IMDb > Swing Out, Sweet Land (1970) (TV)

Swing Out, Sweet Land (1970) (TV) More at IMDbPro »


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Release Date:
29 November 1970 (USA) See more »
Won Primetime Emmy. Another 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Bob Hope gooses Ann-Margret. See more (9 total) »


  (in credits order)

John Wayne ... Himself

Ann-Margret ... Entertainer at Valley Forge

Lucille Ball ... Statue of Liberty (voice)

Jack Benny ... Man Who Finds Silver Dollar

Dan Blocker ... Indian Who Sells Manhattan

Roscoe Lee Browne ... Frederick Douglass

Glen Campbell ... Himself

Johnny Cash ... Himself

Roy Clark ... Banjo Player at Andrew Jackson's Inaugural

Bing Crosby ... Mark Twain

Phyllis Diller ... Belva A. Lockwood

Lorne Greene ... George Washington

Celeste Holm ... Nancy Lincoln

Bob Hope ... Himself - Entertaining Troops at Valley Forge

Michael Landon ... Peter Minuit

Dean Martin ... Eli Whitney

Ross Martin ... Alexander Hamilton

Greg Morris ... Crispus Attucks

David Nelson ... Union Soldier

Ricky Nelson ... Confederate Soldier

Hugh O'Brian ... Thomas Jefferson

Dan Rowan ... Orville Wright

Dick Martin ... Wilbur Wright

William Shatner ... John Adams

Red Skelton ... Newspaper Printer

Tom Smothers ... Newspaper Printer's Assistant

Leslie Uggams ... Saloon Singer

Dennis Weaver ... Tom Lincoln

Cathy Baker ... Confederate Soldier's Wife
Berniece Dalton
Jane Harris
Paul Reid Roman

Lisa Todd ... Bud, Eli Whitney's 'Boy'
Arthur Tovey ... Father

Ed McMahon ... Bartender / announcer
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

George Burns ... Himself
The Doodletown Pipers ... Themselves

Jesse Vint ... Colorado
Owen Bush ... Man Representing Missouri (uncredited)
Edward Faulkner ... Bit (uncredited)
Harry Hickox ... Man Representing Illinois (uncredited)
Kay E. Kuter ... Man Representing Mississippi (uncredited)
Forrest Lewis ... Man Representing Maine (uncredited)
Orville Sherman ... Man Representing Alabama (uncredited)

Patrick Wayne ... James Caldwell (uncredited)

Dan White ... Man Representing Florida (uncredited)

Hal Williams ... Man Representing Iowa (uncredited)

Directed by
Stan Harris 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
John Aylesworth 
Paul Keyes  (writer) (as Paul W. Keyes)

Produced by
William O. Harbach .... executive producer
Paul Keyes .... producer (as Paul W. Keyes)
Sam Lovullo .... associate producer
Nick Vanoff .... executive producer
Original Music by
Dominic Frontiere 
Casting by
Lee Traver 
Art Direction by
Eugene McAvoy 
Costume Design by
Ed Sunley 
Makeup Department
Dave Grayson .... makeup artist
Charles Nash .... makeup artist
Yolie Stefanko .... hair stylist
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Art Seidel .... associate director
Art Department
Bill Camden .... assistant art director
Jim Fox .... property master
Sound Department
Marshall King .... audio
Camera and Electrical Department
Bob Boatman .... lighting director
Editorial Department
Jerry Greene .... tape editor
Music Department
John Beal .... conductor
Ray Charles .... special musical material
Dominic Frontiere .... musical director
Les Pouliot .... composer: Johnny Cash material
Claude Williamson .... music coordinator
Other crew
Ellen Brown .... assistant to producer
Fran De Simone .... production assistant
Carolyn Dyer .... assistant choreographer
Bob Lally .... first stage manager
Ken Lamkin .... technical director
David Menteer .... stage manager (as Dave Menteer)
Jaime Rogers .... choreographer
Chuck Slosser .... researcher

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"John Wayne's Tribute to America" - USA (DVD box title)
See more »
73 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Movie Connections:
It Was Good Enough For GrandmaSee more »


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13 out of 20 people found the following review useful.
Bob Hope gooses Ann-Margret., 5 May 2005
Author: F Gwynplaine MacIntyre from Minffordd, North Wales

'Swing Out, Sweet Land' is the deeply annoying title of a variety special that's actually fairly entertaining. Because this special allegedly has something to do with American history, IMDb have listed it as a 'documentary'. Actually, this is a comedy/variety special that presents a series of skits (most of them attempting to be funny, a few of them serious) with modern actors impersonating figures from American history. Oddly, two of the U.S. Presidents depicted here are played by Canadian actors: Lorne Greene as Washington, William Shatner as John Adams. The whole affair was a personal project of John Wayne, and was produced by his company Batjac Productions.

