Whistling in Brooklyn

Whistling in Brooklyn (1943) starring Red Skelton, Ann Rutherford, Rags Ragland

Whistling in Brooklyn (1943) starring Red Skelton, Ann Rutherford, Rags Ragland

Movie review of Red Skelton’s third, and final, appearance as Wally Benton, aka. The Fox, a radio personality and amateur detective. In this installment, The Fox is still trying to marry his fiancee, but is on the run from the police after being blamed for the murders of the mysterious “Constant Reader” – danger and comedy in equal parts, with an appearance by the Brooklyn Dodgers as well!

Buy from Amazon.com Photo of Red Skelton, Ann Rutherford, Rags Ragland, Jean Rogers in Whistling in BrooklynWhistling in Brooklyn is the third and final installment of Red Skelton‘s “Whistling” series, and that’s a crying shame; all three movies are comedy gems, and Whistling in Brooklyn is no exception.   At the beginning of Whistling in Brooklyn, Wally Benton (Red Skelton), aka. “The Fox”, is finishing broadcasting his weekly radio murder mystery program, and trying to dash off to get married to his long-suffering fiancee, Carol Lambert (Ann Rutherford).   As they try to pack up and get out, it’s a very funny scene with their chauffeur, Sylvester (Rags Ragland reprising his role from the previous two films). One of the highlights of the film is the verbal jousting between Rags and Red Skelton.   At the same time, there’s a series of murders occurring in the city, with the mysterious “Constant Reader” sending letters to a newspaper taunting the police.

One of the investigating police officers, in fact, is William Frawley (best known for his role as Fred Mertz in the I Love Lucy TV series).   Rags Ragland, trying to be promoted to Red’s press agent, has planted the story that Red Skelton is Constant Reader. A would-be reporter, Jean Pringle (played by Jean Rogers, best known for her role of Dale Arden in the Flash Gordon serials) is trying to interview the couple, only to get mixed up in the murder mystery.   The foursome is soon on the run from both the police and the gangsters, getting into and out of various troubles, ending with a baseball outing with the Brooklyn Dodgers versus the “Battling Beavers” (a very funny bit, where Red Skelton cuts the beard off one of the players in order to impersonate him and pitch for the “Beavers”, all in order to warn the next murder victim), culminating with a final fight on board a boat that’s both funny and dangerous.

In Whistling in Brooklyn, the laughs come fast and often, and I enjoyed it very much, and hope that you do, too

Funny movie quotes from Whistling in Brooklyn (1943)

Whistling in Brooklyn poster, with Red Skelton and Ann RutherfordWally Benton (Red Skelton): [opens his closet door, a woman falls out] big moths!

Wally Benton (Red Skelton): You can’t be a press agent, you can’t even spell “cat”!
Chester (Rags Ragland): When I come to words like that, I just ignore ’em!

Wally Benton (Red Skelton): Put that bag in the car.
Chester (Rags Ragland): You can’t talk about Miss Pringle like that!
Carol Lambert (Ann Rutherford): Chester, the suitcase!
Chester (Rags Ragland): I got a sister who looks like a suitcase, I guess I’m prejudiced.

Chester (Rags Ragland): I got a twin brother who works on a newspaper, life job.
Jean Pringle (Jean Rogers): Life job?
Chester (Rags Ragland): The San Quentin Reader.

Editor: Where’s McGonagol?
Secretary: He went out to eat.
Editor: Where’s Schwartz?
Secretary: He’s eating, too.
Editor: Eating! I should have hired the Thin Man!

Wally Benton (Red Skelton): Not only am I constant Reader, but Willy the Lump Lump!

Carol Lambert (Ann Rutherford): [as police are shooting at her and Red] Aren’t they carrying a joke too far?
Wally Benton (Red Skelton): Ah, those phony cops couldn’t hit a flea. [a bullet knocks his hat off; Red covers his head with empty suitcase]
Carol Lambert (Ann Rutherford): What are you doing?
Wally Benton (Red Skelton): Flea-ing!

