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Who Done It? (1942)

Approved | | Comedy, Mystery | 6 November 1942 (USA)
Two dumb soda jerks dream of writing radio mysteries. When they try to pitch an idea at a radio station, they end up in the middle of a real murder when the station owner is killed during a broadcast.

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(story), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Chick Larkin / Voice of Himself on Radio
...
Mervin Q. Milgrim / Voice of Himself on Radio
...
Jimmy Turner
...
Police Lt. Lou Moran
...
Jane Little
...
Col. J.R. Andrews
...
Detective Brannigan
...
Art Fraser
...
Marco Heller
...
Juliet Collins
...
Dr. Anton Marek
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Storyline

Two dumb soda jerks dream of writing radio mysteries. When they try to pitch an idea at a radio station, they end up in the middle of a real murder when the station owner is killed during a broadcast.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Mystery

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 November 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Deux nigauds détectives  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

| (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

For a murder-mystery set in a radio studio, the film certainly had its share of personalities who themselves were radio actors. Bud Abbott and Lou Costello had been introduced to the nation on "The Kate Smith Hour", and (at the time this film), had their own highly successful radio show. William Bendix (Detective Brannigan) was a bit player in radio at the time, but was to soon become famous for his radio show "The Life of Riley". Walter Tetley (the busboy) was an accomplished child radio actor, playing various roles on different shows including "The Great Gildersleeve" and "The Phil Harris/Alice Faye Show". Finally, William Gargan (Detective Moran) starred in his own radio show, "Barry Craig, Confidential Investigator". See more »

Goofs

Costello running in fright in the radio station crashes through a glass partition, leaving a hole in his shape in the glass. Abbott, following, breaks away part of the glass to get through. Later, we see the hole in the partition in its original form. See more »

Quotes

Customer: What happened to my strawberry sundae?
Mervin Q. Milgrim: What's today?
Customer: Friday.
Mervin Q. Milgrim: You've got two more days to wait.
See more »

Connections

Featured in 100 Years of Comedy (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bud and Lou at the Top of Their Game
4 January 2003 | by (Seattle Washington area) – See all my reviews

In 1942, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello capitalized on their smashing success and churned out what is arguably their best effort up to that point. This time around, Bud and Lou play two dim-witted soda jerks trying to work their way into the radio business. When a "whodunit" mystery writer meets them and gives them tickets to that night's play, the duo jump at the opportunity. However, they soon find themselves in the middle of a real murder case when the studio's Executive Director is bumped off in the same manner as the victims in the mystery script. Thanks to one of Bud's bright ideas, they become prime suspects in the case while the murderer targets them as well. Trying to clear their names and solve the case, Bud and Lou embark on a wild chase that evokes laugh after laugh after laugh.

After seeing this film, it is not at all difficult to see why Abbott and Costello were so popular. Every routine is treated like a masterpiece and their comedic delivery is as close to perfect as you will find anywhere. Take the soda bar scene, for example. It's not that the "Muck and Mire" radio script is so inhumanly dumb, but rather Lou's constant heckling of the straight-faced bud that is funny. Then there is the way Lou reacts to everything. The man is just priceless. These guys had comedy nailed like few others ever managed.

Another reason Who Done It? is so great is the supporting cast. Sure Bud and Lou almost get in trouble for pretending to be cops, but it is a wonder that the real ones managed to keep their jobs for more than a day. Williams Bendix as Brannigan is even dumber than Lou! Now that is a first! His buddy is not too bright either. Sure, Bud and Lou nearly get in trouble for pretending to be cops, but the real ones are nearly as bad. Adding even more laughs is Mary Wickes as Juliet Collins. The subplot with her and Lou completes a one-two-three punch that is one of A&C's best ever.

Finally, there cannot be a great Abbott and Costello without a famous routine or two. The "volts are watts" scene is terrific, and who can forget "Alexander 2222"? For fans of Bud and Lou, the best part has to be when they hear "Who's on First?" on the radio and DISLIKE IT! The director managed to create a terrific flow from one wacky sequence to the next. For Bud and Lou in top form, look no further than Who Done It? Laughs guaranteed.


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