AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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In the Navy
Alternate Title: We're in the Navy Now
Director: Arthur Lubin (Dir)
Release Date:   30 May 1941
Production Date:   8 Apr--mid-May 1941
Duration (in mins):   85
Duration (in feet):   7,699
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Cast:   Bud Abbott (Smokey Adams)  
    Lou Costello (Pomeroy Watson)  
    Dick Powell (Tommy Halstead [also known as Russ Raymond])  
    Claire Dodd (Dorothy Roberts)  
    The Andrews Sisters (Patty, Maxene, LaVerne [Themselves])  
    Dick Foran (Dynamite Dugan)  
    Billy Lenhart (Butch)  
    Kenneth Brown (Buddy)  
    Shemp Howard (Dizzy)  
    The Condos Brothers (Dance specialty)  
    William Davidson (Captain Richards)  
    Thurston Hall (Head of committee)  
    Robert Emmett Keane (Travers)  
    Edward Fielding (Commander)  
    Douglas Wood (Admiral Stacey)  
    Don Terry (Floor manager)  
    Sunnie O'Dea (Dancer)  
    Eddie Dunn (Ticket taker)  
    Gary Breckner (Announcer)  
    J. Anthony Hughes (Lieutenant Martin)  
    Ralph Dunn (Traffic officer)  
    Dick Alexander (Big bruiser)  
    Richard Crane (Office boy)  
    Lorin Raker (Small meek husband)  
    Harold Daniels (Secretary)  
    Frank Penny (Bos'n)  
    Pat Gleason (Sentry)  
    Barry Hays (Sentry)  
    Regis Parton (Sentry)  
    Hooper Atchley (Committeeman)  
    Jack Mulhall (Lieutenant Scott)  
    Harry Strang (Jones)  
    Mickey Simpson (Tough civilian)  
    Claire Whitney (Gushing mother)  
    Lyle Latell (Marine)  
    Charles Sherlock (Marine)  
    Charles Sullivan (Sailor)  
    Phil Warren (Sailor)  
    Jack Roper (Sailor)  
    Chuck Morrison (Truck driver)  
    Lee Kass (Bandleader)  
    Virginia Engels (Office secretary)  
    Doris Herbert (Mother)  
    Patsy O'Byrne (Old maid)  
    James "Brick" Sullivan (Policeman)  
    James Farley (Policeman)  
    Edna Hall (Fat woman)  
    Blanche Payson (Hatchet-faced woman)  
    Gayle Mellott (Sophisticated girl)  
    Sandra Morgan (Well-dressed woman)  
    Estelle Etterre (Well-dressed woman)  
    Joe Bautista (Filipino mess boy)  
    Lois Austin    

Summary: America's singing heartthrob, Russ Raymond, performs his coast-to-coast show at radio station WGAB before a loving throng. His sudden disappearance after the show causes national headlines. Russ travels incognito cross-country to California, with reporter Dorothy Roberts in hot pursuit. At the same time, sailors Smokey Adams and Pomeroy Watson are sent to deliver a letter addressed to Tommy Halstead. Tommy Halstead is Russ's real name, and the letter contains his enlistment papers. Disguised as a maid, Dorothy sneaks into Russ's hotel room and photographs him while he shaves off his mustache. Russ catches Dorothy and tells her that he plans to spend the next six years in the U.S. Navy as "just plain Tommy Halstead." When she tries to run out of the room with her camera, Russ catches her, destorys her negatives, then takes a photo of himself spanking her. Eight weeks later, pretending to be a Navy publicist, Dorothy sneaks onto the United States Naval Training Station with the Andrews Sisters. As the singing sisters perform for the recent naval graduates, Dorothy seeks her prey. The Andrew Sisters themselves are looking for Pomeroy, who they assume from his letters is "tall, dark and handsome." Dorothy sends them over to Russ, whom they immediately recognize, and she photographs the quartet. Russ manages to destroy Dorothy's negatives once again, then points out the real Pomeroy to the sisters. As he tries to impress the Andrews Sisters, Pomeroy is chastised by chief petty officer Dynamite Dugan for "pretending to be a sailor" when he is actually a pastry cook who has never been to sea. Later, Pomeroy, Smokey and Russ go to a San Diego dance hall to see the Andrews Sisters perform. Pomeroy finally gets his chance to dance with Patty Andrews, but starts a brawl which lands him, Smokey and Russ in the brig. The three sailors are then transferred to active duty on the battleship U.S.S. Alabama . Dorothy stows away on the Alabama , where she coerces Pomeroy and Smokey into hiding her. Once they are in the middle of the Pacific, Russ discovers Dorothy, and he warns her of the trouble Pomeroy will get into if she is caught. Once the ship arrives in Hawaii, the sailors go to a nightclub to see the Andrews Sisters. There, Dynamite hits Russ in the face with a pie as Dorothy snaps their picture. After Russ's picture ends up on front pages across the country, women storm the ship on visitors' day in hopes of seeing the idol. Afraid that the Andrews Sisters will discover that he is only a cook, Pomeroy dresses himself as the battleship's captain and greets the singers in "his quarters." While the portly sailor entertains the sisters, the Alabama is ordered to give a demonstration of its maneuverability. When Pomeroy's commands are followed, the ship puts on a brilliant display. In the midst of his triumph, Pomeroy awakens and is be told by Smokey that he mistakenly drugged himself and that it was all a dream. That night, Dorothy apologizes to Russ, then proposes marriage, stating that his fans will not chase after a married man. Russ agrees, then joins with the others to put on a show to celebrate the end of the ship's voyage. 

