The government has set up a special agency to stamp out what it considers the number one public menace: the jitterbug. They aren't after the many followers, but the primary perpetrator of ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Hal Le Roy ...
Hal Sturges
...
Betty
Chaz Chase ...
Billy
Tom Emerson ...
Bandleader
Tom Emerson's Hillbilly Sextette ...
Hillbilly Sextette (as Emerson's Sextette)
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Storyline

The government has set up a special agency to stamp out what it considers the number one public menace: the jitterbug. They aren't after the many followers, but the primary perpetrator of the jitterbug, who they've coined "Public Jitterbug No. 1". Hal Sturges is one of several agents working on the case who goes undercover as a dancer in Broadway haunts to find and capture Public Jitterbug No. 1. In his investigation, Hal runs across the beautiful Betty, a seemingly innocent bystander. Hal and Betty fall for each other. However Betty is unaware that Hal is a federal agent, and Hal is unaware that Betty is Public Jitterbug No. 1. Will their roles as agent and public menace number one take priority over their roles of man and woman? Written by Huggo

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Genres:

Short | Comedy | Musical

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Details

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Release Date:

4 May 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Broadway Brevities (1939-1940 season) #8: Public Jitterbug Number One  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Now out on DVD as as an extra feature with "The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle" See more »

Soundtracks

Public Jitterbug No. 1
(uncredited)
Music by Saul Chaplin
Lyrics by Sammy Cahn
Played during the opening credits
Also performed by Betty Hutton toward the end
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User Reviews

 
Public Jitterbug Number One is one of the earliest film appearances of one Betty Hutton
2 April 2008 | by (Baton Rouge, La.) – See all my reviews

I accidentally stumbled onto this obscure musical short after watching another Betty Hutton performance on YouTube. The nonsense plot has some agents on Capitol Hill looking for the title character since they deem such a person a menace to society. (Good thing rock 'n' roll hadn't been invented yet!) Many of them disguise themselves as a country-western band (actually Tom Emerson's Hillbilly Sextette), and one becomes a tap dancer (actually Hal LeRoy who has appeared as such in several features and shorts). In the middle of this party is a short person who literally eats lit matches and cigarettes, some flowers, and a part of his own vest! He's Chaz Chase who I reviewed last year in a late silent short he was in where he did the exact same things I just described here. And then there's the real reason anyone would want to watch this today: Ms. Hutton in one of her earliest film appearances. Initially subdued here, she dances up a storm by her second number that brings everything to a rousing finish before the plot abruptly concludes with an almost violent end. Musical and comedy spots make the story filler tolerable and Betty proves here why she was a force to reckon with during much of the '40s. Chase was amusing in his own weird way and LeRoy danced some pretty good steps. All in all, Public Jitterbug Number One is worth a look for fans of these kinds of vintage musical shorts that provided theatregoers with some distraction during the late stages of the Depression.


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