A filmed version of Phil Silvers' hit Broadway show about a television comic who tried to regain his ratings on TV.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writer:

(screen version)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Jerry Biffle
...
Betty Dillon
Danny Scholl ...
Cliff Lane
Judy Lynn ...
Sally Peters
...
Vic Davis
Bradford Hatton ...
Mr. Parker
Johnny Coy ...
Tommy Phelps
Dick Dana ...
Danny
Joey Faye ...
Pinky
Johnny Trama ...
Little Man
...
Moe
Gloria Smith ...
Featured Dancer
Walter Darewahl ...
Walter (as Walter Dare Wahl)
George Marcy ...
Featured Dancer (as George Marci)
Flash Hogan ...
Singing Dog (as 'Flash' Hogan the Singing Dog)
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Storyline

A filmed version of Phil Silvers' hit Broadway show about a television comic who tried to regain his ratings on TV.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 February 1954 (USA)  »

Box Office

Budget:

$150,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally shot and edited in 3-D, the idea of this film was to for the audience to experience a major Broadway show in the best seat in the house for the price of a movie ticket. Unfortunately, the film was released flat when the 3-D craze ended and no longer exists in that format. Two versions of the film exist, one with extended scenes and longer numbers. The current broadcast version is the truncated version. See more »

Quotes

Jerry Biffle: "He's in love" - that's why tenors were born.
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Connections

Referenced in The Muppet Show: Milton Berle (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

That's for Sure
Music and Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
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User Reviews

Chopped bananas can still be good
15 March 2002 | by (Chicago, Illinois, USA) – See all my reviews

As a record of a type of Broadway entertainment we see very little of nowadays, plus a documentation of classic Vaudeville material presented by the people who actually performed it, this movie should be a little gem.

Should be, but it ain't. The version foisted on us by MGM/UA Home Video is a total travesty and completely unrepresentative of the original film. "Top Banana" as released in 1953, had at least 2 more musical numbers, a number of Vaudeville acts (hello, Hogan the Talking Dog), and 3-D sequences(!).

There's got to be a complete print of this film out there for us to appreciate the genius of Phil Silvers. The version of this movie put out on VHS is an abomination.

To understand why, you have to realize the what was going on at the time of the creation of "Top Banana:" This was a low-budget exploitation flick capitalizing on Phil Silvers' surge in popularity on TV following his winning a Tony award for the original Broadway version of Top Banana. 1950's Hollywood, in it's paranoid fear of television, loves another chance to sneer at cheesy variety programs that seem to be recycling Vaudeville material ad nauseum.

OK, it looks like virtually no money is spent on production values: they apparently transported the play, sets, costumes, and all to an L.A. theater and set up a couple of cameras. Sound recording of dialogue is done with little or no technical enhancement, unless we are hearing playback of songs. And yes, the director apparently never heard of a closeup, let alone anything but straight-ahead shots of the cast moving right to left across the screen.

But look at what it purports to be: Basically a filmed record of a Broadway musical comedy. Jeez, PBS does it and everyone thinks it's brilliant. Somebody at the studio apparently tried to dress it up by inserting shots of a live audience..."Hey, I get it, Mabel! We are watching a PLAY!"

But within the little universe of the movie, it makes no sense, since the audience does not make one peep during the most of the show. Actually with the butchered print, it's hard to follow what was going on. The long takes where Silvers and cast perform straight-ahead old-time comedy are interesting, and make you wish the whole movie was intact.


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