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Frankie Darro & Mantan Moreland want to make it big in the
radio-business - but for now they are only working ground-floor af
a big radio-company, Frankie as page, Mantan as janitor. But then a
bitchy radio diva (Lorna Gray) gets murdered during a rehearsal,
& pretty much everybody who was in the movie up to that point is
under suspicion, including Frankie & Mantan of course. So Frankie
tries to solve the crime & at the same time court Marjorie Reynolds
& sell his comedy-act with Mantan. A second murder happens of sourse
not lang after, cowboy troubadour (Gordon Jones), but that gives Frankie
the final clues he needed, it was all a story of love & jealousy
that started at another radio-station in another state ... & in the
end, Frankie has successfully sold Marjorie Reynolds singing talents to
Many of Monogram's B's, especially their horror
output, had insanely messed up scripts (sometimes working for the movies
though instead of against them), but not this one, a very slick
murder-mystery, one of the eight Frankie-&-Mantan-crime-comedies
that were produced in the late 30's/early 40's, all very carefully shot.
Frankie Darro, although only 23 years of age when this was released, had
already a 16-year-long career behind him, mostly at smaller studios like
Mascot (where he co-starred with Harry Carey in Devil Horse, dog
actor Rin Tin Tin in Lightning Warrior, & with Gene Autry in
that classic sci-fi-Western The Phantom
Empire, among others). The
Frankie-&-Mantan-series, among the actor's first adult roles,
was rudely interrupted when he was drafted for duty in World War II.
Mantan Moreland, on the
other hand, was the premier black comedian of his time, &
while his comedy would not be considered politically correct by today's
standards, he had the undeniable talent to be funny & had the
ability to carry an otherwise unremarkable movie all on his own (e.g. King
of the Zombies). He was equally popular with black as with white
crowds, thus playing in all-black movies as well as white movies.
When the Frankie-&-Mantan-series was prematurely cancelled, Monogram
found good use for Mantan in another series, Charlie Chan, with
which Mantan stayed for 15 entries, playing the oriental sleuth's
frightful chauffeur Birmingham Brown.
The team of Frankie & Mantan did actually
work pretty well, some of their comedy skits were actually pretty funny
(yet again, not politically correct by today's standards), the best in
this one is when they do a sketch with Frankie in black-face, trying to
fake black dialect answering to Mantan's straightspeaking man.