AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Road Show
Director: Hal Roach (Dir)
Release Date:   1941
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 18 Feb 1941
Duration (in mins):   85
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Cast:   Adolphe Menjou (Col. [Carleton] Carraway)  
    Carole Landis (Penguin Moore)  
    John Hubbard (Drogo Gaines)  
    Charles Butterworth (Harry Whitman)  
    Patsy Kelly (Jinx)  
    George E. Stone (Indian)  
    Margaret Roach (Priscilla)  
    Polly Ann Young (Helen Newton)  
    Edward Norris (Ed Newton)  
    Marjorie Woodworth (Alice)  
    Florence Bates (Mrs. Newton)  
    Willie Best (Willie)  
    The Charioteers (Themselves)  
    Paul Stanton (Dr. Thorndyke)  
    Ted Stanhope (Stanhope)  
    Clarence Wilson (Sheriff)  
    Lane Chandler (State trooper)  
    Jack Norton (Drunk)  

Summary: Millionaire Drogo Gaines has such a bad case of cold feet on his wedding day that he pretends to have a nervous breakdown. Drogo recovers after he overhears his fiancĂ©e, Helen Newton, and her mother and brother Ed lamenting the fact that they will lose Drogo's fortune, and he tells Helen the wedding is off. Helen refuses to be jilted at the altar, however, and attacks Drogo and makes it look as if he has gone crazy. Drogo is then knocked out by Ed, and later awakens in a mental institution, where the doctor insists he is insane. That night, Drogo and Col. Carleton Carraway, a formerly wealthy eccentric who admitted himself to the hospital, escape by rowboat, and are later picked up by carnival operator Penguin Moore. When Penguin arrives at the carnival site, the sheriff demands $120 in water and electricity fees from her. Penguin is broke, so Drogo pays the sheriff with his last few dollars. When the independently-minded Penguin protests, Drogo suggests she give Carraway a concession for his special camera in exchange for the money. Shortly after, the lot owner demands more money for rent, so Drogo and Carraway cleverly raise the money with a shell game. Drogo and Carraway are arrested, but Penguin busts them out of jail. Along the way to the next site, police searching for the asylum escapees pull Penguin over. Carraway and Drogo hide, and narrowly escape being seen by Helen, who has accompanied the police. Drogo's personal secretary, Stanhope, sees his boss, however, and stays behind with the carnival. Drogo, tired of being romanced by gold diggers, falls in love with Penguin, who thinks "gentlemen" are loafers. Penguin insists that Drogo and Carraway earn their keep, and puts them to work pounding tent stakes. The carnival continues to lose money and is unwelcome in most towns. To help Penguin, Drogo secretly sends Stanhope to purchase and equip a new carnival. Penguin, meanwhile, promotes Drogo as her aerial acrobatics assistant, but loses respect for him when his incompetence ruins her act. Carraway tries to repair Drogo's reputation by claiming that he was once a famous lion tamer, and feeling a newfound respect for Drogo, Penguin surprises him by buying a pair of lions for his own act. A terrified Drogo gets a reprieve from his first experience at lion taming when a sudden storm shuts down the carnival. Carraway then arranges for the carnival to encamp at his wealthy nephew Harry Whitman's estate. Harry's guests attend the carnival, but they are terrified when Drogo's lion follows him out of the cage. After Willie, the reluctant lionkeeper, draws the lion back into its cage, the concessions are broken up by an outsider who resents the higher prices being charged because of the private party. A brawl ensues during which the carnival is destroyed, but Harry promises to cover the expenses after they succeed in driving out the thugs. That night, Carraway has the remaining equipment stored in the barn, knowing that Harry will burn it so he can take out his full complement of fire trucks and douse the blaze, as is his nightly habit. When the barn is ignited, Penguin believes that she has lost everything. To her surprise, Drogo directs the fire trucks away from the barn to a fully operational carnival he purchased for her. When Penguin sees the carnival's name, Moore & Gaines, she kisses Drogo to seal the partnership. 

Production Company: Hal Roach Studios, Inc.  
Distribution Company: United Artists Corp.  
Director: Hal Roach (Dir)
  Gordon Douglas (Assoc dir)
  Hal Roach Jr. (Assoc dir)
  Bernard Carr (Asst dir)
Producer: Hal Roach (Pres)
Writer: Arnold Belgard (Scr)
  Harry Langdon (Scr)
  Mickell Novak (Scr)
Photography: Norbert Brodine (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Charles D. Hall (Art dir)
Film Editor: Bert Jordan (Ed)
Set Decoration: W. L. Stevens (Set dec)
Costumes: Kay Nelson (Ward)
Music: Georgie Stoll (Mus score)
Sound: William Randall (Sd rec)
Special Effects: Roy Seawright (Photog eff)
Country: United States
Language: English

Songs: "Calliope Jane" and "Yum! Yum!" music and lyrics by Hoagy Carmichael; "I Should Have Known You Years Ago," music by Hoagy Carmichael, lyrics by Harris Robison; "Slav Annie," music by Hoagy Carmichael, lyrics by Stanley Adams.
Composer: Stanley Adams
  Hoagy Carmichael
  Harris Robison
Source Text: Based on the novel Road Show by Eric Hatch (Boston, 1934).
Authors: Eric Hatch

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Hal Roach Studios, Inc. 9/1/1941 dd/mm/yyyy LP10169

PCA NO: 5577
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Recording

Genre: Comedy
Sub-Genre: with songs
Subjects (Major): Carnivals
  Financial crisis
  Gold diggers
  Women in business
Subjects (Minor): Acrobats
  African Americans
  Family relationships
  Insane asylums
  Lion tamers
  Swindlers and swindling

Note: A 1937 HR news item noted that Lyda Roberti was initially cast in the film, and novelist Eric Hatch was going to write the script. Roberti died in 1938, and Hatch's contribution to the final screenplay has not been confirmed. A HR production chart included Johnny Arthur in the cast, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   15 Feb 1941.   
Daily Variety   6 Feb 1941.   
Film Daily   20 Feb 41   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   23 Mar 37   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   12 Jul 1940.   
Hollywood Reporter   6 Feb 41   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald   15 Feb 41   p. 38.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   5 Apr 41   p. 103.
New York Times   19 Feb 41   p. 25.
Variety   12 Feb 41   p. 14.

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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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