AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Thousands Cheer
Alternate Title: Private Miss Jones
Director: George Sidney (Dir)
Release Date:   Jan 1944
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 13 Sep 1943; Los Angeles opening: 30 Dec 1943
Production Date:   9 Nov 1942--early Feb 1943; addl shooting May 1943
Duration (in mins):   125-126
Duration (in reels):   13
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Cast:   Kathryn Grayson (Kathryn Jones)  
    Gene Kelly (Pvt. Eddy Marsh)  
    Mary Astor (Hyllary Jones)  
    John Boles (Col. Bill Jones)  
    Ben Blue (Chuck Polansky)  
    Frances Rafferty (Marie Corbino)  
    Mary Elliott (Helen Corbino)  
    Frank Jenks (Sgt. Koslack)  
    Frank Sully (Alan)  
    Dick Simmons (Capt. Fred Avery)  
    Ben Lessy (Silent Monk)  
  and the M-G-M Star Parade: Mickey Rooney    
    Judy Garland    
    Red Skelton    
    Eleanor Powell    
    Ann Sothern    
    Lucille Ball    
    Virginia O'Brien    
    Frank Morgan    
    Lena Horne    
    Marsha Hunt    
    Marilyn Maxwell    
    Donna Reed    
    Margaret O'Brien    
    June Allyson    
    Gloria DeHaven    
    John Conte    
    Sara Haden    
    Don Loper    
    Maxine Barrat    
    Kay Kyser   and His Orchestra
    Bob Crosby   and His Orchestra
    Benny Carter   and His Band
  and introducing in his first appearance on the screen José Iturbi    
    Bunny Waters (Young woman in soda shop)  
    Wally Cassell (Jack)  
    Odette Myrtil (Mama Corbino)  
    Will Kaufman (Papa Corbino)  
    Sig Arno (Uncle Algy)  
    Connie Gilchrist (Taxicab driver)  
    Daisy Bufford (Maid)  
    Pierre Watkin (Alex)  
    Peggy Remington (Guest)  
    Ed Mortimer (Guest)  
    Ray Teal (Ringmaster)  
    Carl Saxe (Sergeant major)  
    Bryant Washburn Sr. (Lt. Col. Brand)  
    Harry Strang (Major Haines)  
    William Tannen (Prison sergeant)  
    Florence Turner (Mother at station)  
    Linda Landi (Polish girl at station)  
    Eileen Coghlan (Girl at station)  
    Eve Whitney (Girl at station)  
    Aileen Haley (Girl at station)  
    Betty Jaynes (Girl at station)  
    Natalie Draper (Girl at station)  
    Myron Healey (Soldier at station)  
    Cliff Danielson (Soldier at station)  
    James Warren (Soldier at station)  
    Don Taylor (Soldier at station)  
    Paul Speer (Specialty dancer)  
    Lionel Barrymore (Announcer)  
    R. D. Keith (Singer in "I Dug a Ditch" number)  
    R. H. Harthun (Singer in "I Dug a Ditch" number)  
    F. S. Furtsch (Singer in "I Dug a Ditch" number)  
    Charles Cota (Singer in "I Dug a Ditch" number)  
    Bea Nigro    
    James Millican    
    Georgia Carroll    
    Harry Babbitt    

