IMDb > Three Little Words (1950)
Three Little Words
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Three Little Words (1950) More at IMDbPro »


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Down 15% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
George Wells (screenplay)
View company contact information for Three Little Words on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
12 July 1950 (USA) See more »
The story of the successful Tin Pan Alley songwriting team of Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby is told loosely and lightheartedly. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Nominated for Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A Pair Of Normal Fellows See more (32 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Fred Astaire ... Bert Kalmar

Red Skelton ... Harry Ruby

Vera-Ellen ... Jessie Brown Kalmar

Arlene Dahl ... Eileen Percy

Keenan Wynn ... Charlie Kope
Gale Robbins ... Terry Lordel

Gloria DeHaven ... Mrs. Carter De Haven (as Gloria De Haven)
Phil Regan ... Himself
Harry Shannon ... Clanahan

Debbie Reynolds ... Helen Kane
Paul Harvey ... Al Masters
Carleton Carpenter ... Dan Healy
George Metkovich ... Al Schacht
Harry Mendoza ... Himself (as The Great Mendoza)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
William Bailey ... Man in Audience (uncredited)
Harry Barris ... Pianist at Party (uncredited)
Douglas Carter ... Stagehand (uncredited)
Ann Cavendish ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Jack Chefe ... Waiter (uncredited)
Harry Cody ... Prop Man (uncredited)
Roger Cole ... Minor Role (uncredited)
James Conaty ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Bert Davidson ... Photographer (uncredited)
Elzie Emanuel ... Kid Who Tells Harry the Ball Score (uncredited)

Franklyn Farnum ... Party Guest (uncredited)

Pat Flaherty ... Coach (uncredited)
Sig Frohlich ... Messenger (uncredited)
Alex Gerry ... Marty - City Editor (uncredited)
Billy Gray ... Boy (uncredited)
Sherry Hall ... Pianist in Clanahan's (uncredited)
Helen Kane ... Helen Kane (singing voice) (uncredited)
Frank Kelleher ... Baseball Player (uncredited)
Kenner G. Kemp ... Man in Audience (uncredited)
Donald Kerr ... Stage Manager in Buffalo (uncredited)
George Magrill ... Piano Mover (uncredited)
Dwight Martin ... Piano Mover (uncredited)
Mickey Martin ... Callboy (uncredited)
John McKee ... Baseball Player (uncredited)
Beverly Michaels ... Shipboard Woman (uncredited)
Fred Millican ... Baseball Player (uncredited)
Edward F. Nulty ... Baseball Player (uncredited)
Jack Paepke ... Baseball Player (uncredited)
Joe Peterson ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Jerry Priddy ... Baseball Player (uncredited)
Suzanne Ridgeway ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
Harry Ruby ... Baseball Player (uncredited)
Fred Santley ... Juice Vendor (uncredited)
Syd Saylor ... Barker at Clanahan's (uncredited)
Jeffrey Sayre ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
George Sherwood ... Director (uncredited)
Reginald Simpson ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Ted Stanhope ... Waiter / Theatre Usher (uncredited)
Bert Stevens ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
Lou Stringer ... Baseball Player (uncredited)
Brick Sullivan ... Policeman on Street (uncredited)
William Tannen ... Photographer (uncredited)
Charles Wagenheim ... Johnny the Waiter (uncredited)
Pierre Watkin ... Philip Goodman (uncredited)
John B. Williams ... Waiter in Clanahan's (uncredited)
Pat Williams ... Magician's Assistant (uncredited)
George Woods ... Baseball Player (uncredited)
Phyllis Woodward ... Minor Role (uncredited)

Directed by
Richard Thorpe 
Writing credits
George Wells (screenplay)

Produced by
Jack Cummings .... producer
Original Music by
André Previn (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Harry Jackson 
Film Editing by
Ben Lewis 
Art Direction by
Cedric Gibbons 
Urie McCleary 
Set Decoration by
Edwin B. Willis 
Costume Design by
Helen Rose 
Makeup Department
Jack Dawn .... hair stylist
Jane Baldwin .... hair stylist (uncredited)
Eddie Polo .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Production Management
Lee Katz .... production manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Bert Glazer .... assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Arthur Krams .... associate set decorator
Sound Department
Douglas Shearer .... sound recordist
Ralph A. Pender .... sound (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Warren Newcombe .... special effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Ed Donnell .... grip (uncredited)
Otto Dyar .... still photographer (uncredited)
C.A. Philbrick .... gaffer (uncredited)
Irving Rosenberg .... camera operator (uncredited)
Robert Worl .... gaffer (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Peter Ballbusch .... montage
Music Department
Leo Arnaud .... orchestrator
André Previn .... musical director
Robert Franklyn .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Wally Heglin .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Conrad Salinger .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
James Gooch .... technicolor color consultant
Henri Jaffa .... technicolor color consultant
Hermes Pan .... dances created and directed by
Harry Ruby .... technical advisor
Fred Astaire .... choreographer (uncredited)
William J. Hole Jr. .... script supervisor (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
102 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Did You Know?

