Sunday, January 30, 2011

On This Day in Abbott and Costello History

Today January 31st "Buck Privates" opened in 1941.

Slicker Smith and Herbie Brown (Abbott and Costello) are sidewalk peddlers who hawk neckties out of a suitcase. They are chased by a cop and duck into a movie theater, not realizing that it is now being used as an Army Recruitment Center. Believing that they are signing up for theater prizes, they end up enlisting instead.
Meanwhile, spoiled playboy Randolph Parker (Lee Bowman) and his long-suffering valet, Bob Martin (Alan Curtis), are also enlisting at the old theater. Randolph expects his influential father to pull some strings so he can avoid military service. Bob, on the other hand, takes his military obligations in stride. Tensions between the two men escalate with the introduction of Judy Gray (Jane Frazee), a camp hostess and friend of Bob's upon whom Randolph sets his sights.
At boot camp, Slicker and Herbie are mortified to discover that the policeman who chased them is now their drill sergeant(!). Randolph, meanwhile, learns that his father will not use his influence on his behalf, believing that a year in the Army will do Randolph some good. Life at camp is not so bad, since the Andrews Sisters appear at regular intervals to sing patriotic or sentimental tunes, and Herbie continues to screw up with little consequence.
Randolph decides to skip an army shooting match (that his company eventually loses) to meet with Judy, which causes the rest of his company to resent him. But during a war game exercise, Randolph redeems himself by saving Bob and coming up with a ruse to win the exercise for his company. He is finally accepted by his unit, and wins Bob's and Judy's admiration in the process. Randolph soon learns that he's been accepted to Officer Training School, but initially refuses thinking that his father's political influence was responsible. However, his commanding officer assures him that his training record (along with recommendations from others in his class) factored in the decision. Randolph later finds out that Bob has also been offered an appointment to OTS, and Judy announces that she will be joining them as a hostess at the OTS training facility. (synopsis from Wikipedia)

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