13 user 5 critic

Having Wonderful Time (1938)

Approved | | Comedy, Romance | 1 July 1938 (USA)
Teddy Shaw, a bored New York office girl, goes to a camp in the Catskill Mountains for rest and finds Chick Kirkland.


Alfred Santell


Arthur Kober (stage play: New York), Arthur Kober (screen play)


Learn more

More Like This 

Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A shoplifter and her prosecutor fall in love, creating tensions for his career and family.

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Beulah Bondi
Stage Door (1937)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A chronicle of the ambitions, dreams, and disappointments of aspiring actresses who all live in the same boarding house.

Director: Gregory La Cava
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Adolphe Menjou
Comedy | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Working girl Janie is proposed to by a conservative car salesman, a bohemian auto mechanic, and a millionaire playboy and must make a choice.

Director: Garson Kanin
Stars: Ginger Rogers, George Murphy, Alan Marshal
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Mae Doyle comes back to her hometown a cynical woman. Her brother Joe fears that his love, fish cannery worker Peggy, may wind up like Mae. Mae marries Jerry and has a baby; she is happy but restless, drawn to Jerry's friend Earl.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Ryan, Paul Douglas
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A businessman moves to Hong Kong to pursue a career as an artist and falls in love with a prostitute he hires as a model.

Director: Richard Quine
Stars: William Holden, Nancy Kwan, Sylvia Syms
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An American woman travels to England to seek a divorce from her absentee husband, where she meets - and falls for - a dashing performer.

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Alice Brady
Room Service (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A penniless theatrical producer must outwit the hotel efficiency expert trying to evict him from his room, while securing a backer for his new play.

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Music | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Mr Casey's daughter, Connie, wants to go to Pottawatomie College and without her knowledge he sends four football players as her bodyguards. The college is in financial trouble and her ... See full summary »

Director: George Abbott
Stars: Lucille Ball, Richard Carlson, Ann Miller
Certificate: Passed Action | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Sports car racer becomes overprotective of his brother when he decides to become a racer as well.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Ann Dvorak
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Fleeing her cruel uncle and an arranged marriage Susan Lenox falls in love with a kind stranger but circumstances force her to become a woman of easy virtue.

Director: Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Jean Hersholt
Easter Parade (1948)
Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A nightclub performer hires a naive chorus girl to become his new dance partner to make his former partner jealous and to prove he can make any partner a star.

Director: Charles Walters
Stars: Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Peter Lawford
The Red House (1947)
Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An old man and his sister are concealing a terrible secret from their adopted teen daughter, concerning a hidden abandoned farmhouse, located deep in the woods.

Director: Delmer Daves
Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Lon McCallister, Judith Anderson


Cast overview, first billed only:
Ginger Rogers ... Teddy Shaw
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ... Chick Kirkland
Peggy Conklin ... Fay Coleman
Lucille Ball ... Miriam
Lee Bowman ... Buzzy Armbruster
Eve Arden ... Henrietta
Dorothea Kent ... Maxine
Red Skelton ... Itchy (as Richard 'Red' Skelton)
Donald Meek ... P.U. Rogers
Jack Carson ... Emil Beatty
Clarence Wilson ... Mr. G (as Clarence H. Wilson)
Allan Lane ... Maxwell Pingwell aka Mac
Grady Sutton ... Gus
Shimen Ruskin ... Shrimpo
Dorothy Tree ... Frances


Ginger Rogers, an overworked New York office girl, seeks 2 weeks of rest and relaxation at a camp in the Catskills. She is definitely not a happy camper because of the crowded and noisy conditions. She tries her best to fit in and, after an initial dislike, falls for college educated Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., a waiter at the camp. Ginger becomes suspicious of his motives, however, and he becomes alarmed when she spends an innocent night in the cabin of a rival suitor. All ends happily, however, as their love proves true enough and trust triumphs over suspicions. Written by Jim Corrigan

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »





English | French

Release Date:

1 July 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Having a Wonderful Time See more »


Box Office


$966,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The Broadway production of "Having Wonderful Time" opened at the Lyceum Theater in New York City on 20 February 1937 and ran for 372 performances. See more »


When Teddy states the line "But I've always wanted to" on the Bronx Express in talking to her friend Francis, the movement of Teddy's mouth does not match the word "wanted". See more »


Teddy Shaw: I know myself very well. And when you come right down to it, I'm exactly like those other hillbillies from the Bronx.
See more »


My First Impression of You
Music by Sam H. Stept
Lyrics by Charles Tobias
Sung by Betty Jane Rhodes (uncredited) at the dance
Played also as background music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Summer Holiday
23 April 2017 | by lugonianSee all my reviews

HAVING WONDERFUL TIME (RKO Radio, 1938), directed by Alfred Santell, is a Ginger Rogers starring comedy produced towards the end to her great popularity years (1933-1939) of those nine song and dance musicals produced by RKO opposite her most famous screen partner of all time, Fred Astaire. Although reportedly a comedy adapted from the 1937 stage success by Arthur Kober, that success didn't seem to be repeated on screen due to changes and alterations, thus, resulting to a somewhat disappointing production made plausible mostly by Ginger Rogers and her STAGE DOOR (RKO Radio, 1937) co-stars of Lucille Ball, Eve Arden, Jack Carson, Grady  Sutton making return engagements. There's also a very young comic named Richard Skelton, better known as "Red" Skelton, making his motion picture debut.  