I attended a press screening of this special in London in 1971. A Batjac rep was hoping to persuade British TV producers (one of them my employer) to buy the UK syndication rights. Unsurprisingly, British TV producers were chary to give British audiences a programme dealing entirely with American history, much of it concerning America's War of Independence against Britain. 'Swing Out, Sweet Land' was never transmitted in the UK.

CONTAINS SPOILERS. Most of the humour here is simple displacement of 1970s showbiz personalities into earlier eras. Bob Hope shows up in a tricorn at Valley Forge for Christmas 1776, doing his usual shtick of entertaining the troops (who look surprisingly well-fed, well-dressed and warm ... in what's clearly an indoor set). Ann-Margret, in a mob cap and petticoats, does a dance routine for the enthusiastic soldiers, lifting her skirts surprisingly high for the 18th century. Then Bob Hope sings his usual 'Thanks for the Memories', with Revolution-era lyrics: 'We all hold very dear / that patriot Revere. / He rode all night to aid our plight, but just think of his ... rear!' On the word 'rear', Hope pauses slightly and he gooses Ann-Margret, and she squeals in delight! That's the biggest surprise here.

Phyllis Diller shows up as Belva Lockwood, the first woman to stand for election as U.S. President (1884 & 1888), and also the first woman lawyer to plead a case before the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, Diller's turn here is treated largely as a joke. In fairness to Diller, Belva Lockwood's political campaigns were largely regarded as a joke in the 1880s.

Lorne Greene, in elaborate costume and wig, is seen as President Washington. As he walks away from his advisors, he is confronted by Jack Benny in 18th-century costume but wearing his usual hornrims. Benny tentatively asks Washington if the rumour is true that he once threw a dollar across the Potomac. When Washington confirms this, Benny nervously asks if Washington would be able to identify the dollar. When Washington answers in the negative, Benny replies: 'Good. So I can keep this one, then.' Ha bloody ha.

Dean Martin shows up as the inventor of the cotton gin, just so he can drunkenly belch 'Keep yer cotton-pickin' hands off my gin.' The rule in this special tends to be that white figures in American history will be mocked for cheap laughs, but black figures in American history will be depicted respectfully (though not always effectively).

The most bizarre turn is a dead-earnest skit featuring Red Skelton as a newspaper printer in Philadelphia in 1776, with Tom Smothers as his assistant; I leave it to you to imagine how these two actors look in 18th-century work clothes. They've been hired to run off copies of a new document called the Declaration of Independence. Smothers nervously feels that perhaps they shouldn't print this document; it defies King George, and it might just stir up trouble. Skelton reads off a few passages of the galley proof -- something about freedom and liberty -- and he hands it to Smothers with the verdict 'Print it.' Much as I admire John Wayne's sentiments in producing 'Sing Out, Sweet Land', I found this sequence extremely sententious and a little too pleased with its own boldness. I still have the press kit from the London screening I attended. The text in the press kit attempts to make a great deal of the fact that conservative John Wayne and liberal Tom Smothers had divergent political beliefs, yet were able to work together amicably to make this special. Right, so what? Tom Smothers is a member of the establishment, even if he pretends otherwise, and he wasn't going to rock the boat to compromise this special. The press kit mentions that Wayne and Smothers got along just fine during rehearsals by avoiding politics altogether. 'We talked about sailing,' Smothers is quoted in the press kit.

There's really nothing of great interest in 'Swing Out, Sweet Land' unless you're a fan of one of the performers in this cast ... and even then you'd have to be a completist. The comedy here isn't especially funny. As for the serious stuff: I'd be delighted to watch a special that gives respectful tribute to the subject of America's greatness ... but this special ain't it. I'll rate 'Sing Out, Sweet Land' 4 out of 10, purely for its novelty value.

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