Production Company: Universal Pictures Company, Inc.  
Distribution Company: Universal Pictures Company, Inc.  
Director: Arthur Lubin (Dir)
  Philip P. Karlstein (Asst dir)
  Joan Hathaway (Dial dir)
Producer: Alex Gottlieb (Assoc prod)
Writer: Arthur T. Horman (Scr)
  John Grant (Scr)
  Arthur T. Horman (Orig story)
Photography: Joseph Valentine (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Jack Otterson (Art dir)
  Harold H. MacArthur (Assoc)
Film Editor: Philip Cahn (Film ed)
Set Decoration: R. A. Gausman (Set dec)
Costumes: Vera West (Gowns)
Music: Charles Previn (Mus dir)
  Ted Cain (Mus supv)
  Vic Schoen (Arr)
Sound: Bernard B. Brown (Sd supv)
  Charles Carroll ([Sd] tech)
Special Effects: John P. Fulton (Spec eff)
Dance: Nick Castle (Mus numbers staged by)
Production Misc: H. E. Harris U.S.N., retired (Tech adv)
  Bob Moak (Unit pub wrt)
Country: United States

Songs: "Starlight, Starbright," "We're in the Navy Now," "We're Off to See the World," "Gimme Some Skin," "Hula-Ba-Luau," "A Sailor's Life for Me," words by Don Raye, music by Gene de Paul; "Oceana Roll," words by Roger Lewis, music by Lucien Denni.
Composer: Lucien Denni
  Roger Lewis
  Gene de Paul
  Don Raye

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Universal Pictures Co., Inc. 2/6/1941 dd/mm/yyyy LP10504

PCA NO: 7376
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Recording

 
Genre: Comedy
  Comedy
Sub-Genre: with songs
  Military
 
Subjects (Major): Cooks
  Electricians
  Radio performers
  Sailors
  Singers
  United States. Navy
  Women reporters
 
Subjects (Minor): Aliases
  Battleships
  Dance halls
  Dancers
  Disguise
  Hawaii
  Hotels
  Hula (Dance)
  Impersonation and imposture
  Jails
  Nightclubs
  Photographers
  Police
  San Diego (CA)
  Sisters
  Stowaways

