Maisie Gets Her Man (1942) starring Ann Sothern, Red Skelton
She looks for a new job — and a pay phone — and runs into Rags Ragland, who points her toward a theatrical agency where she meets Leo Gorcey, as well as her co-star, Red Skelton as Hap Hixby, a would-be comedian. Hap’s corny routine turns Maisie off, especially after being the target of one of his pranks, and leaves in a huff.
Meet Pappy Goodring
However, she meets “Pappy” Goodring (Allen Jenkins) on the way out, who hires the out-of-work Maisie as his assistant. Pappy Goodring is the building manager, and he’s too kind-hearted for his own good — with many of his tenants being far behind on their rents. Maisie shows her worth by renting a new office space to Mr. Denningham, who sells mineral water. Pappy Goodring treats Maisie to lunch in a diner in the building, where Hap/Red catches up with Maisie, trying his corny best to impress her.
After blowing Hap off, Pappy Goodring gets into trouble with Mr. Stickwell — in turns out that the building is in the midst of bankruptcy, and he shouldn’t have hired anyone. Given that, she gets Pappy Goodring out of trouble, by accepting a job as Hap’s assistant — and hasn’t cost Pappy Goodring a penny. In fact, she has Hap rent an office in the building to use for rehearsals.
After two weeks, Hap and Maisie have their first performance together — despite Hap’s bravado, it will be his first public performance. In their office, Hap receives a letter from home … from Elsie, the girl that he’s engaged to. The audience is treated to Hap’s act, complete with corny jokes — but still funny — as they rehearse. That night, as Hap goes on stage for the first time, he has a massive case of stage fright, and the act bombs — badly. Hap runs off the stage, and is nowhere to be found. Mr. Denningham was in the audience, and he mentions to Maisie how fond he is of Hap, and how he’d be happy to have Hap work for him.
Back at the office, Maisie finally finds Hap safe and sound after searching all over Chicago. Hap is despondent, having had his dream shattered; after a discussion between the two, she has Hap phone Mr. Denningham, who offers him a position at the office. Hap accepts, and even gets Maisie as job there as well. The audience is then treated to a scene of Mr. Denningham, who’s making bathtub gin and bottling it as his “health water” — which both Hap and Maisie are unaware.
Denningham Sappire Water
At the offices of “Denningham Sapphire Water,” Mr. Denningham is selling stock in his company — and runs off to the bank to deposit the money. While he’s gone, Maisie and Hap go to eat at the diner, where they find that “Pappy” Goodring has lost the building to Mr. Stickwell. Maisie and Hap take the opportunity to talk to Mr. Stickwell in their offices — where Mr. Stickwell drinks some of their product, and Hap and Maisie come to realize what they’re selling. All three of them leave the offices drunk, where the inebriated Mr. Stickwell rehires Pappy.
While inebriated, Hap and Maisie realize that they’re in love, and Hap decides to break off his engagement with the girl back home. The next morning at the office, a now-sober Hap plans to call his fiancée back home and break up their engagement … Only for the fiancée and her mother to walk in, wanting to have the wedding that very day. A heartbroken Maisie walks out … and misses seeing the police arriving to arrest both Denningham and Hap.
Maisie goes back into show business, and is performing in Atlanta, where she sees Denningham. She calls Pappy, and finds out that Denningham was a crook, and that Hap has been arrested (but is out on bail). Maisie asks Pappy to contact the police in order to get Hap out of trouble … and it’s obvious that she still has feelings for Hap. She dances with Denningham, trying to convince him that she’s also a con artist, and brings him back to her hotel room, trying to detain Denningham while she waits for the police to arrive. Which they do — and promptly arrest Denningham, which should clear Hap’s name.
We next see Hap in the military, where he’s part of the group of soldiers being entertained by Maisie’s group — with Maisie as the star, singing “Cookin’ with Gas” — Hap hasn’t lost his sense of humor, and he joins her on stage after the number, focusing on Maisie instead of his stage fright, and explains that he joined the military after she got him out of the jam, and broke up with his hometown éefianc — and proposes to Maisie, who accepts. Hap joins her on stage for a slapstick finale in a reprise of “Cookin’ with Gas.”
Maisie Gets Her Man is a very enjoyable entry in the Maisie series, and I highly recommend it.
Funny quotes from Maisie Gets Her Man
Maisie Ravier (Ann Sothern): No, he ain’t no college professor, he’s a knife thrower!
Hap Hixby (Red Skelton): Don’t leave now, you’re missing the best part!
Maisie Ravier (Ann Sothern): Am I? That’s the first break I’ve had today!
Pappy Goodring (Allen Jenkins): [referring to Red Skelton] Friend of yours?
Maisie Ravier (Ann Sothern): Uh-uh. I take my corn with lima beans.
Hap Hixby (Red Skelton): He thinks I’m like the cross-eyed man who was arrested for burglary — he just looks crooked.
Hap Hixby (Red Skelton): Hey, why don’t you join my act? With your brains and my looks, we’d be a sensation. Just say the word.
Maisie Ravier (Ann Sothern): Just say the word.
Hap Hixby (Red Skelton): Just say the word …
Maisie Ravier (Ann Sothern): Uh-uh. I’ve always been a clean-spoken girl.
Hap Hixby (Red Skelton): You can’t quit show business! Vaudeville’s in your blood!
Maisie Ravier (Ann Sothern): In my blood? So that’s where it went.
Maisie Ravier (Ann Sothern): Oh, Hap, get out of the corn field.
Jasper: The blue plate special; it’s good today — it’s got meat in it.
Hap Hixby (Red Skelton) [inebriated]: Would you like me if I was stupid?
Maisie Ravier (Ann Sothern) [inebriated]: Well, don’t I?
Originally published at Red Skelton, used with permission