Even through "Riding High" came from "Red, Hot and Blue" (not the original "Panama Hattie"), it's a rousing way to open this TV version of the 1940 Broadway hit that Merman didn't get to do on film. In 1954, she was everywhere, winning a Golden Globe for "Call Me Madam", starring on the big screen in "There's no business like show business" and making all sorts of TV appearances. The queen of Broadway got to repeat her role of Reno Sweeney in "Anything Goes" for the Colgate Comedy Hour" and the Westinghouse production of this wartime classic.
Merman's doing a Mae West act as ab American in Panama trying to be buddies with the daughter of the man she loves while comic sidekicks Art Carney and Jack E. Leonard discover a saboteur plot. Ray Middleton, Merman's leading man in "Annie Get Your Gun", plays her hero boyfriend, but is as bland as he was in the few movie roles I've seen him in. Karin Wolfe is endearing as his daughter who initially laughs at Merman's Stella Dallas/Sadie Thompson get-up. While only a couple of the songs make it in, the dancing is fun and Merman is filled with pizazz. Janis Carter continues her portrayal of shady ladies here. It's all in fun, and with original commercials, quite nostalgic as well.
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