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Playmates (1941)

Lulu Monahan (Patsy Kelly), the press agent for John Barrymore (John Barrymore),is attempting to get a sponsor for a radio program. To that end, she and the agent for bandleader Kay Kyser (... See full summary »


David Butler


James V. Kern (story), M.M. Musselman (story) | 2 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Kay Kyser ... Kay Kyser
John Barrymore ... John Barrymore
Lupe Velez ... Carmen del Toro
Ginny Simms ... Ginny Simms - Band Singer
May Robson ... Grandma Kyser
Patsy Kelly ... Lulu Monahan
Peter Lind Hayes ... Peter Lindsay
Kay Kyser Band ... Kay Kyser's Band
Harry Babbitt ... Harry Babbitt - Band Member
M.A. Bogue ... Ish Kabibble (as Ish Kabibble)
Sully Mason ... Sully Mason - Band Member


Lulu Monahan (Patsy Kelly), the press agent for John Barrymore (John Barrymore),is attempting to get a sponsor for a radio program. To that end, she and the agent for bandleader Kay Kyser (Kay Kyser), plant a story that the great Shakespearean actor, over his heartfelt objections, will teach Kyser how to play Shakespeare, which isn't the same as playing Paducah, which soon becomes evident. Highlights are the singing of Ginny Simms and a rumba by Lupe Velez; lowlights already cited. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Music


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

26 December 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dois Romeus Enguiçados See more »

Filming Locations:

Pasadena, California, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(copyright length) | (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film contains the only screen footage of John Barrymore reciting Hamlet's famous "To be or not to be" soliloquy. See more »


When Carmen throws the knife at John and Lulu, the wire used is clearly visible, and a small hole where it sticks in the wall is already present. See more »


Ginny Simms - Band Singer: Whatever would make a girl like that want to fight with bulls?
John Barrymore: Probably, a sense of fairness, my dear child. Any animal smaller than a bull would be outmatched.
See more »


References Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938) See more »


Thank Your Lucky Stars and Stripes
Music by Jimmy Van Heusen (as James Van Husen)
Lyrics by Johnny Burke
Sung by Harry Babbitt, Sully Mason, Ginny Simms, M.A. Bogue, Kay Kyser and The Guardsmen,
with the Kay Kyser Band
Danced by Kay Kyser
See more »

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User Reviews

Some folks here really need to lighten up...
19 September 2018 | by ben-thayerSee all my reviews

Count me in with the group who enjoyed this film thoroughly. As a Kay Kyser vehicle it wasn't meant to be high art, it was a lowbrow comedy and in that it succeeds wonderfully. I laughed continually throughout the picture.

And NO, John Barrymore was not "sad", he was *hilarious* in his portrayal of a self-absorbed ham who would rather be boiled in oil than appear onstage with a bandleader. Unfortunately a rather large and unexpected bill from the IRS leaves him little choice, and a much-needed radio endorsement deal is contingent upon his appearing with Kyser in a Shakespearean production...much to his chagrin. Barrymore's over-the-top, pompous delivery was pure gold, and he played it to the hilt with gusto. Not only was he a great dramatic actor, he was quite good in comedy as well. He rolled every "R" three times as long, and his use of "me" rather than "my" in all his musings was quite humorous..."I have played 'Hamlet' before Kings and Queens! Had them groveling at me feet in abject worship! And you sacrilegiously affiliate me magic name with a barefoot bumpkin, a bifocal billy goat, from the hills of North Carolina! Where to this day, civilization has not yet penetrated!" Wonderfully delivered...anyone who finds this "sad" obviously doesn't get it.

This film is in the exact same vein as the Eddie Cantor vehicle "Thank Your Lucky Stars", which ragged Cantor mercilessly from start to finish as a celebrity with an ego the size of a bus. Barrymore - like Cantor - shows he was a good sport overall for being the recipient of an endless string of insults that were obviously delivered in good fun. The fact that several reviewers here find it pathetic...well, I couldn't disagree more. From what I saw Barrymore had a lot of fun himself making light of his well known reputation.

Throw in a little spice with Lupe Velez, and the formula is complete.

The music is great, and Ginny Simms is absolutely gorgeous. Ish Kabibble is 100% corn as always, those who are familiar with his routine expect nothing less. And no matter what anyone says about Kay Kyser's "acting" (which was also cut to shreds without mercy in this picture)...when he's in front of an audience doing his thing with the band, his stage presence cannot be touched. His style was completely unique and was extremely popular, with good reason. Kay Kyser was the MAN.

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