» » Hollywood Victory Caravan (1945)

Short summary

A girl is desperate to get to Washington D.C. to be with her lonesome brother, a wounded G.I. But train travel is impossible just after the war. She pleads with an exasperated railroad agent for something, anything. He suggests she go to Paramount Pictures and talk to Bing Crosby, who is in charge of a Victory War Bonds show. The government has arranged a special caravan to Washington for the Hollywood stars. Maybe she could get a ride with them. The next morning, she arrives at the studio. She manages to get past the studio guard, who chases her around the lot. She encounters many stars, including Robert Benchley, Barbara Stanwyck and Alan Ladd. Finally, she meets Bing. The trouble is, if she wants Bing's upper berth, she will have to persuade Bob Hope to share his lower berth.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Arar
    Wonderful little Hollywood short, a time capsule filmed shortly after the end of WWII.

    Bond drives were a regular occurrence during the war years with many movie stars 'fee-lessly' donating their time and talent to promote the necessity of War Bonds, (An ingenious way for normal everyday people to 'back the attack' by helping to fund the war without putting too much strain on the government treasury). To illustrate the importance that movie stars played in bond drives, Carole Lombard was actually killed in a plane crash in 1942 while tirelessly dedicating herself to the War Bond cause.

    Every studio and every star wanted to do their part with all the big studio's producing either All-Star feature's such as Warner Brothers 'Thank Your Lucky Stars' and MGM's 'Thousand's Cheer' (Both 1943), or short patriotic reminder's such as this little Gem from Paramount.

    The message for this film had changed from "You buy a bond we make a bomb" into "You buy a bond and we can bring a GI back home" The BIG names who turned up to do very little for no payment just to support the cause are Barbara Stanwyck, Alan Ladd, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Dona Drake, Betty Hutton, Robert Benchley and a Warner Brother's star who on this occasion decided to arrive at the wrong studio, Humphrey Bogart, and it's good to see a few much missed yet lesser known character actors of the period as well such as William Demarest and the wonderful Franklin Pangborn.

    Yet again the producers give another diplomatic nod of the head to South America who had remained neutral throughout the hostilities while doing little or nothing else. This tribute is performed by Paramount contract actress Olga San Juan, who's Latino sounding name hardly distracted anyone from the fact that she was actually a blonde Brooklyn born babe.

    San Juan was on course to be Paramount's first post-war mega star, and it is likely that her inclusion was mainly for Paramount to market their new find because with San Juan's star on the rise, this short would give her some much needed exposure as this movie was distributed free of charge to most theatre's. Sadly, it wasn't to be as after her brilliant, (and I do mean brilliant), performance in Paramount's Variety Girl in 1947 (once again starring Hope & Crosby), the interest from the public was no longer there as tastes had noticeably changed since the war's end.

    San Juan made only a handful of movies in her short career and as the 1940's gave way to the 1950's she had slipped into celluloid obscurity in fact, had it not been for her near 30 year marriage to Edmond O'Brien, I doubt many would even remember her name, but whatever special something it took to be a movie star, boy did she have it.

    Hollywood Victory Caravan is a product of it's time dated it may be, but had it not been for the presence of the big names (most importantly Hope & Crosby), I very much doubt it would still be in existence, in fact it upsets me just thinking about how many of the countless movie shorts made in Hollywood's golden era, have already succumbed to either nature's elements or time's indifference. Thankfully this one has been preserved forever by being included on the 'Road To' movies Box set as part of the special feature's on Road To Utopia, so people of a younger generation such as myself can see and hopefully enjoy this long forgotten time-warp into Hollywood past. Enjoy!
  • comment
    • Author: Mavegelv
    This 20 minute post-war short was included on "Road to Utopia" DVD with Hope/Crosby. Apparently made AFTER the end of the second world war (some of the lyrics are "the bonds we bought before bought the bomb that won the war" ), this shortie was one of the "buy the war-bonds" propaganda films shown in theaters around the US. It DOES have a wagon-load of big shots - Hope/Crosby do a comedy bit with a little bit of story line, Betty Hutton does a dance number with a dance troupe, along with appearances by others like William Demarest, Barbara Stanwycke, and tons of others. Its a little slice of entertainment history, but unfortunately, the sound quality on some of the numbers is just TERRIBLE. Carmen Cavallaro does "I've got Rhythm" on the piano, but the recording quality is quite bad. Humphrey Bogart gets up to say he's not going to give a speech, then gives a speech on why its important to buy bonds to bring the soldiers home. Also the "Matumba" number by Olga San Juan has more static and distortion than melody. Those problems aside, its fun to see a little chunk of history. Turner Classic Movies frequently shows these short films in between the major films, but you never know when they are going to be shown, so its very hit or miss.
  • comment
    • Author: Samulkis
    Hollywood VICTORY CARAVAN was produced by the United States Treasury Department in 1945 for that years Victory Loan Drive. It was filmed on the Paramount lot and utilized Paramount contractees (in front of and behind the camera),primarily on the sets of whatever film they were currently working on at Paramount, with the exception of Humphrey Bogart , Disney's Joe Carioca and the U.S. Maritime (Service Training Station) Choir.

