JACK BENNY and CHARLIE McCARTHY CRIME SOLVER
BUCK BENNY RIDES AGAIN
To fully appreciate Buck Benny Rides Again, one must have some familiarity with Jack Benny's radio programs of the 1939-40 season. During this period, Jack's broadcast costars included bandleader Phil Harris, announcer Don Wilson, singer Dennis Day and comedians Eddie "Rochester" Anderson and Andy Devine. All five supporting players appear in this film, all playing "themselves" just as Benny does.
Falling in love with aspiring singer Joan Cameron (Ellen Drew), Jack vows to go out of his way to impress her. When he learns that Joan is headed for a western dude ranch, he poses as "Buck" Benny, a rootin'-tootin'-shootin' 100% genuine cowboy. In truth, both Jack and his valet Rochester are terrified at the Wide Open Spaces, certain that they'll be scalped by Indians at the first opportunity, but through a series of silly coincidences Benny manages to convince Joan that he's an honest-to-goodness frontiersman.
The plot thickens when a pair of modern-day desperadoes (Ward Bond and Morris Ankrum) plot to rob the dude ranch's safe, but our hero saves both the day and his girlfriend, with the unsolicited but very welcome assistance of his pet polar bear Carmichael (the same bruin who allegedly ate the gas man on Jack's radio show). Benny fans will get an extra kick out of seeing his legendary Maxwell in all its sputtering, backfiring glory, while old-time radio aficionados will enjoy hearing the voices of Mary Livingstone (Mrs. Benny) and Jack's "friendly enemy" Fred Allen.
CHARLIE McCARTHY, DETECTIVE
Having proven their box-office value in such films as A Letter of Introduction, Goldwyn Follies and You Can't Cheat an Honest Man, ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his wise-lipped dummy Charlie McCarthy were awarded with a starring vehicle of their own.
While entertaining at the home of magazine publisher Court Aldrich (Samuel S. Hinds), Bergen and his "friends" Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd get mixed up in their host's murder. It seems that Aldrich was working hand in glove with gangster Tony Garcia (Harold Huber), who has kept himself busy knocking off the publisher's enemies. Could Garcia be the murderer this time as well, or was it someone else at the party? Inspector Dailey (Edgar Kennedy) wants to find out-but he doesn't want the unsolicited assistance of Charlie McCarthy, who insists upon playing Sherlock Holmes, replete with deerstalker and magnifying glass. Though essentially a "stunt" film, Charlie McCarthy, Detective pleases the crowd with an abundance of hilarious dialogue and a reasonably good mystery subplot.