GHOSTS ON THE LOOSE (1943)
Article 1857 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-15-2006
Posting Date: 9-12-2006
Directed by William Beaudine
Featuring Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Bobby Jordan
The East Side Kids decide to help clean up a house for Glimpy’s newly married sister and her husband, and end up at the house next door, a supposedly haunted house actually peopled by Nazi propagandists.
This is the last of Bela Lugosi’s nine Monogram movies that I’ve gotten around to cover for this series, and among Lugosi fans, it is often considered his least interesting. And indeed it is; Bela Lugosi is barely in it and is given little to do; his most memorable moment involves the utterance of what surely sounds like a four-letter word during a sneeze. Nor do Frank Moran or Minerva Urecal (who both appeared with Lugosi in THE CORPSE VANISHES ) have much to do, either. Furthermore, the title is a cheat; there are no ghosts to be found, and the sequence of the movie involving the Kids being frightened in a haunted house is short, mild, and scareless. It’s no surprise that SPOOKS RUN WILD is the more popular Bela Lugosi / East Side Kids collaboration.
As an East Side Kids movie, though, it passes muster. I like the scene where some of the boys manage to get hold of a flower display without “stealing” it, there’s an amusing little reference to producer Sam Katzman, and I do find it highly amusing that a pre-stardom Ava Gardner is here playing Huntz Hall’s sister. Leo Gorcey is flirting a little with malaprops here as well. Serial fans will recognize Wheeler Oakman as one of Lugosi’s henchmen; in fact, he might have ended up with more dialogue than Lugosi did.