The canard of gobs on leave was ground to powder
before and after MGM's success with On The Town, every major's costume
department hung with sailor suits. You couldn't blame a public for presuming
any Navy man could sing and dance. All Ashore was Columbia's sailing vessel, manned by fading
names. Mickey Rooney had left Metro "by mutual consent" after pay
dropped to $25K per vehicle; he wrote later that Dore Schary was
embarrassed to keep him around for so little money, letting Mick go altogether
a better option. Tie-up with neophyte writer-director Richard Quine yielded a
series of Columbia-based projects for Mick, the first a service farce, Sound
Off,to which All Ashore would follow up. Rooney regarded Quine "like a
brother," and brought Blake Edwards to the creative mix. A little more
seasoning, which they'd have by the late 50's, and these two might have put
Mickey back on top.
Intandem with All Ashore were continued efforts
to put Rooney across on continuing TV, one pilot having stalled before Quine
fashioned another for NBC placement. That one sold, but only lasted a season.
All Ashore tendered Dick Haymes and Ray McDonald as Rooney shipmates, a
misjudged script leaving chump Mickey to mercy of louse Haymes and tag-along
McDonald. What was funny about a character so ill-treated as Rooney here? Age
32 was late to play goats, even as the one-time #1 boxoffice champ more or less
kept boyish appearance. All Ashore has advantage of Technicolor and Catalina Island as location site, the latter affording
glimpse of recreational high-life circa 1953. Vet of numerous Universal teen
musicals Peggy Ryan acquits well with song/dance; she was accustomed to budget
backdrop for performing. All Ashore led bills in smaller situations, supported
in others; a Chicago
first-run saw it in back seat to The Mississippi Gambler. Columbia took $697K in domestic rentals,
probably about what was expected. All Ashore is available as a very nice Columbia On-Demand DVD.
NOTE:Leonard Maltin is talking about Greenbriar and Showmen, Sell It Hot! at his INDIEWIRE columntoday.