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Too Many Girls

Too Many Girls (1940), starring Lucille Ball, Richard Carlson, Desi Arnaz, Ann Miller, Eddie Bracken, Frances Langford, Hal Le Roy

Synopsis

Spoiled heiress Connie Casey (Lucille Ball) goes off to college. Unknown to her, her father secretly sends along four Ivy League football stars as her bodyguards. In no time, they turn tiny Pottawatomie U into a gridiron powerhouse! Fast-paced and funny, Too Many Girls is celebrated for its George Abbott-produced Broadway roots, its buoyant Rodgers and Hart score, and the movie debuts of three talents from the original stage version: Eddie Bracken, Van Johnson and Desi Arnaz. It’s also where Desi met the film’s leading lady, Lucille Ball.

Editorial review of Too Many Girls courtesy of Amazon.com

Frances Langford serenading the lovers (Lucille Ball and Richard Carlson) in Too Many Girls

Too Many Girls stars Arnaz as a South American athlete tapped by Princeton’s football team to join its squad. The one condition is that he remain undercover until the season begins, forcing him to forgo women. Half-mad from deprivation, he shrugs off Princeton’s heavy hand and agrees to join three football buddies hired to secretly chaperone a wealthy man’s willful daughter (Ball) to a small, co-ed college in New Mexico.

Ann Miller dancing the Spic and Spanish number in Too Many Girls

There the boys join the school’s football team and immediately make it a success; of course, they also pitch woo to some comely young ladies. The Rodgers and Hart score is enjoyable, with a couple of minor classics (“You’re Nearer” and “€œI Didn’t Know What Time It Was“). The best moment, however, is Arnaz and Ball’s very first scene together in what would become a historical partnership: Arnaz fainting at the sight of Ball, the first girl he’s seen in months.

Cast of characters

  • Connie Casey (Lucille Ball, I Love Lucy, The Long Long Trailer). Spoiled heiress off to a college that she really doesn’t want to attend. Her protective father hires four members of the football team as secret bodybuards to “protect” her. From other young men, falling in love, etc. No, seriously.
  • Clint Kelly (Richard Carlson, It Came from Outer Space, The Young in Heart). The football player/bodyguard who falls in love with Connie. But when she finds out he’s being paid, she leaves and heads back East. Causing the final act conflict, as the bodyguards follow her — leaving the team in the lurch.
  • Pepe (Ann Miller, Lovely to Look At, Texas Carnival). One of the young ladies on campus. She’s busy chasing boys, when not dancing.
  • Jojo Jordan (Eddie Bracken, We’re Not Married).
  • Eileen Eilers (Frances Langford, Yankee Doodle Dandy). Connie’s friend, sorority sister, and singer.
  • Manuelito (Desi Arnaz, I Love Lucy, Forever Darling). One of the four body guards, who’s busy pursuing every woman on campus. Not to mention singing, dancing, and drum playing. He actually introduces The Conga in this film.
  • Al Terwilliger (Hal Le Roy). Yale’s famous cross-country punter and safety man, one of the four body guards. Dancer as well.

Songs:

  • Heroes in the Fall (1939) Written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
  • You’re Nearer (1939) Written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
  • Potawatomine (1939) Written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
  • ‘Cause We Got Cake (1939) Written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
  • Spic ‘n’ Spanish (1939) Written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
  • Love Never Went to College (1939) Written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
  • Look Out! (1939) Written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
  • I Didn’t Know What Time It Was (1939) Written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
  • You’re Nearer (1939) Written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
  • Conga (1939) Written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
Publicity photo for Too Many Girls, with Ann Miller, Desi Arnaz, and Lucille Ball
Publicity photo for Too Many Girls, with Ann Miller, Desi Arnaz, and Lucille Ball

Trivia for Too Many Girls

  • Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz first met on the set of this movie. They married six months after the filming.
  • Film debut of both Desi Arnaz and Van Johnson.
  • Trudy Erwin dubbed Lucille Ball’s singing.
  • The $50 per week the guys are being paid to be bodyguards would equate to $850 per week in 2016.