Note: The working titles of this film were You're in the Navy , We're in the Navy Now and They're in the Navy . Modern sources also include Hello Sailor as a working title. The film was also known in trade publications as Abbott and Costello and Dick Powell in the Navy and Bud Abbott and Lou Costello and Dick Powell in the Navy . The opening credits begin with actors Bud Abbott and Lou Costello hoisting a flag with their names on it, then hoisting a flag with the title "Buck Privates" written on it. After Bud slaps Lou in the face, they both hoist flags with "Dick Powell" and "In the Navy" inscribed on them. (Universal had trouble with the picture's title, as Paramount, in Mar 1941, was also considering using the titles You're in the Navy Now and We're in the Navy Now for a planned service comedy starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, written by Eddie Moran and produced by Paul Jones. Although the Paramount film was not made, Universal changed the working title of its film to They're in the Navy .) The film includes the following prologue: "To the United States Navy and to the Officers and Enlisted Personnel of the San Diego and San Pedro Bases. This picture is dedicated in grateful appreciation of their invaluable cooperation.
       In the Navy was to be the third Abbott and Costello release of 1941, but with the unexpected success of their service comedy Buck Privates (see entry above), Universal executives decided to withhold their second film, Oh, Charlie (later released as Hold That Ghost , see entry above) and release this film first, as it was also a service comedy made with superior production values. During the film's production, Universal executives then decided to make a series of service comedies starring Abbott and Costello, and this film was followed by Keep 'Em Flying (see entry below), which executives felt would work well in the Latin American market.
       When this picture was still in the planning stages, HR announced that Commander Clyde Lovelace of the U.S. Naval Base in San Diego, CA would act as the film's technical advisor. That position was later credited to retired naval officer H. E. Harris, and it has not been determined to what extent, if any, Commander Lovelace contributed to the production. According to HR , dance director Nick Castle was borrowed from Warner Bros. to work on this film. HR also reported that the musical number "Gimme Some Skin" was recorded "live" on a Universal sound stage. This number included the use of 250 extras, and was filmed with members of the press in attendance. During production, writer John Grant signed a seven-year contract with Universal. Grant had worked on previous Abbott and Costello films, as well as writing for their radio show. According to a 8 May 1941 HR new item, Carol Lou Costello, the two-and-one-half year old daughter of Lou Costello, made her acting debut in this film. It has not been determined, however, if she appears in the released film.
       Universal publicity materials state that this was the first picture in which actor Dick Powell agreed to sing after a three-year singing hiatus. Press materials also state that the battleship sets for the film were based on actual U.S. Navy blueprints, and in order to reproduce the Royal Palms Hotel of Hawaii, Universal was required to haul to the studio lot 200 ruckloads of dirt and sand, as well as sixty palm trees. Publicity materials further claim that the song "We're in the Navy Now" became the official training tune at the U.S. Naval Training Station in San Diego, CA after the release of this film. HR new items of Jun 1941 stated that In the Navy was doing forty per cent more business than Buck Privates , while breaking box office records in such theaters as the Orpheum in San Francisco. Modern sources state that the film's overall grosses exceeded those of Buck Privates , and it was among the top grossing films of 1941.
       Modern sources also report that the film suffered censorship problems with the U.S. Naval Department. In the original shooting script, "Pomeroy Watson" disguises himself as the captain of a battleship to impress the Andrews Sisters. He then mistakenly takes over command of the ship, steering it though a series of wild maneuvers during a war games exercise, which ends up impressing the supervising admiral and a visiting senator. The Naval Department felt that this scene "made fools of the entire American fleet" and refused to allow the film to be released with it. Associate producer Alex Gottlieb then came up with the idea of re-shooting part of the controversial scene to have "Smokey" mistakenly drink a sleeping solution, thus establishing that the entire sequence was only a dream. The film was then approved by the Naval Department. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
American Cinematographer   Jun 41   p. 292.
Box Office   7 Jun 1941.   
Daily Variety   28 May 41   p. 3.
Film Daily   2 Jun 41   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   19 Feb 41   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   7 Mar 41   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   17 Mar 41   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   18 Mar 41   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   19 Mar 41   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   27 Mar 41   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   28 Mar 41   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   31 Mar 41   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   2 Apr 41   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   3 Apr 41   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   7 Apr 41   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Apr 41   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   11 Apr 41   p. 3, 11
Hollywood Reporter   25 Apr 41   p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter   30 Apr 41   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   5 May 41   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   8 May 41   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   20 May 41   p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter   28 May 41   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   2 Jun 41   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Jun 41   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   17 May 41   p. 133.
New York Times   12 Jun 41   p. 29.
Variety   4 Jun 41   p. 15.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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