This week’s mystery movie has been the 1949 Warner Bros. picture “The Girl From Jones Beach,” with Ronald Reagan, Virginia Mayo, Eddie Bracken, Dona Drake, Henry Travers, Lois Wilson, Florence Bates, Jerome Cowan, Helen Westcott, Paul Harvey, Lloyd Corrigan, Gary Gray and Myrna Dell.
The screenplay was by I.A.L. Diamond from a story by Allen Boretz, photography by Carl Guthrie, art direction by Stanley Fleischer, dialogue direction by John Maxwell, set decoration by William Kuehl, special effects by William McGann and Edwin DuPar, wardrobe by Leah Rhodes, makeup by Perc Westmore and orchestrations by Leonid Raab. Music by David Buttolph, produced by Alex Gottlieb and directed by Peter Godfrey.
“The Girl From Jones Beach” is available on DVD from Warner Archive.
I picked the “The Girl From Jones Beach” because of its summer theme, but it has a notable history. In 1948, Warner Bros. suspended Lauren Bacall, originally cast in the lead, for refusing to make the picture, which was to star Dennis Morgan. At first, studio sources told the New York Times that Bacall had no objections to the picture, but wanted a vacation after making “Key Largo.”
Irritated by Warners’ claims, Bacall went on the record with the New York Times (April 25, 1948) saying that she refused the picture because “I’m not a bathing beauty” but she also tore into the project.
“The script is bad,” she said. “It’s labeled a comedy but I don’t think it’s funny. As a picture, I feel it’s completely wrong. When it comes out, I think I’ll be justified. As for jeopardizing the jobs of 200 people, Warners has laid off five times that many people in the last six months. Let’s face it. They have the interests of Warner Bros. at heart and I have the interests of me at heart, and we just aren’t getting together.”
Warners suspended Bacall again for refusing to make “Blowing Wild,” a remake of “Torrid Zone” originally retitled “Sacramento Sal.”
Writing in the New York Times (July 30, 1949), Bosley Crowther said:
The brand of humor concocted in I.A.L. Diamond’s script is not of a lofty order. Indeed, it is noticeably low. And it may be because the competition is not of an overwhelming sort. Eddie Bracken’s frenzied performance of a scatter-brained promotion man is largely composed of wide-eyed ogles at dames. And Dona Drake’s girlish clowning of his sweetheart is mostly a matter of acting bored….
As a comedy actress Miss Mayo is no better than a rather weak script. But as a model for bathing apparel — well, do you or do you not like bathing suits?
For Monday, we have a mystery woman She does not approve of such goings-on.
Update: This is Dona Drake.
For Tuesday, we have a mystery woman. Ignore Back of the Head Guy, who will make an appearance later in the week.
Update: This is Helen Westcott and Back of Head Guy Eddie Bracken.
Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and mystery woman) and Gary (mystery studio).
For Wednesday, we have a mystery woman who would not approve of such goings-on – IF she knew what was going on (she does not).
Update: This is Myrna Dell.
Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (Tuesday’s mystery woman), Jenny M. (mystery movie, Tuesday’s mystery woman), Gary (mystery movie, mystery guests and Back of the Head Guy).
For Thursday, we have a mystery guest (he does not approve of such goings-on) and another shot of Posterior of the Cranium Gentleman.
Update: This Eddie Bracken (Back of the Head Guy) and Chester Clute.
We also have a mystery lad (Are those pictures supposed to be family photos? You WB prop guys are sure a bundle of laffs).
Update: This is Gary Gray.
And our mystery lad’s mystery mom.
Update: This is Lois Wilson.
Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (Wednesday’s mystery woman, Tuesday’s Posterior of the Cranium Gentleman), Benito (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery woman and mystery leading man to be seen tomorrow) and Gary (Wednesday’s mystery woman and by email a photo of all 12 women who would not approve of such goings-on — if they knew what was going on).
For Friday, our leading man and leading lady approve of such goings-on.
Update: Ronald Reagan and Virginia Mayo.
Our mystery second leads….
Update: This is Dona Drake and Eddie Bracken.
Brain Trust roll call: Suzanne Stone (Monday’s mystery woman), David Inman (Thursday’s mystery bill collector), Mary Mallory (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery woman, mystery Posterior of the Cranium gentleman, Thursday’s mystery lad and Thursday’s mystery woman), Mike Hawks (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery guests), Gary (Thursday’s mystery guests), Tucson Barbara (mystery movie, mystery Posterior of the Cranium gentleman, Thursday’s mystery lad and Thursday’s mystery woman), Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery lad, mystery bill collector and mystery woman), Sue Slutzky (Thursday’s mystery bill collector) and Lee Ann, Megan and Thom (Thursday’s mystery bill collector).