Charlie McCarthy, Detective
Universal Pictures

Produced and
Directed by Frank Tuttle
Written by Edward Ediscu, Harold Shumate and Richard Mack
Story by Robertson White and Darrell Ware

Released December 20, 1939

     Cute picture, good songs.  A cops-and-robbers theme which has some laughs.  Charlie's monologues with Bergen are the high spots of the picture.

     The plot is a mélange of strange and convenient happenings for the scripters.  A magazine publisher is in cahoots with a gangster who proceeds to knock off those who cross the path of the publisher.  Bergen, entertainer at a swank night club, is invited to the home of the publisher for a party, and becomes involved in the eventual murder of his host.  While a rowdy fight goes on in the basement of the home, Bergen calmly picks up clues to eventually disclose the real murderer.

     Constance Moore, as night club entertainer, sings two tunes, both passable.  Supporting cast clicks and Edgar Kennedy and Warren Hymer hit some broad comedy antics, while Anne Gwynne provides suitable eye candy.


Edgar Bergen w/
Charlie McCarthy, Mortimer Snerd

Robert Cummings

Constnace Moore

Anne Gwynne

Jules Sutton

Louis Calhern

Edgar Kennedy



Edward Ediscu, Harold Shumate and Richard Mack- Writers

Robertson White & Darrell Ware- Story

Frank Tuttle- Producer/Director 

George Robinson- Cinematographer

Bernard Burton- Editor

Songs by: Sam Lerner, Ben Oakland, Eddie Cherkose, and Jacques Press

Full Storyline

Reporter Bill Banning and his pal, Joe Felton, are compiling evidence that links magazine publisher Arthur Aldrich to racketeer Tony Garcia when they are framed by Aldrich and jailed in Central America. Joe manages to escape and travels to New York, where he turns to Bill's fiancée, singer Sheila Stuart, and fellow writer Scotty Hamilton for help in freeing Bill. Before he can testify to the police, however, Joe is murdered and the authorities refuse to accept Scotty's story. Soon after, Bill escapes and decides to pay a visit to Aldrich. Learning of Bill's freedom, Aldrich summons Garcia to eliminate the reporter, and they all converge upon the Aldrich estate on the night of a big party. As Bill breaks into the house to confront Aldrich, Garcia stalks him. Two gun shots bring the assembled guests to Aldrich's room, where they find Aldrich's dead body.

Inspector Dailey of the police department is then summoned, and as he questions the partygoers about the night's events, suspicion points to Bill. Party guests ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his dummy, Charlie McCarthy, decide to undertake their own investigation while Garcia orders his gang to kidnap Bill and Sheila and bring them to the Club Gardenia. Edgar's hunch also leads him and Scotty to the Club Gardenia, where their appearance disrupts Garcia's plans, allowing Sheila and Bill to escape. As Garcia's men pursue the intruders through the bowels of the club, Edgar discovers a police officer who had been imprisoned by the gang, and sends him for reinforcements. While a fistfight rages in the club's basement, Edgar calmly pieces together the clues and deduces that Garcia's bullet missed Aldrich and that Scotty is the murderer. Overwhelmed by his guilt, Scotty confesses that he felt powerless against Aldrich's corruption and took the law into his own hands. When the police arrive to arrest Garcia for Joe's murder, Scotty confesses to Aldrich's murder, thus freeing Bill of all suspicion.


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