AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Sleepy Lagoon
Director: Joseph Santley (Dir)
Release Date:   5 Sep 1943
Production Date:   late May--mid-Jun 1943
Duration (in mins):   65
Duration (in feet):   5,829
Duration (in reels):   7
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Cast:   Judy Canova (Judy Joyner)  
    Dennis Day (Lancelot Hillie)  
    Ruth Donnelly (Sarah Rogers)  
    Joe Sawyer (Lumpy)  
    Ernest Truex (Dudley Joyner)  
    Douglas Fowley (Joe "Brains" Lucarno)  
    Will Wright (Cyrus Coates)  
    Herbert Corthell (Sheriff Lem Bates)  
    Ellen Lowe (Mrs. Simms)  
    Forrest Taylor (Judge Samuel Sneed)  
    Kitty McHugh (Mrs. Small)  
    Eddie Chandler (Ticket seller)  
    Jack Raymond (Joe, the clown)  
    Margaret Reid (Mrs. Grace Crumm, chief of police)  
    Mike Riley   and His Orchestra
    Sammy Stein (Lug)  
    Jack Kenney (Lug)  
    Jay Novello (Lug)  
    Eddie Gribbon (Lug)  
    Mozelle Cravens (Secretary)  
    Jack Gardner (Sailor)  
    Jeannine Lehr (Sailor's girl friend)  
    Walter Soderling (Truant officer)  
    Donald Wilmot (Boy)  
    Johnny Walsh (Boy)  
    Emil Van Horn (Gorilla)  
    Rondo Hatton (Hunchback)  
    Darby Jones (Cannibal)  
    Art La Forrest (Mummy)  
    Armand Cortes (Mephisto)  
    Frank Austin (Wolfman)  
    James Farley (Bailiff)  
    Frank Graham (Narrator)  
    Larry Stewart    

Summary: Radio station owner Sarah Rogers, the head of the women's reform party in the small town of Sleepy Lagoon, needs a malleable candidate for mayor, and decides upon naïve Judy Joyner, who runs a coffee shop. The current mayor, Cyrus Coates, is supported by Sheriff Lem Bates and Judge Samuel Sneed, but Judy's earnest speeches advocating wholesome recreational facilities win the election for her. Judy's victory displeases her fiancé, chiropractor Lancelot Hillie, who complains that she does not have enough time for him anymore. Lancelot changes his mind about Judy's new position when she appoints him civilian defense commisioner, however, and she hopes that he will finally set the date for their wedding after five years of engagement. Meanwhile, Sarah closes all the bars in town, and when Judy recommends re-opening an old amusement park, she also suggests that they contact her uncle, Dudley Joyner. Judy believes that Dudley is the head of a large amusement corporation, but he is actually a repairman and reluctant stooge for racketeer Joe "Brains" Lucarno. When Judy calls him, Dudley states that he cannot help her, but Brains insists that they move in on Sleepy Lagoon to fleece the citizens out of their boom town cash. Judy is delighted to see her uncle, who is being forced by Brains to perpetuate his businessman charade. Time passes as Sarah organizes the townswomen and the park is refurbished. Brains, meanwhile, establishes his stronghold in a subterranean basement, where he installs crooked gambling tables. On opening day at the park, the crowds swarm in, and while Lancelot listens to his favorite singer, Dennis Day, Judy allows herself to be romanced by Lumpy, one of Brains's mugs. The park does a thriving business, as does the secret casino, but Judy remains unaware of the illegal activity as she is preoccupied with Lancelot's lack of jealousy over her increasing involvement with Lumpy. Meanwhile, Cyrus has become sick of women running the town and is determined to regain his office. He, Lem and Samuel begin investigating the casinos, but when they arrest Brains, the racketeer maintains that he was working under Judy's orders, and she is arrested also. Brains keeps Dudley hidden so that he cannot testify on Judy's behalf, and all looks grim for the mayor. When a youngster finds evidence that Dudley is being held at the park, Judy and Lancelot go in disguise to investigate. Despite being separated from Lancelot and chased by Brains's thugs, Judy finds her uncle. Just as they are about to be captured by the criminals, Lancelot reappears with the female auxiliary militia that he has trained. The women round up the racketeers, and a happy romantic conclusion is reached by both Sarah and Dudley, and Judy and Lancelot. 

Production Company: Republic Pictures Corp.  
Distribution Company: Republic Pictures Corp.  
Director: Joseph Santley (Dir)
  Phil Ford (Asst dir)
  Kenneth Holmes (Asst dir)
Producer: Albert J. Cohen (Assoc prod)
Writer: Frank Gill Jr. (Scr)
  George Carleton Brown (Scr)
  Prescott Chaplin (Based on an orig story by)
Photography: Bud Thackery (Photog)
Art Direction: Russell Kimball (Art dir)
Film Editor: Richard Van Enger (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Otto Siegel (Set dec)
Costumes: Adele Palmer (Ward)
Music: Walter Scharf (Mus dir)
Sound: Tom Carman (Sd)
Country: United States

Songs: "Sleepy Lagoon," music and lyrics by Eric Coates and Jack Lawrence; "If You Are There," "You Are the Fondest Thing I Am Of," "I'm Not Myself Anymore" and "We Gals Are Taking Over," music and lyrics by Ned Washington and Phil Ohman.
Composer: Eric Coates
  Jack Lawrence
  Phil Ohman
  Ned Washington

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Republic Pictures Corp. 3/8/1943 dd/mm/yyyy LP12214 Yes

PCA NO: 9440
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Sound System

 
Genre: Comedy
Sub-Genre: with songs
 
Subjects (Major): Amusement parks
  Battle of the sexes
  Mayors
  Racketeers
  Women in politics
 
Subjects (Minor): Boom towns
  Chases
  Chiropractors
  Elections
  Engagements
  Frame-ups
  Gambling
  Impersonation and imposture
  Innocents
  Judo
  Restaurateurs
  Romance
  Ruffians
  Singers
  Small town life
  Speeches
  Uncles

Note: According to a 14 Oct 1942 HR news item, Joe E. Brown, who had previously appeared with Judy Canova in two Republic films was to be her co-star in this film. Another HR news item noted that Milt Britton and His Band were to appear in the film, but the deal for their services fell through due to a scheduling conflict. Although a 29 Apr 1943 HR news item noted that the songs "A Tenderloin Steak and You" and "Copper Colored Cutie from Kalua," written by Ned Washington and Phil Ohman, would be included in the film, they do not appear in the completed picture. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   21 Aug 1943.   
Daily Variety   16 Aug 43   pp. 3, 17
Film Daily   19 Aug 43   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   14 Oct 42   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   29 Apr 43   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   5 May 43   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   17 May 43   p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter   21 May 43   p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter   11 Jun 43   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   16 Aug 43   p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald   21 Aug 1943.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   26 Jun 43   p. 1391.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   21 Aug 43   p. 1496.

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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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