One of my favorite films of theirs is Two Guys From Texas (1948), a follow-up to the successful Two Guys From Milwaukee (1946). Not only is their off-screen friendship evident on-screen, but it also features some great songs, including one that shows off Jack Carson's rich baritone. It's also set in Texas, which is the subject of The Midnite Drive-In's latest blogathon, of which this post is part of (it also gives me a chance to share several clips I recorded from the film).
The film starts with sing and dance partners Steve Carroll (Morgan) and Danny Foster (Carson) on a road trip to California. While driving through the wide spaces of Texas (aka the WB Studios and Thunderbird Ranch in Palm Springs, CA) they run out of gas - not before they sing a song though.
Video from my YouTube Channel. Sorry about the quality. I recorded it with my iPad.
Watching this song, "There's Music in the Land," it is easy to imagine that this is something Morgan and Carson did in real life, not just in the movies. Their camaraderie is undeniable. This little clip was just after the song but I didn't want to record the song again so it's only a few seconds.
Anyway, they run out of gas and hitch a ride to a nearby Dude Ranch. There they meet an old friend of theirs, Maggie Reed (Penny Edwards). When their car is stolen, Reed helps them get a job doing their act at the ranch. The owner, the very pretty Joan Winston (Dorothy Malone) is none to keen on the two but they are completely broke and doing their act is a way to get free room and board. It also gives Morgan and Carson a chance to sing several songs. Carson singing "I Never Met a Texan" is a highlight.
Both of boys also take an instant liking to Joan, who has an "understanding" with the sheriff, who incidentally never seems to be out looking for the stolen car. Joan, somewhat reluctantly, becomes attracted to Steve, causing Danny to seek the advice of Dr. Straeger (Fred Clark), a guest at the ranch. Danny reveals a recurring dream he has. Enter a ridiculous cartoon sequence (Bugs Bunny's first appearance in a feature film!) where Danny is a shepherd who always loses his sheep to a wolf that just happens to look like Steve. This has in turn created a real-life fear of animals. The scene is too funny not to watch, as the caricatures are spot on.
The Doctor (later revealed to be a veterinarian) advises Danny to steal a girl away from Steve, which Danny does that very evening. Joan, who is trying to decide between Steve and Tex, willingly uses Danny to get out of an awkward situation, and even kisses him. It is in this scene Carson finally gets to sing a song straight, without trying to be funny (though he still pulls a few faces). I knew he could carry a tune but wow!! "Hankerin' " is my favorite song from the film.
The next morning, Danny finds he is no longer afraid of animals, just in time for the annual rodeo. While at the rodeo, the two guys who stole Steve and Danny's car, use it for a quick getaway after robbing the rodeo ticket booth. Tex is more than happy to throw them in jail, especially Steve. The boys escape and put on a disguise. Back at the ranch they overhear the bad guys (they work at the ranch) planning another robbery. Steve and Danny go back to the rodeo and set up a trap in order to catch the crooks and clear their names. In the course of their plan, Danny's fake beard falls off and while running from Tex he ends up joining and winning the bucking bronco contest.
The film ends with the bad guys getting caught and Steve and Joan deciding to get married. Their friend Maggie decides to marry Tex. What about Danny you ask? Throughout the film he is followed by an old Indian squaw who he thinks wants to marry him but turns out she wants him to marry her very beautiful daughter. So everyone is happy.
A few more photos...
Two Guys From Texas is airing on TCM
October 27th at 3:15pm ET.
This post is part of The Texas Blogathon hosted by The Midnite Drive-In. Be sure to check out the other posts celebrating the wide-open spaces of Texas (or the studio backlot, whatever).
I can't get over the awesome banners (made by Hamlette's Soliloquy)!
I just had to use the one with John Wayne in Rio Grande (1950)