Summary: After operatic soprano Kathryn Jones concludes a concert in New York with conducter José Iturbi, she announces to the audience that she is taking a leave of absence in order to be with her father, Col. Bill Jones, and entertain the troops he has been assigned to train. Ignoring the advice of her mother Hyllary, who divorced her father when she was a child because he was "married to the Army," Kathryn brings her parents together for a brief reunion at the train station. Just before the train is to depart, Kathryn is kissed impulsively by Pvt. Eddy Marsh, who assumes she is staying behind. When Eddy later encounters Kathryn on the train, she jokingly tells him that she followed him on board and wants to marry him. Eddy finds Kathryn in her compartment and, unaware that Col. Jones is with her, tells her off. When Eddy finally notices the bemused colonel, he retreats in angry embarrassment. Later, at the training camp, Eddy accuses Kathryn of looking down on him because of his rank, a charge she hotly denies. Eddy then tells his friends that he wants to transfer to the Army Air Corps in order to get away from Kathryn. After Eddy's friends suggest that the best way to get a transfer is to ingratiate himself with Kathryn, Eddy shows up at her house. To Kathryn's surprise, Eddy invites her out the next night, and she accepts, explaining to her concerned father that the contrary Eddy needs extra morale boosting. Kathryn then writes to her mother that she has fallen in love, hoping to scare her into flying to see her. For their date, Eddy takes Kathryn to the circus and proudly tells her that his foster family are the Flying Corbinos, a trapeze act, and that he used to be the star of the show. The Corbinos are thrilled to meet Kathryn, and she is equally impressed by them. After the show, Eddy tells Kathryn that he belongs "in the air" not in the infantry, and as he had hoped, she offers to talk with her father about a transfer. As he is driving Kathryn home, however, Eddy begins to feel guilty and reveals his true motive for the date. Insisting that he truly likes her, Eddy kisses Kathryn, and she later confesses to her father that she is in love with the private. Now wanting her mother to stay in New York, Kathryn sends her a wire, announcing that her earlier letter was a joke. Later, a fair but tough Col. Jones meets with Eddy, who pledges to improve as a soldier and learn discipline. As promised, Eddy trains hard, then tells Kathryn that he has torn up his transfer papers and wants to marry her. Kathryn accepts his proposal, but learns that her mother has arrived, intent on breaking up the romance. Although Kathryn insists that she is not returning to New York until a show she is mounting with José is over, she tells Eddy that her mother has refused to meet him. Enraged, Eddy storms away from his post, slugging his sergeant on the way. The next day, Kathryn visits Eddy, who was arrested for deserting his post, but he is resentful and refuses her help. Hurt, Kathryn returns his engagement ring and tearfully begins to pack for New York. Col. Jones asks the Corbinos to help Eddy by reminding him of the importance of teamwork and discipline, and when Eddy joins his family during a performance for Kathryn's camp show, each Corbino lectures him in turn. Inspired by their words, Eddy easily executes a dangerous stunt, which stuns the crowd as well as Kathryn. Later, a contrite Eddy admits his guilt before a military court and convinces them to allow him to ship out with his regiment. As Eddy is about to leave, Kathryn finds him and takes back his ring. At the same time, her mother, having at last come to terms with the Army, gives her ex-husband a heartfelt kiss goodbye. 

Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. (Loew's Inc.)
Distribution Company: Loew's Inc.  
Director: George Sidney (Dir)
  Sandy Roth (Asst dir)
Producer: Joseph Pasternak (Prod)
Writer: Paul Jarrico (Orig scr)
  Richard Collins (Orig scr)
Photography: George Folsey (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons (Art dir)
  Daniel B. Cathcart (Assoc)
Film Editor: George Boemler (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Edwin B. Willis (Set dec)
  Jacques Mersereau (Assoc)
Costumes: Irene (Cost supv)
Music: Herbert Stothart (Mus dir)
  George Bassman (Mus score cond)
Sound: Douglas Shearer (Rec dir)
Make Up: Jack Dawn (Makeup created by)
Production Misc: Hugh Boswell (Unit mgr)
Color Personnel: Natalie Kalmus (Technicolor col consultant)
  Henri Jaffa (Assoc)
Country: United States

Music: "Rica Pulpa" by Eliseo Grenet; "Let Me Call You Sweetheart," by Leo Friedman.
Songs: "Sempre libera" from the opera La traviata , music by Giuseppe Verdi, libretto by Francesco Maria Piave; "Daybreak," music by Ferde Grofé, lyrics by Harold Adamson; "I Dug a Ditch," music Burton Lane, lyrics by Lew Brown and Ralph Freed; "Three Letters in the Mail Box," music by Walter Jurmann, lyrics by Paul Francis Webster; "Let There Be Music," music by Earl Brent, lyrics by E. Y. Harburg; "United Nations on the March," music by Dmitri Shostakovich, lyrics by Harold Rome and E. Y. Harburg; "Honeysuckle Rose," music by Thomas "Fats" Waller, lyrics by Andy Razaf; "In a Little Spanish Town," music by Mabel Wayne, lyrics by Sam M. Lewis and Joe Young; "The Joint Is Really Jumpin' in Carnegie Hall," music and lyrics by Roger Edens, Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin.
Composer: Thomas "Fats" Waller
  Paul Francis Webster
  Harold Adamson
  Ralph Blane
  Earl Brent
  Lew Brown
  Roger Edens
  Ralph Freed
  Leo Friedman
  Eliseo Grenet
  Ferde Grofé
  E. Y. Harburg
  Walter Jurmann
  Burton Lane
  Sam M. Lewis
  Hugh Martin
  Francesco Maria Piave
  Andy Razaf
  Harold Rome
  Dmitri Shostakovich
  Giuseppe Verdi
  Mabel Wayne
  Joe Young

