AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Kansas City Kitty
Director: Del Lord (Dir)
Release Date:   24 Aug 1944
Production Date:   28 Apr--24 May 1944
Duration (in mins):   72
Duration (in feet):   6,444
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Cast:   Joan Davis (Polly Jasper)  
    Bob Crosby (Jimmy)  
    Jane Frazee (Eileen Hasbrook)  
    Erik Rolf (Dr. Henry Talbot)  
    Tim Ryan (Dave Clark)  
    Robert Emmett Keane (Joe Lathim)  
    The Williams Brothers    
    William Newell (Gas repairman)  
    Matt Willis (Oscar Lee)  
    John Bond (Jeff Williker)  
    Charles Wilson (Mr. Hugo)  
    Lee Gotch (Ali Ben Ali)  
    Charles Williams (George W. Pivet)  
    Ray Walker (Simpson)  
    Andrew Tombes (Judge)  
    Edward Earle (Mr. Burgess)  
    Alfred Paix (Headwaiter)  
    Christine McIntyre (Hat check girl)  
    Vivian Mason (Check room girl)  
    John Tyrrell (Clerk)  
    Doodles Weaver (Joe)  
    Kenneth Brown (Pupil)  
    Donald Kerr (Woodie)  
    Forbes Murray (Keller)  
    Darwood Kaye (Keller, Jr.)  
    Ed Allen (Policeman)  
    Vic Potel (Painter)  
    Vernon Dent (Piano mover)  
    Bud Jamison (Piano mover)  
    George Ford    

Summary: Piano teacher Polly Jasper is in the middle of a lesson when music publishers Joe Lathim and Dave Clark burst into her office and ask her to recommend a pianist. Polly is won over by their glib talk and agrees to become their new song plugger. Unknown to Polly, Lathim and Clark are on the verge of bankruptcy and lost their previous song plugger because they could not pay his wages. One afternoon, cowboy Jeff Williker comes to the office, and Polly is impressed with his composition, a pleasant song called "Kansas City Kitty." Using a check from a bank in which they do not have an account, Lathim and Clark get money from the building superintendent, and buy the rights to Williker's song. The song quickly becomes a hit, and Polly spends her time filling orders for sheet music, pushing the song at nightclubs and pining over dentist Henry Talbot, with whom she is in love. Henry, who is working on an encyclopedia of American popular music and its origins, is oblivious to Polly's romantic intentions, and continually turns down her dinner invitations. Back at the office, the building superintendent becomes infuriated when Lathim and Clark's check bounces. They attempt to pay him out of earnings from "Kansas City Kitty," but are horrified to discover that their bank accounts are frozen because of a pending lawsuit. Oscar Lee, an unknown songwriter, is suing them for plagiarizing his song, "Minnesota Minnie." Desperate to leave before the superintendent has them jailed and Oscar catches up to them, Lathim and Clark convince Polly to buy the business. Not having enough money of her own, Polly borrows a substantial sum from her roommate, Eileen Hasbrook, even though Eileen and her fiancé, band leader Jimmy, were saving the money to buy furniture. Jimmy is happy about their purchase, however, when he learns that it includes the rights to "Kansas City Kitty." Feeling confident that they have proven to Jimmy that women can make smart business decisions, Polly and Eileen are devastated to learn about the lawsuit. Determined to get Oscar to drop the suit, Polly invites him to dinner, where she attempts to romance him. Unfortunately, it is the same night that Henry finally decides to accept Polly's standing dinner invitation, and Polly winds up eating two dinners, one with Oscar in the dining room, and another with Henry in the bedroom. Polly succeeds in getting Oscar to propose, but chaos reigns when Jimmy sees Oscar holding Eileen and teaching her to blow smoke rings, and Oscar then catches Polly with Henry. Oscar storms out, and soon Polly faces him in court. During the trial, Polly plays several classical melodies for the judge, and shows him how they have been used for popular songs. The judge agrees that it is possible for the same thing to have occurred with Oscar's and Jeff's songs, but will not let Polly use the theory as a defense unless she can identify the older tune on which "Kansas City Kitty" is based. Just then, Henry arrives and produces an old music box to prove that both Oscar and Jeff based their songs on a 140-year-old melody. The case is dismissed, but before Polly can leave, the starstruck judge plays his version of the song, "California Carrie." 

Production Company: Columbia Pictures Corp.  
Distribution Company: Columbia Pictures Corp.  
Director: Del Lord (Dir)
  Rex Bailey (Asst dir)
Producer: Ted Richmond (Prod)
  Irving Briskin (Exec prod)
Writer: Manny Seff (Orig scr)
  Monte Brice (Addl dial)
  William A. Pierce (Contr to scr const)
Photography: Burnett Guffey (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Lionel Banks (Art dir)
  Carl Anderson (Art dir)
Film Editor: Gene Havlick (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Joseph Kish (Set dec)
Music: Marlin Skiles (Mus dir)
Sound: Philip Faulkner (Sd eng)
Country: United States

Songs: "Kansas City Kitty," music by Walter Donaldson, lyrics by Edgar Leslie; "Tico-tico, no fubá," music by Zequínha de Abreu, Portuguese lyrics by Aloysio Oliveira, English lyrics by Ervin Drake; "The Old Oaken Bucket," music and lyrics by George Kiallmark and Samuel Woodworth; "(Here) Pretty Kitty Blue Eyes," music by Vic Mizzy, lyrics by Mann Curtis; "The Nothing Boogie-Woogie from Nowhere," music and lyrics by Saul Chaplin; "You Can Take It from Me," composer undetermined.
Composer: Zequínha de Abreu
  Saul Chaplin
  Mann Curtis
  Walter Donaldson
  Ervin Drake
  George Kiallmark
  Edgar Leslie
  Vic Mizzy
  Aloysio Oliveira
  Samuel Woodworth

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Columbia Pictures Corp. 24/8/1944 dd/mm/yyyy LP13033

PCA NO: 10223
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording

 
Genre: Comedy
Sub-Genre: with songs
 
Subjects (Major): Deception
  Lawsuits
  Music publishers and publishing
  Plagiarism
  Songs
  Women in business
 
Subjects (Minor): Band leaders
  Bankruptcy
  Cowboys
  Dentists
  Dinners and dining
  Engagements
  Evidence
  Historians
  Judges
  Lawyers
  Music teachers
  Pianists
  Proposals (Marital)
  Romance
  Roommates
  Singers
  Superintendents

Note: Although the character played by John Bond is called "Jeff Williker" in the film, he is listed as "Chaps Williker" in the CBCS. This marked director Del Lord's first feature length production; previously he had directed a series of shorts. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   25 Aug 44   p. 3.
Film Daily   1 Sep 44   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Aug 44   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   3 Jun 44   p. 1923.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   26 Aug 44   p. 2066.

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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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