Wally Benton (Red Skelton): In every paper? I dood it!
Wally Benton (Red Skelton): Who said that?

Wally Benton (Red Skelton): That Constant Reader is a killer!
Chester (Rags Ragland): You don’t look it.

Wally Benton (Red Skelton): You know, a man with your brains shouldn’t be a nursemaid to a crankcase.
Chester (Rags Ragland): That’s what I always say!
Wally Benton (Red Skelton): You should be a crankcase!

Chester (Rags Ragland): Boss, I’ll fix everything!
Wally Benton (Red Skelton): That’s what I €™m afraid of.
Chester (Rags Ragland): Well, I thought that up last night in the bathtub.
Wally Benton (Red Skelton): What were you doing in a bathtub?
Chester (Rags Ragland): Making beer.

Chester (Rags Ragland): Imagine, a girl that’s not a woman.   That’s my Uncle Sally.
Jean Pringle (Jean Rogers): Your Uncle Sally?
Chester (Rags Ragland): Yeah, he’s a bearded lady in the circus.

Wally Benton (Red Skelton): Don’t take that off, the elevator will fall!
Chester (Rags Ragland): I did this in prison once, and it didn’t fall.
Wally Benton (Red Skelton): That’s against the law of gravity.
Chester (Rags Ragland): That was before the law was passed.

Chester (Rags Ragland): Help! Help! All the blood’s rushing to my head!
Wally Benton (Red Skelton): Well, there’s plenty of room for it.

Jean Pringle (Jean Rogers): You can’t impersonate me!
Wally Benton (Red Skelton): Yes I can, I can act very stupid.

It’s so crowded in here I feel like a sardine.
Chester (Rags Ragland): You’re in the can, ain’t ya?

Wally Benton (Red Skelton): Gee, it’s dark in here – how do you get out?
Chester (Rags Ragland): It normally takes me about 90 days.

Wally Benton (Red Skelton): Don’t touch things!   Don’t leave your fingerprints here!
Chester (Rags Ragland): I’m not gonna – I’m taking ’em with me.

Wally Benton (Red Skelton): You can go to where the days seem like weeks, and the weeks seem like years.
Creeper: Ah, I’ve been to Philidelphia.
Wally Benton (Red Skelton): California, there’s the place, only place where you can get sunburn and pneumonia at the same time.

Wally Benton (Red Skelton): Do you know who I am?
Leo Durocher – Brooklyn Dodgers Manager: [Annoyed] I never forget a face, but in your case, I’ll make an exception!

Creeper: Your gag went out with Santa Claus.
Wally Benton (Red Skelton): Santa Claus didn’t go out.
Creeper: There ain’t no Santa Claus!
Wally Benton (Red Skelton): Whoever told you that?
Creeper: The Easter Bunny!

Chester (Rags Ragland): Hey boss, if we set the joint on fire, the fire department can take us out!
Wally Benton (Red Skelton): What’s to prevent us from burning up too?
Chester (Rags Ragland): I just get the ideas, I leave the details to you.

Chester (Rags Ragland): Last time I kissed a dame like that, she passed right out.
Jean Pringle (Jean Rogers): In your arms?
Chester (Rags Ragland): No, in my dreams.

Chester (Rags Ragland): You’re a man after my own heart.
Wally Benton (Red Skelton): You’re lucky, I had three men after mine!

Trivia for Whistling in Brooklyn

  • Brooklyn Dodger players Max Macon, Alex Kampouris, Ray Hayworth, Pat Ankenman, Newt Kimball and Hal Peck were reported (by the New York Times) to be cast in the movie as baseball players, with some of them as “Beaver” players. A few of them had left the Brooklyn Dodgers by the time this film was released.
  • Last movie Ann Rutherford made with MGM studios

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