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Loew's Inc. 22/9/1943 dd/mm/yyyy LP12340 Yes

PCA NO: 9145
Physical Properties: col: Technicolor
  Sd: Western Electric Sound System

Genre: Comedy-drama
Sub-Genre: with songs
Subjects (Major): Fathers and daughters
  Military posts
  United States. Army
Subjects (Minor): Aerialists
  Barbers and barbershops
  Courts-martial and courts of inquiry
  Foster parents
  Mothers and daughters
  New York City
  Proposals (Marital)
  Soda jerks
  Train stations

Note: The working titles of this film were Private Miss Jones and As Thousands Cheer . Onscreen credits note that Paul Jarrico and Richard Collins' screenplay was "based on their story 'Private Miss Jones.'" According to an Apr 1943 HR news item, the title was changed from Private Miss Jones to As Thousands Cheer so that audiences would not assume the film was a war picture. As part of the film's show-within-the-show sequence, Red Skelton performs a sketch, playing a soda jerk, and Frank Morgan, playing a lecherous barber, performs a skit with M-G-M contract stars John Conte, Sara Haden, Ann Sothern, Lucille Ball and Marsha Hunt. Mickey Rooney plays the show's "emcee." For his only dance number in the film, Gene Kelly dances with a mop and a broom to an uptempo version of "Let Me Call You Sweetheart."
       HR news items add the following information about the production: In Jul 1941, Judy Garland was announced as the star of a film entitled Thousands Cheer , which was to be produced by Arthur Freed. Although Garland did appear in Thousands Cheer , she was not the star, and it is not known if the Arthur Freed project was related to the film released in 1944. Irving Berlin, who wrote the music to the Broadway revue As Thousands Cheer , which starred Fred and Adele Astaire, was announced as a possible contributor to the 1941 Thousands Cheer . M-G-M acquired the rights to Berlin's show in the 1930s.
       HR announced in May 1943 that Lena Horne was to record "Here I Go Again" for the picture. Although Kathleen Hedrick, Kathryn Grayson's four-year-old niece, was to play Grayson's character as a child in the 1944 film, that role was not included in the completed film. Bryant Washburn, Sr. was cast in the picture along with his son, Bryant Washburn, Jr., but only Washburn, Sr.'s appearance in the completed film has been confirmed. Comedian Gus Schilling was announced for a "top role," but he did not appear in the completed film. Former tennis champion Gene Mako was also announced as a cast member, but his appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed.
       During production, Hugh Boswell replaced Sergei Petschnikoff as unit manager. As noted in the credits, José Iturbi made his screen debut in the film. In the CBCS, James Millican is listed both in the role of "Sgt. Carrington" and the role of "Major." It has not been determined which role Millican played. M-G-M publicity items note that the following "six-foot beauties" were cast in the picture: Bunny Waters, Helen O'Hara, Sylvia Liggett, Dorothy Ford, Susan Paley and Barbara Mace. Only Waters' appearance in the completed film has been confirmed, however. Publicity items also announced that Melva Block, an eighteen-year-old skating champion, was to make her screen debut during a roller-skating sequence, but the sequence was not included in the final film. The picture received Academy Award nominations in the Art Direction (Color); Cinematography (Color); and Music (Scoring of a Musical Picture) categories. Mary Astor was set to perform in a five-day serialization of the film on CBS radio from 13 Sep to 17 Sep 1943, according to HR

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   18 Sep 1943.   
Daily Variety   15 Sep 43   p. 3, 13
Film Daily   15 Sep 43   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Jul 41   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Sep 42   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   5 Nov 42   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Nov 42   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   13 Nov 42   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Dec 42   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Dec 42   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   17 Dec 42   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   18 Dec 42   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   5 Feb 43   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   30 Apr 43   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   11 May 43   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   27 Aug 43   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Sep 43   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   20 Sep 43   p. 8.
Los Angeles Times   31 Dec 1943.   
Motion Picture Herald   18 Sep 1943.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   26 Dec 42   p. 1079.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   18 Sep 43   p. 1541.
New York Times   14 Sep 43   p. 27.
Variety   15 Sep 43   p. 10.

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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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