were secrets, and spies had to work hard to discover basic facts about the American war machine that the country had become. John and Amy Tate moved to a coastal city when farming didn't pan out for them, and quickly Amy gets a job bringing in good money while John wanders like a farmer out of his field trying to reconcile with the shame of having his woman bring in more income than him and his problems finding a man's job when he just wants to be a farmer. Young son Henry Tate can handle the neighborhood bully, keep his mom encouraged, and talk his dad into a positive outlook. All dad wants in life is a nice farm to help feed the soldiers and the world, but his 1943 world is turned upside down because of the war and a family farm doesn't seem to be in his future. Forced to live in the big city mom and son Henry adjust well, but Papa will take a bit more time and hard knocks before he finds his path to the future, and it will include a spy and saboteur who will frame him for arson in the destruction of vital military goods in a warehouse. Thank goodness he has a twelve year old son named Henry and a mutt named Hobo who will help him capture the spies! Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

The 'Someone Talked' poster in Kraeger's bar
The 'Someone Talked' poster in Kraeger's bar
Barton MacLane and Bobby Larson
Barton MacLane and Bobby Larson
Bobby Larson and Barton MacLane
Bobby Larson and Barton MacLane
Bobby Larson and I. Stanford Jolley
Bobby Larson and I. Stanford Jolley
Bobby Larson and Jan Wiley
Bobby Larson and Jan Wiley
Bobby Larson
Bobby Larson
Charlotte Wynters
Charlotte Wynters
Charlotte Wynters
Charlotte Wynters
Contad Binyon and Elizabeth Valentine
Contad Binyon and Elizabeth Valentine
Conrad Binyon
Conrad Binyon
Elizabeth Valentine and Jan Wiley
Elizabeth Valentine and Jan Wiley
Elizabeth Valentine
Elizabeth Valentine
Jack Kennedy and Bobby Larson
Jack Kennedy and Bobby Larson
Jack Kennedy
Jack Kennedy
Jan Wiley and Elizabeth Valentine have tea
Jan Wiley and Elizabeth Valentine have tea
Jan Wiley welcomes Elizabeth Valentine
Jan Wiley welcomes Elizabeth Valentine
Jan Wiley
Jan Wiley
Kenneth Harlan, Barton MacLane and George Anderson
Kenneth Harlan, Barton MacLane and George Anderson