    This fund-raising short was distributed through the various film exchanges of all of the major studios, and not just 20th Century-Fox(with the correct hyphen), and was made available to the theatre exhibitors free gratis.

    The advertised cast on the one-sheet poster was shown in this specific order: Robert Benchley - Humphrey Bogart (first line)

    • Joe Carioca and His Latin-America Music - Carmen Cavallaro and His Orchestra (2nd line)

    Bing Crosby

    William Demarest - Dona Drake

    Bob Hope

    Betty Hutton-Alan Ladd

    Diana Lynn-Barbara Stanwyck

    U.S. Martime Service Training Station Choir ...and many others

    Yes, I know Joe Carioca was a parrot. I also know this wasn't a documentary. And that about the only original footage was that of Benchley and Bogart.
  • comment
    • Author: Goltizuru
    This is an interesting little short that fans of Hollywood's golden era will really enjoy. It's a propaganda film much like "Hollywood Canteen" except for two big differences. First, it's short. Second, it was actually made for the post-war era. In other words, the war was just won and the purpose of this final bond rally was to gather the money to bring the troops home and send the needy vets to military hospitals for rehabilitation.

    The film begins with a lady begging the man in charge of allocating spaces on trains (Franklin Pangborn)--which were at a premium at this time. He can't help her but feels sorry for the lady and suggests she ask Bing Crosby if she can ride on the train with the Hollywood types who are headed East for a Victory Bond rally. Naturally, all the folks on the Paramount lot (except for the guard--played by William Demarest) are more than glad to help because they are all gosh-darn patriotic and swell.

    The film features lots of neat cameos--from the likes of Barbara Stanwyck, Alan Ladd, Bob Hope, Betty Hutton and Bing Crosby. Oddly, you also see Humphrey Bogart who was a Warner Brothers star. I assume he was on the Paramount lot on loan--otherwise all the folks are Paramount regulars. Well worth seeing just for these supposedly behind the scene looks at the stars.
  • comment
    • Author: Gann
    Betty Hutton is the star of this film as she steals the show with her dancing. Although she is not the lead actress, she applies herself to her dancing with abandon and commitment. You can see that she is talented and enjoying every moment of what she is dancing. She is genuinely happy, and you don't see that expression in her face where it looks as though the happiness is going to die in her eyes. This is pure unadulterated Betty Hutton doing what she does best. She even outshines Barbara Stanwyck in her cameo appearance. And to confirm Hutton's talent, she is dancing in a trio, but your eyes are focused on her. The choreography of the whole dancing sequence is sensational.
  • comment
    • Author: YSOP
    This short was made after World War II and was a public service ad to make sure the theatre audience bought some more war bonds to help send soldiers home. It depicts a young woman wanting to see her brother who was laid in a hospital recovering. Since this was produced by Paramount, many of the studio's stars are in this one-Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Alan Ladd, Diana Lynn, Barbara Stanwyck, and Betty Hutton doing her energetic song-and-dance with many other uniformed ladies. Hope does his jokes as does Bing before he sings his song. Oh, there's also one star from another Studio here-Humphrey Bogart from Warner Bros. And an obscure singer named Olga San Juan. One more thing, there's a couple of familiar character players-William Demarest and Franklin Pangborn. Okay, I think I've mentioned everyone so on that note, Hollywood Victory Caravan is worth a look for anyone who like these vintage films from a bygone era.
  • comment
    • Author: Quellik
    I do so love the wartime musicals either full feature films or shorts. Where today could you gather so much talent under one roof for a brief 20 minute short subject?

    Paramount put this one together and since it's Paramount of course Bing Crosby and Bob Hope the greatest Frenemies in history head the list. Betty Hutton and Carmen Cavallaro as well as Bing contribute their musical talents.

    Wartime priorities being what they are you have William Demarest doubling as a studio cop and Franklin Pangborn as one flustered ticket agent.

    Before Bing does the finale Humphrey Bogart visiting from Warner Brothers makes the final pitch in 1945 for that last war bond to buy.

    Must have worked the war was won.
  • Credited cast:
    Robert Benchley Robert Benchley - Robert Benchley
    Humphrey Bogart Humphrey Bogart - Humphrey Bogart
    Carmen Cavallaro Carmen Cavallaro - Pianist / Orchestra Leader
    U.S. Maritime Service Training Station Choir U.S. Maritime Service Training Station Choir - Maritime Service Choirs
    Bing Crosby Bing Crosby - Bing Crosby
    William Demarest William Demarest - Bill, the Security Guard
    Dona Drake Dona Drake - Dona Drake
    Ted R. Gamble Ted R. Gamble - National War Finance Director
    Bob Hope Bob Hope - Bob Hope
    Betty Hutton Betty Hutton - Betty Hutton
    Alan Ladd Alan Ladd - Alan Ladd
    Diana Lynn Diana Lynn - Diana Lynn
    Noreen Nash Noreen Nash - Noreen Nash
    Franklin Pangborn Franklin Pangborn - Railroad Agent
    Olga San Juan Olga San Juan - Olga San Juan
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