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Ghosts on the Loose is a 1943 American comedy horror film and the fourteenth film in the East Side Kids series, directed by William Beaudine. The picture co-stars horror film icon Bela Lugosi as well as Ava Gardner in one of her earliest roles.
The film was released in the United Kingdom as Ghosts in the Night.
When Glimpy s sister, Betty, marries Jack, Muggs singlehandedly organizes the wedding. The gang provide a choral version of Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes as well as organ music. Scruno, Stash, and Benny provide a floral centerpiece by borrowing a funeral wreath meant for a murdered gangster s funeral on the morrow. Danny and Rocky also borrow the deceased gangster s tuxedo prior to his funeral for Glimpy who is the best man. Scruno s mother provides rice to throw that she has cooked to make extra soft. Muggs also organizes a police escort by telling the police gangsters will try to break up the wedding with Glimpy adlibbing they are the notorious Katzman Gang, (the producer of the film series).
On this happy day only one thing is slightly bothering Jack: the house he has purchased is well below the market value due to rumors that the house next door is a haunted house. The house next door is actually used by a Nazi German spy ring, led by Emil. Emil is furious that his minion has sold the neighboring house to Jack, as it will be needed for future activities as both houses are connected by secret tunnels. Emil orders his minion, Tony, to buy it back from Jack.
Jack is mystified by the reasons for the house being wanted by another party. Jack does accept the money for the sale where the minion gives him a note with the address of the neighboring haunted house where he can be reached.
On his way to their honeymoon Jack drops the note with the address of the neighboring house. Muggs picks up the address thinking it is the house that Jack and Betty are moving into and decides to surprise the couple by having the gang clean and tidy the house before the couple arrive.
At the Honeymoon Hotel Jack is given an urgent message to contact the party who originally sold him the house. The wife is worried about the strange activities in the house next door to the house Jack bought leading to the haunted rumors. She wishes to warn Jack and she also telephones the police to investigate. Jack and Betty drive to their house to get to the bottom of the rumors.
When the gang goes to the wrong house that is occupied by the Nazi spies, Emil and his gang pull out all stops to scare the boys into believing the house is haunted. The scheme backfires when the boys hide in the cellar where they discover a printing press with leaflets from the New Order entitled How to destroy the Allies . As Jack and Betty and the police arrive the gang takes on Emil and his spy ring and wins.
In the end, Betty, Jack, and the East Side Kids are all forced to spend the newlyweds honeymoon stuck in their new home, under quarantine, when Glimpy comes down with German measles (his face is decorated with swastikas).
The East Side Kids
- Leo Gorcey as Muggs
- Huntz Hall as Glimpy
- Bobby Jordan as Danny
- Sammy Morrison as Scruno
- Billy Benedict as Benny (a.k.a. Skinny)
- Stanley Clements as Stash
- Bobby Stone as Dave (a.k.a. Rocky)
- Bill Bates as Sleepy (a.k.a. Dave)
- Bela Lugosi as Emil
- Ava Gardner as Betty
- Rick Vallin as Jack
- Minerva Urecal as Hilda
- Wheeler Oakman as Tony
- Peter Seal as Bruno
- Frank Moran as Monk
- Jack Mulhall as Lieutenant
- Harry Depp as John G. Elwood (uncredited)
- Tom Herbert as Park Central Plaza Desk Clerk (uncredited)
- Robert F. Hill as Minister at Wedding (uncredited)
- Eddie Laughton as Wedding Usher (uncredited)
- Kay Marvis as Bridesmaid (uncredited)
- Ray Miller as Police Officer Mulligan (uncredited)
- Blanche Payson as Mrs. John G. Elwood (uncredited)
- Snub Pollard as Flower Delivery Man (uncredited)
The film was originally called Ghosts in the Night, which had also been the working title for Spooks Run Wild, the first time Lugosi worked with the East Side Kids. The film was a special from Monogram. They borrowed Ava Gardner from MGM (then best known as having been married to Mickey Rooney) to play the female lead.
Filming began February 8, 1943. Exactly ten days earlier, producer Jack Dietz was sentenced to seven months in jail for tax evasion. The title was changed to Ghosts on the Loose in April 1943.
- Later on in the film, when The East Side Kids, Rick Vallin, and Ava Gardner are waiting for the cops, Muggs says, They should be here any minute . Glimpy responds by saying, Who? , to which Muggs says, Oh, he s on first . This is an obvious reference to the old vaudeville routine Who s on First? , which had been done on stage by numerous comedians over the years but had been made famous during this period by Abbott and Costello.
- Muggs makes reference to The Katzman Mob, a jokey hat-tip to producer Sam Katzman.
- Set in the United States home front during World War II, Muggs accuses Scruno of having hallucinations due to drinking too much coffee. Glimpy eagerly asks Where did you get it? due to the rationing of coffee from 1942 onwards.
- This was Bill Bates only East Side Kids film.
- Last official East Side Kids film for Bobby Jordan (Danny), Sunshine Sammy Morrison (Scruno), and Stanley Clements (Stash). Jordan would later make a guest appearance as himself in the East Side Kids film Bowery Champs, and would eventually rejoin the group for the first eight films in the series The Bowery Boys. Morrison would return briefly as Scruno in Follow the Leader (his scenes were actually unused footage from a previous East Side Kids film). Clements would not work with the boys again until 1956, when he was brought in to replace Leo Gorcey as the leader of The Bowery Boys.
- Gabriel Dell and Dave Durand are absent.
- Leo Gorcey s wife Kay Marvis appears as a bridesmaid during the wedding scenes.
- The East Side Kids were characters in a series of films released by Monogram Pictures from 1940 through 1945. Many of them were originally part of The Dead End Kids and The Little Tough Guys, and several of them later became members of The Bowery Boys.
The Los Angeles Times called the film a feeble and cheaply produced bit of unenticing nothingness.
- Bill Bates and sung by The East Side Kids – Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes (Music by R. Melish, lyrics (poem To Celia by Ben Jonson))
- Bill Bates – Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride) from Lohengrin (Written by Richard Wagner)
- Bill Bates – The Wedding March from A Midsummer Night s Dream, Op.61 (Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy)
|Plot||The East Side Kids try to fix up a house for newlyweds, but find the place next door “haunted” by mysterious men.|
|Stars||Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Bobby Jordan|
|Produced by||Jack Dietz,Sam Katzman,Barney A. Sarecky|
|Music by||Edward J. Kay|
|Cinematography by||Mack Stengler|
|Film Editing by||Carl Pierson|
|Second Unit Director or Assistant Director||Arthur Hammond|
|Art Department||Dave Milton|
|Sound Department||Glen Glenn|
|Music Department||Edward J. Kay|
|Companies||Sam Katzman Productions|
|Keywords||nazi,trapdoor,reprisal,flower shop delivery boy,wrong house|