Ship Ahoy (1942)
Director: Edward Buzzell
Screenplay by: Harry Clork, Irving Brecher (uncredited),Harry Kurnitz (uncredited) from a story by Matt Brooks, Bradford Ropes, Bert Kalmar
Starring: Eleanor Powell, Red Skelton, Bert Lahr, Virginia O’Brien and Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra featuring Frank Sinatra and Buddy Rich
Tagline: “Red”, Radio’s Bad Boy, Is Good In This One!
The Overview: Beware of spoilers…
Tallulah Winters (Powell) is a dancer who performs with Tommy Dorsey. As they are about to leave on a ship bound for Puerto Rico, Tallulah is duped by Japanese spies into carrying a prototype magnetic mine with her. Tallulah thinks she is working for the US government. On board the ship Tallulah meets Merton K. Kibble (Skelton), a prolific writer of pulp stories. They are well on their way to falling in love when she overhears Kibble dictating a story and believes he is talking about her. Confusion ensues as the Japanese try to get the prototype and Kibble tries to get the girl…
If you’ve never seen a Red Skelton movie, this is one I’d recommend to try first. It’s a lot of fun. There are love story and spy subplots. Bert Lahr provides comedy relief — he and Skelton make a great team. Plus you get Frank Sinatra singing in his movie debut! (I also learned that Buddy Rich was with Tommy Dorsey and that the word “groovy” was in use in 1942!) Ship Ahoy is a fun trip and rates 4 of 5 stars.