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Sorrowful Jones

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Sorrowful Jones (1949), starring Bob Hope and Lucille Ball
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Sorrowful Jones (1949), starring Bob Hope and Lucille Ball


New York bookie Sorrowful Jones takes a bet on Dreamy Joe from rotten gambler Orville Smith who leaves his young daughter, Martha, behind as collateral. When Orville overhears the horserace is fixed, he is killed by one of gangster Big Steve goons …

Buy from Amazon Sorrowful Jones  is a wonderful movie.   It’s based on a Damon Runyon story, a remake of Shirley Temple’s  Little Miss Marker. It stars Bob Hope  as the title character, Sorrowful Jones, a bookie, who  receives a young child as a gambler’s marker.   The villain of the film, Big Steve Holloway (played by Bruce Cabot) is trying to fix a horse race. And he kills the child’s father in order to keep the secret.  

This leaves Sorrowful Jones to raise the little girl. With help from his ‘former’ girlfriend, played by the wonderful  Lucille Ball.   Sorrowful Jones has to keep the child safe, stay out of the hands of the villain, and kidnap a horse and smuggle it into the hospital! It makes sense in the film — really.   One of the most touching moments in the film is when Sorrowful Jones has to teach the little girl to pray — truly precious, and the film is highly recommended.

Sorrowful Jones (Bob Hope) tries to recruit his ex-girlfriend Gladys (Lucille Ball)

Editorial review of Sorrowful Jones, courtesy of

Smuggling a horse into a hospital in Sorrowful Jones

A young girl is left with the notoriously cheap Sorrowful Jones as a marker for a bet. When her father doesn’t return, he learns that taking care of a child interferes with his free-wheeling lifestyle. Sorrowful must also evade crooked gangsters and indulge in a bit of horse-thieving.


Lucille Ball as the girlfriend of Sorrowful Jones


  • First of four feature films that  Bob Hope and  Lucille Ball made together (Sorrowful Jones,  Critics Choice, The Facts of Life, Mr. and Mrs.).
  • Lux Radio Theater broadcast a 60-minute radio adaptation of the movie on November 21, 1949 with Bob Hope and Lucille Ball reprising their film roles
  • The actual title of the original Damon Runyon story is “Markie; Little Miss Marker was the title of an earlier film adaptation.

Cast of characters

[Updated July 12, 2022]

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