Mrs. Carter DeHaven, a Broadway star, introduced the song "Who's Sorry Now". In the film Gloria DeHaven recreates her mother singing it.See more »
Continuity: When Harry hurts his hand playing baseball with the Washington Senators, his glove is knocked off of his left hand and he holds the index finger on that hand in obvious pain. Immediately afterward, when he is having difficulty playing the piano because of his injury, he has a bandage on his right index finger.See more »
Harry Ruby:I got plenty of tunes in me!See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Glorious Technicolor (1998) (TV)See more »
Test DanceSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
9 out of 10 people found the following review useful.
A Pair Of Normal Fellows, 25 February 2008
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York

Three Little Words purports to tell the story of the fabled songwriting team of Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby and for the film the unlikely team of Fred Astaire as Kalmar and Red Skelton as Ruby were brought in to star. It's a good thing the real Kalmar and Ruby had a lot more chemistry than Astaire and Skelton do.

But as in all these musical biographies of songwriters, it's the songs that are the real star. Kalmar and Ruby wrote some great ones, no doubt about it. Songs like Nevertheless, Thinking of You, Who's Sorry Now are still sung and will be sung for the next millennium.

Both these guys had their eccentricities, Kalmar fancied himself a magician and Ruby was a big baseball fan. Kalmar wanted to be Mr. Blackstone and Ruby would have swapped every song he ever wrote for a chance to play in the Major Leagues with any of the New York based teams.

Astaire is strangely lacking in dance routines in this film. They are confined to some vaudeville type numbers as befitting the fact that Kalmar was a song and dance man until a knee injury made him turn to writing. Red Skelton's antics were confined to some scenes on the baseball diamond where his good friend, the clown prince of baseball Al Schacht played by infielder George Metkovich provided some good humorous moments for Skelton.

Incidentally one big error in the film identified Al Schacht as a pitcher. Schacht was a catcher, his vaudeville partner was Nick Altrock who was a pitcher and a good one, but he's not in the film.

Arlene Dahl and Vera-Ellen play the women in the lives of Ruby and Kalmar. Vera-Ellen dances well with Astaire and her singing is dubbed by Anita Ellis.

Debbie Reynolds is in this in one of her earliest roles as Boop Boop a Doop singer Helen Kane who did introduce Kalmar and Ruby's I Wanna Be Loved By You. And Gloria DeHaven playing her own mother who died that year and she sings Who's Sorry Now.

Kalmar and Ruby also wrote Groucho Marx's theme, Hooray For Captain Spaulding. I'm still wondering why it was only confined to the two of our leads in rehearsal, why Groucho himself didn't appear. In real life he was a very close friend of Harry Ruby's. Kalmar and Ruby wrote the score for Duck Soup as well and later on they wrote Go West Young Man for Groucho in Copacabana.

The song Three Little Words was NOT introduced on Phil Regan's radio show. It was written by Kalmar and Ruby for the Amos and Andy film Check and Double Check where Duke Ellington and his orchestra played it with the Rhythm Boys singing. They also recorded the song with the Rhythm Boys who were Al Rinker, Harry Barris, and their lead singer, a fellow named Bing Crosby.

Kalmar had passed away when this film was released in 1950. Ruby went on after a fashion. Oscar Hammerstein, II helped finish a Kalmar lyric to a Ruby song that became A Kiss To Build A Dream On which was sung by Louis Armstrong the following year and was a big posthumous hit for half the team. And Harry Ruby wrote the famous television theme to The Real McCoys later on in the Fifties.

Other than their respective avocations for prestidigitation and baseball, Kalmar and Ruby were a pair of normal fellows and led pretty dull lives. But that's the problem when you try to do biographies of people like them. So relax and listen to some really great songs by a pair of normal guys.

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