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Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) Poster

Goofs

Anachronisms 

During the dock scene where Cohan is singing "Give My Regards to Broadway," the S.S. Hurrah steams away with a 48-star flag astern. The Broadway play from which the song came was produced during the time when the flag had only 45 stars.
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Anachronisms 

The "You're A Grand Old Flag" number, supposedly takes place in the 1906 production of "George Washington Jr.," and uses multiple period flags to represent times before 1906. The Civil War flag, as an example, is correct for the time in question. However, in the final sequence characters carry, and an soft screen projection is made of, multiple 48 star flags. The 48 star flag was not introduced until 1912. In 1906, it should have been a 45 star flag. (Oklahoma was admitted to the Union in 1907, New Mexico and Arizona in 1912).
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In the "You're A Grand Old Flag" number, which supposedly takes place in the 1906 production of "George Washington Jr.," an African-American chorus pays tribute to a backdrop image of Abraham Lincoln, seated in a chair. The Lincoln image is taken from Daniel Chester French's sculpture for the Lincoln Memorial. This sculpture was not completed until the opening of the Lincoln Memorial in 1922.
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In the "You're A Grand Old Flag" number, which supposedly takes place in the 1906 production of "George Washington Jr.," we see a group of Boy Scouts march onto the stage. The Scout Movement was founded in 1907 by Sir Robert Baden-Powell in England and wasn't founded in the United States until 1910.
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The writers stretch the bounds "poetic license" by trying to tie George M. Cohan's flop Popularity (1906) with the sinking of the Lusitania (1915) and the U.S. entry into World War I (1917) as all occurring at the same time.
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The song "Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar" is referenced before George M. Cohan starred in the 1937 production of "I'd Rather Be Right Than Be President". The song was written in 1940.
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Near the beginning of the movie, George M. Cohan is describing his birth (in 1878) to Franklin D. Roosevelt, and speaks of the flag "having fewer stars then, but people knew more were coming". The camera fades to a scene of an American flag waving on a flagpole, before panning down to people at a 4th of July parade waving hand held flags. The hand held flags appear to be the correct 38 star flags of 1878, but the flag on the pole is the 45 star flag introduced in 1896.
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The song "Off the Record", performed near the end when Cohan is portraying Franklin D. Roosevelt in the musical "I'd Rather Be Right", features some morale boosting anti-Nazi lyrics. However, "I'd Rather Be Right" played on Broadway in 1937, two years before World War II broke out, and four years before the U.S. entered it.
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In the "You're A Grand Old Flag" number, which took place in the 1906 production of "George Washington Jr.," we see a group of Boy Scouts march onto the stage wearing the 1940 scout uniforms. In the beginning (after 1906) the uniform looked like an Army uniform.
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In a montage following the news that the Lusitania has been sunk (a 1915 occurrence), a movie poster is seen for a film called EMPTY HOLSTERS. This was a Warner Brothers B-Western starring Dick Foran that was released in 1937.
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After the scene showing New Year's 1912, Josie tells George she is getting married. Josie and Fred Niblo actually married in 1901, prior to George's successes on Broadway.
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The play "Popularity" had a brief run on Broadway in 1906, almost nine years before the sinking of the RMS Lusitania (in 1915). The movie shows George performing in the "Yankee Prince" at same time. Actually, "Yankee Prince" was nearly two years later. IBDB shows George was not in another show at the time of "Popularity." George re-did "Popularity" as the musical "The Man Who Owns Broadway" in 1909 (and shown in a montage earlier in the movie).
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Jerry Cohan is shown announcing his and Nellie's retirement at his 62nd birthday party, following the New Year's 1912 scene. Jerry turned 62 in February 1910. Jerry and Nellie left the stage in 1913 shortly after his 65th birthday.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When Francis Langford is singing "Over There" and the power goes out her voice over is still singing while her lips are apparently asking "what is going on?" to George.
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Boom mic visible 

Shadow sweeping across the set during "Yankee Doodle Dandy".
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Shadow sweeping across set during "I'd rather be right" after George M. Cohan steps off the stairs and is behind the long table.
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The boom mic's shadow falls across the back wall as George M. Cohan and Harris head to the Western Union office.
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The boom mike is visible, shadowed in the spotlight at the beginning of the "Off the Record" number, about 5 - 10 minutes before the end of the movie.
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Character error 

Despite the film's storyline, and Cohan's own lifelong claim, that he was born on the 4th of July (and his having written the song "Yankee Doodle Dandy" containing that very line), George M. Cohan was in fact born on the 3rd of July (1878).
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Continuity 

George M. Cohan's work coat is unbuttoned/unbuttoned during the scene where he is chopping wood, and talking to his sister.
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In the dressing room scene, just before Albee's visit, Jerry Cohan wraps a scarf around his neck while he's talking to George M. Cohan and leaves one end outside of his dressing gown. In the next shot, the scarf is tucked in.
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After George M. Cohan plays the violin as a child, he sets the instrument down on a table and it changes position between shots.
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Errors in geography 

There are no mountains visible from Providence, RI, despite what is shown in the opening scene.
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Factual errors 

George M. Cohan received a Congressional Gold Medal, not the Medal of Honor.
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"After leaving his meeting with the president, which has supposedly been taking place in the White House's Oval Office, Cohan walks down a grand staircase before exiting the building. The Oval Office is on the ground floor of the White House."

George M. Cohan meets with President Franklin D. Roosevelt in an oval room that is on the 2nd floor of the White House. This would be the Yellow Room which FDR used as a private study. It is not the famous Oval Office located in the West Wing.
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Variety newspaper headline is actually "Sticks Nix Hick Pix" (17 July 1935).
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In a newspaper photograph, the Lusitania has two funnels instead of four.
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After Cohan's father Jerry dies, George M. Cohan is called the last of the Four Cohans. Actually, Cohan's mother, Helen, died in 1928. Jerry died in 1917 and Cohan's sister, Josie, died in 1916.
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In the movie, Josie was younger than George. Josie was was actually two years older than George M. Cohan.
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Revealing mistakes 

In the shot preceding the "Yankee Doodle Dandy" number, a close up of the conductor's stand shows the conductor's music, which is only a "lead sheet" with the vocal line and lyrics only. This would never be the case, especially on Broadway. The conductor always had a "piano-conductor" part with vocal line and a 2 staff accompaniment of all the music in the show.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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