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Johnny Doughboy (1942)

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An arrogant young actress doesn't want to play "young" parts anymore, and runs off. The studio replaces her with the president of her fan club, who just happens to be a lookalike. Meanwhile... See full summary »



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Title: Johnny Doughboy (1942)

Johnny Doughboy (1942) on IMDb 5.7/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ann Winters / Penelope Ryan
Oliver Lawrence
Patrick Brook ...
Johnny Kelly
Harry Fabian
Ruth Donnelly ...
Biggy Biggsworth
Etta McDaniel ...
Joline Westbrook ...
Jennifer Lawrence
Bobby Breen
Baby Sandy ...
Baby Sandy
Alfalfa (as 'Alfalfa' Switzer)
Spanky McFarland (as 'Spanky' McFarland)
Kenneth Brown ...
Buddy (as Butch and Buddy)
Billy Lenhart ...
Butch (as Butch and Buddy)
Cora Sue Collins ...
Cora Sue Collins
Robert Coogan ...
Bobby Coogan


An arrogant young actress doesn't want to play "young" parts anymore, and runs off. The studio replaces her with the president of her fan club, who just happens to be a lookalike. Meanwhile, some other former child actors, trying to put on a show for the GIs, will be able to do it only if they can get the young actress to be in it, so they set out to persuade her to be in their show--not knowing that she's isn't who they think she is. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Adventure | Musical





Release Date:

31 December 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ela Quer Ser Mulher  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Final film of Bobby Breen. See more »


Referenced in The Our Gang Story (1994) See more »


Johnny Doughboy Found a Rose in Ireland
Music by Al Goodhart and Allan Roberts
Lyrics by Kay Twomey
See more »

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User Reviews

Grade B Withers vehicle for faded child stars

This is truly a grade B vehicle - a Republic formula filler that is merely competent. Jane Withers, herself making the Shirley Temple transition from child star to adult star (which she would be unsuccessful at), plays Ann Winters, a spoiled young actress who balks at continuing to play adolescents. She runs away and is replaced by contest lookalike Penelope Ryan (also played by Withers) who is the president of the Winters fan club. A group of has-been child stars including Bobby Breen, Alfalfa Switzer and Spanky McFarland come to Ann Winters because they can't get backing to put on a show for our GIs. With her name they can. Penelope can't accept because she's not Anne and the kids are disappointed. It takes Penelope going to the real Anne and making her aware of the situation for her to change her aloof and dismissive spoiled attitude and become "just one of the gang" to decide to star in the show and thus save the day.

Hackneyed plot to be sure. The sad thing is that the plight of these has-been child stars was quite real - Hollywood tired of them as they entered late teen and early adulthood - so there is a bitter sweet ironic twist of cinema history in this small film.

Bobby Breen suffers the most - his adult voice is squeaky and child-like, almost like a Disney cartoon character. He gets no solos, just an ensemble number with Alfalfa and Spanky and an unidentified fourth.

Etta McDaniel, Hattie's sister, does the usual Mammy bit. William Demarest plays the usual frazzled agent role and Ruth Donnelly is her satirical best as a chaperone. Henry Wilcoxon is far too old for the part of a playwright whose country home Ann crashes when she runs out of gas. She immediately gets a crush on him (read Bachelor and Bobby-Soxer) but nothing comes of this plot line which fizzles out when Anne realizes he is not interested in her.

Withers does well in both roles but neither the film nor the performances are memorable. It did earn an Oscar nom for Scoring - not deserved in my opinion - the seven songs are forgettable and the background orchestrations are equally unmemorable. These were the days when any studio could submit nominees in the sound, score, scoring, song categories and be guaranteed of a nomination. Republic always tried but never won.

It is also odd that the production numbers of the "show" at the end feature none of the former child stars, just choruses of adult men and women. Something got lost along the way here.

Numbers: Baby's a Big Girl Now (Withers); All Done, All Through (Breen, Switzer, McFarland, Chorus); All My Love (Switzer); A Guy Like I (Coogan); You Better Not (Winters, Coogan); Victory Caravan (Chorus); Johnny Doughboy (Chorus).

The film has never been available on video and I have searched almost five years for it. It is now available (two search services can supply it -email me if interested).

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