29 user 8 critic

Private Buckaroo (1942)

Passed | | Comedy, Music, Romance | 12 June 1942 (USA)
A Universal Army enlistment promotion, produced as a musical showcase for Harry James, the Andrews Sisters, Joe E. Lewis, and Donald O'Connor & Peggy Ryan. The film's thin plot has James ... See full summary »


Edward F. Cline


Edmond Kelso (screenplay) (as Edmund Kelso), Edward James (screenplay) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Harry James ... Harry James
Patty Andrews ... Patty Andrews (as The Andrews Sisters)
Maxene Andrews ... Maxene Andrews (as The Andrews Sisters)
Laverne Andrews ... Laverne Andrews (as The Andrews Sisters)
Dick Foran ... Lon Prentice
Joe E. Lewis ... Lancelot Pringle McBiff
Ernest Truex ... Col. Elias Weatherford
Jennifer Holt ... Joyce Mason
Shemp Howard ... Sgt. 'Muggsy' Shavel
Richard Davies ... Lt. Howard Mason
Mary Wickes ... Bonnie-Belle Schlopkiss
Donald O'Connor ... Donny
Peggy Ryan ... Peggy
Huntz Hall ... Cpl. Anemic
Susan Levine Susan Levine ... Tagalong


A Universal Army enlistment promotion, produced as a musical showcase for Harry James, the Andrews Sisters, Joe E. Lewis, and Donald O'Connor & Peggy Ryan. The film's thin plot has James drafted, and joining him is the band's lead vocalist Lon Prentice (Dick Foran), who doesn't believe that Army training and regulations are necessary for anyone of his skill and fame. Shemp Howard steals the film whenever James and the Andrewses aren't performing. As Sgt. Snavely, he's effectively teamed with Mary Wickes as his shrewish fiancée, trying desperately to keep her away from the attentions of nightclub comic and USO performer Lancelot Pringle McBiff (Joe E. Lewis). Shemp also has the opportunity to clown onstage with the Andrews Sisters during a musical finale, as they perform Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree. Arguably, Shemp's best solo feature film credit. Written by ThreeStooges.net

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


IT JUMPS! IT JIVES! It rocks with red hot rhythm! (original poster) See more »


Comedy | Music | Romance | War


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Muggsy (Shemp Howard) is wearing the rank insignia (correct for the time this film was made) of First Sergeant in the Army, and by the hash marks on his left sleeve he has been in the Army for at least twelve years. See more »


Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree
Music by Sam H. Stept
Lyrics by Charles Tobias
Performed by The Andrews Sisters with Harry James and His Orchestra
See more »

User Reviews

Harry James and The Andrews Sisters, plus Bonnie-Belle Schlopkiss and Lancelot Pringle McBiff
27 January 2008 | by Terrell-4See all my reviews

Private Buckaroo, a high-energy, patriotic movie from 1942, has two uses now. The first is to show us the optimism of our elders as they readied themselves to support the troops fighting in WWII. Sure, the jokes are corny, but the musical numbers crank up the confidence with everything from "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree" to "Six Jerks in a Jeep." It's not a bad idea to now and then remind ourselves of what an older generation of Americans were facing.

The second use of the movie is to provide fodder for all those graduate students eager for an easy doctorate in "American Popular Culture," a phenomenon that proves, if the money is right, that American universities will offer degrees in just about anything.

The barest of plots has Harry James being drafted. Naturally, his whole orchestra signs up, too, including Lon Prentice (Dick Foran), his singer who has an attitude adjustment problem. We see the high-jinks of training, a romantic encounter that will serve to straighten Prentice out, and a big show just before the boys ship overseas. All this is just a clothesline to pin on at least 13 musical numbers, and The Andrews Sisters and Harry James do most of them. The comedy intermissions are several. To give you an idea of what Universal's writers were capable of, the three-way romantic laugh relief involves Bonnie-Belle Schlopkiss (a tall and emphatic Mary Wickes), Sergeant Muggsy Sharell (Shemp Howard, who was earlier and later became again one of the Three Stooges) and Lancelot Pringle McBiff (an odd incarnation of stand up comic Joe E. Lewis). Personally, I enjoyed most Huntz Hall as a corporal trying to teach James how to play reveille.

Although some people today can pass by The Andrews Sisters because of their style, particularly Patty Andrews' mugging, the three were expert at close harmony. They have six numbers; all are skillfully delivered with a great deal of verve. As far as Harry James goes, I can't think of a better way to open a movie than James and Helen Forrest giving us the full treatment of "You Made Me Love You." And in one showstopper we have The Jivin' Jacks and Jills, a group of dancing teen-agers formed by Universal to showcase the studio's young talent. The ten kids tap and leap all over the stage to "Apple Tree." The fact that the story line is almost non-existent and that romantic lead Dick Foran, who sounds a bit like a cross between Nelson Eddy and Dennis Morgan, has the personality of a cardboard box really doesn't matter at all.

Doctoral candidates, start writing your dissertation on "The Underlying Significance of B Movies on the Cultural Development of American Civilization During the Formative Years of World War Two, With an Emphasis on the Influence of Teen-Age Tap Dancers on the Defeat of the Axis."

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Release Date:

12 June 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Showsoldat James See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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