Following a visual view of New York City, the story introduces Teddy Shaw (Ginger Rogers), a stenographer working in a crowded office surrounded by other girl, over-viewed by a strict supervisor (Elsie Cavanna).  It's also her last day at work before her trip to the Catskills mountains where she's to vacation for the next two weeks at Camp Kare-Free to "relax in the peace and quiet of the pines." Following a subway ride to her apartment in the Bronx where she's surrounded by family members consisting of her parents (Harlan Briggs and Leona Roberts), sister (Inez Courtney), her brother-in-law (Dean Jagger) and their daughter (Juanita Quigley), Teddy, the only single girl in the family, resents the annoyance of her nagging family to marry Emil Beatty (Jack Carson), a successful but obnoxious businessman whom she does not love. Upon her train arrival to the mountains, Teddy's vacation comes to a bad start leading to constant quarrels with Chick Kirkland (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.), a young man whose ambition to become a lawyer by earning extra money as both waiter and bus driver. Chick resents the ill treatment from customers who feel they are always right, while Teddy resents Chick's temperamental treatment towards her. Eventually Teddy and Chick come to terms until a misunderstanding and rumors of Teddy spending the entire night in a cabin with Miriam's (Lucille Ball) beau, "Buzzy" Armbruster (Lee Bowman), puts further friction in their brief relationship. Other members of the large list of cast credits include: Peggy Conklin (Fay Coleman, Teddy's friend); Eve Arden (Henrietta); Dorothea Kent (Maxine); Donald Meek (P.U. Rogers, manager of the resort); Allan Lane ("Mac"); Clarence Wilson, among others.

Red Skelton, who would later win fame and popularity in musical-comedies for MGM in the 1940s, and later on his television variety show, plays a comical social director who manages to throw in some of his comic routines for good measure, ranging from his method of dunking donuts to climbing up and down the stairs. Although funny to the guests and workers at the resort, Skelton's routines just don't appear to register well as they formerly did to contemporary viewers. Future television personalities as Lucille Ball and Eve Arden are almost unidentifiable, especially when speaking in strong Bronx accents, and Eve wearing horn-rim glasses.

For a Ginger Rogers solo effort, which are usually clocked anywhere between 80 to 90 minutes, HAVING WONDERFUL TIME is relatively short (70 minutes), playing more like a second feature presentation rather than a major "A" comedy. Its a wonder how much was deleted considering the fact that actress/dancer Ann Miller's name comes after Red Skelton's in some theatrical lobby cards, yet her character role of Vivian doesn't appear to be seen anywhere in the finished product. There are songs, including "My First Impression of You" (sung by Betty Jane Rhodes) and "Nighty Night" by Charles Tobias, Sammy Stept and Bill Livingston, which are easily forgettable. Considering the locale of Camp Kare- Free, it's a wonder how this production might have turned out had it been a Fred and Ginger musical/comedy instead, retaining its CAREFREE title already used for their other 1938 musical consisting an entirely different plot altogether.

As much as Rogers worked so well with Astaire, and other leading men of her day, including Dick Powell, James Stewart or George Brent, for some reason, she doesn't register well with Douglas Fairbanks Jr., who seems out of place here. Possibly newer RKO Radio performers as James Ellison or Lee Bowman might have been better suited, although their names were hardly those to draw a large theater crowds. The major weakness to HAVING WONDERFUL TIME is the revised treatment by its author probably due to certain scenes that couldn't be used for the screen version due to the production code. The story starts off well, but once it set at Camp Karefree, it becomes weak, especially the typically love-hate relationship between Rogers and Fairbanks, followed by Rogers endlessly playing backgammon as the guests in another cabin are heard repeatedly singing "Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho," that grows tiresome after awhile.

Formerly available on video cassette in the 1980s accompanied by a second Ginger Rogers feature, CARNIVAL BOAT (1932) on the same tape, HAVING WONDERFIL TIME did show up regularly on American Movie Classics prior to 2001, and occasionally turns up from time to time on Turner Classic Movies. As much as the movie fails to have its wonderful time with its quota of big laughs, the casting of future TV personalities as Lucille Ball, Eve Arden or Red Skelton early in their careers would be sole reasons for viewing this light comedy today. (**1/2)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 13 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed