Keep ‘Em Flying


KEEP ‘EM FLYING has 1941’s comedy sensation Abbott & Costello following Buck Privates and In The Navy with another service-boosting goofoff, this time advertising and having a ball with the U.S. Army Air Corps, bursting with new applicants as war loomed imminent. Again directed—or unleashed—by Arthur Lubin, they tickled audiences to part with $4,000,000 (spot #48 for the year), mopping up dough on Universal’s $450,000 investment.

The throw-it-together script from True Boardman, Nat Perrin and John Grant has carny workers ‘Blackie’ (Abbott) and ‘Heathcliff’ (Costello) joining stunt-pilot pal ‘Jinx Roberts’ (Dick Foran) in the Air Corps. Jinx falls for nightclub singer ‘Linda Loyce’ (Carol Bruce), and the guys go gaga over twin sisters working for the USO. Patter and pratfalls ensue to prod the patriotism. The flag-waving sincerity and buoyant naivete is touching in retrospect, considering how many of the “off we go!” recruits for dashing duty in fighters and bombers would not return from real-deal aerobatics over Europe and the Pacific.

The duo’s rat-a-tat delivery provide sufficient chuckles: few could do physical schtick with the inventiveness of Lou Costello. Straight-man foil Foran was a busy fella, with nine pictures in 1941 alone. Svelte and classy Carol Bruce, 22, delivers a silky rendition of “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You”. The twins are played with patented flair by Martha Raye, ‘a swell dame’ who could match comic energy with the brash boys.

Filmed at the Cal-Aero school in Ontario, California, with aerial stunts performed by Paul Mantz. Co-starring William Gargan. 86 minutes.

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