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It's in the Bag! is a 1945 comedy film featuring Fred Allen in his only starring film role. The film was released by United Artists at a time when Allen was at the peak of his fame as one of the most popular radio comedians. The film has been preserved by UCLA Film & Television Archive.[citation needed]

It's in the Bag!
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRichard Wallace
Produced byGeorge R. Batcheller Jr.
Walter Batchelor
Jack H. Skirball
Written byIlya Ilf (novel Dvenadtsat Stulyev)
Yevgeni Petrov (uncredited) (novel Dvenadtsat stulyev)
Lewis R. Foster (treatment)
Fred Allen (treatment)
Jay Dratler
Alma Reville
Morrie Ryskind (special contribution)
StarringFred Allen
Jack Benny
William Bendix
Don Ameche
Rudy Vallee
Jerry Colonna
Robert Benchley
John Carradine
Sidney Toler
Victor Moore
Music byWerner R. Heymann
CinematographyRussell Metty
Edited byWilliam Morgan
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
21 April 1945
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1 million[1]

Characters and storyEdit

A flea circus ringmaster (Allen), Fred Floogle, has strange encounters as he searches for his inheritance, hidden in the seat of one of five chairs.

The film is loosely based on the comic novel The Twelve Chairs (1928) of Ilf and Petrov, later filmed by Mel Brooks as The Twelve Chairs (1970). The team of screenwriters included Jay Dratler, Alma Reville (wife of Alfred Hitchcock) and Morrie Ryskind.

Binnie Barnes plays Mrs. Floogle.

Cameo roles are filled by other radio actors who had already, or were beginning to, become known in movies, including Don Ameche, Rudy Vallee, William Bendix, Jerry Colonna, Robert Benchley, John Carradine, Sidney Toler.

For classic radio fans, the highlight of the film will be Floogle's encounter with Jack Benny, who at the time was involved with Allen in their famous 'feud', which ran for over a decade.

There is an alternate version of the film where Allen's voice periodically breaks in on the action with wisecracks a la the opening credits. This version obscures some of the on-screen dialogue, including the punchline. This version has aired on AMC.


Fred Allen - Fred F. Trumble Floogle

Jack Benny - Jack Benny

Don Ameche - Don Ameche

William Bendix - William Bendix

Victor Moore - Victor Moore

Rudy Vallee - Rudy Vallee

Binnie Barnes - Eve Floogle

Robert Benchley - Parker

Jerry Colonna - Dr. Greengrass - Psychiatrist

John Carradine - Jefferson T. Pike

Gloria Pope - Marion Floogle

William Terry - Perry Parker

Minerva Pious - Mrs. Pansy Nussbaum

Richard Tyler - Homer Floogle (as Dickie Tyler)

Sidney Toler - Detective Sully

George Cleveland - Busby - Hotel Manager

John Miljan - Mr. Arnold

Ben Welden - Monty - Bookie

Uncredited character actors alphabetically:

Johnny Arthur - Finley

Jack Baxley - Minister

Brooks Benedict - Headwaiter

Don Brodie - Reporter

Steve Brodie - Usher

John Brown - Joe, Nightclub Doorman

George Chandler - 1st Elevator Operator

James Conaty - Nightclub Patron

Don Costello - Mickey

Kernan Cripps - Police Turnkey

Mike Donovan - Movie Theatre Patron

Jay Eaton - Jeweler

Bess Flowers - Woman in Elevator, and in Floogle's Penthouse

Byron Foulger - Mr. Teckler

Edward Gargan - Chair Delivery Man

Jack Gargan - Movie Usher

Dick Gordon - Movie Theatre Patron

Frank Hagney - Nightclub Tough in Fight

Harry Harvey - Man in Nightclub Kitchen

Olin Howland - Dr. Greengrass's Doctor

Lloyd Ingraham - Frederick F. Trumble

Eddie Kane - Tailor

Kenner G. Kemp - Movie House Patron in Balcony

Mike Lally - Movie House Patron, and Cabbie

Rex Lease - Yacht Salesman

Mary Livingstone - Mary Livingstone (voice only)

Wilbur Mack - Nightclub Patron

Chief Many Treaties - Indian Chief

Thomas Martin - Penthouse Guest

Harold Miller - Nightclub Patron, and Wedding Guest

Bert Moorhouse - Jeweler / Wedding Guest

Horace Murphy - Officer

Forbes Murray - Elevator Rider

Roger Neury - Waiter

William H. O'Brien - Nightclub Waiter

Sarah Padden - Woman in Elevator

Emory Parnell - Mr. Buddoo

Jack Perrin - Policeman

Marshall Reed - Hood in Car

Dewey Robinson - Frogface

Matty Roubert - Elevator Boy in Theatre

Harry Semels - Chef

Dan Seymour - Fatso

Larry Steers - Nightclub Patron / Wedding Guest

Harry Strang - Diner

Charles Sullivan - Nightclub Tough in Fight

Phil Tead - Ninth National Bank Representative

Walter Tetley - 2nd Elevator Operator

Emmett Vogan - Man in Elevator

Harry von Zell - Phil

Max Wagner - Nightclub Tough in Fight

Dave Willock - Stratosphere Balcony Usher

Marek Windheim - Waiter


At the time of its release in 1945, Bosley Crowther of The New York Times said aside from Mr. Allen's comments on the credits at the beginning of the film, which are superlative spoofing and recommended to everyone, it was a "dizzy, bewildering picture" and "this rat's nest of nonsense defied the sober description of a comparatively rational mind". [2]

A more recent 3 out of 4 star favorable review by Leonard Maltin says "Story similar to THE TWELVE CHAIRS with flea-circus promoter Allen entitled to inheritance; plot soon goes out the window in favor of unrelated but amusing episodes, including hilarious encounter between Allen and Benny."[3]


  1. ^ "Indies $70,000,000 Pix Output". Variety: 3. 3 November 1944. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  2. ^
  3. ^

External linksEdit