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Monday, December 13, 2021

Republic's Hillbilly Hitchin' Post


Hoosier Holiday Will Always Belong To 1943


Country corn a-poppin' in this Republic bid for backwoods play, plus lower berths to be filled at urban sites. Hoosier Holiday was "another in a series of radio specials which the studio (Republic) has found lucrative in the hinterland bookings," said Variety, the studio's goal to serve first those theatres overlooked or ignored by the majors. Republic mined coin from homefront comedies, theirs an audience of increased radio listeners now that husbands and sons had left the hearth for combat. Popular enough air personalities could bring folks forth from home to see, in addition to hear, their favorites. Few of us know the Hoosier Hotshots, the Music Maids, or George D. Hay, aka "The Solemn Old Judge," but these were acts very much to be reckoned with in 1943, and combining them on a marquee was home listening's equivalent of a Grand Hotel (as to life being fair, or not, I checked availability of these acts on CD --- Amazon has plentiful Hoosier Hotshots, but nary a disc by the Music Maids). Moviegoing by the early 40's was first cousin to jukeboxes and radio, a Swing Era at its peak where every form of music got adapted to bandstand tempo. Many a downtown theatre went to stage show policy, movies less important than live performing of brassy instrumentals and song. Hoosier Holiday bled easily into this format to become mere extension of music performed live. The narrative couldn't matter less, something about farmer brothers seeking entree to battlefields, but persuaded they can serve Uncle Sam better by growing foodstuffs. To that add girl interest plus off-airwaves silliness toward fill-up of 65 minutes --- that is Hoosier Holiday in a nut shell, or more accurately, corn husk. If rarity is viewing criteria, Holiday fits well, being cast-off a half-century since TV runs diminished from early-50's release among "Jubilee Features" for syndication. Hoosier Holiday is owned now by Paramount, chances of their reviving it about a same as radio coming back to dominate home entertainment.

14 Comments:

Blogger Scott MacGillivray said...

The Hoosier Hot Shots (or Hotshots, in some posters) went on to appear in NATIONAL BARN DANCE for Paramount -- very much like HOOSIER HOLIDAY with its radio names, plus Robert Benchley (!). Columbia then signed the Hot Shots to headline a series of B-Western musicals, usually featuring Ken Curtis as the cowboy lead. These vary from very engaging to disappointing, but they were certainly successful at the boxoffice. Columbia made 15 of them through 1948, and brought a few back to theaters in 1955.

8:41 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

The Hoosier Hotshots and George D. Hay, "The Solemn Old Judge," would have been best known to listeners of, respectively, radio's NATIONAL BARN DANCE and GRAND OLE OPRY. I believe the Music Maids can be heard singing backup on a handful of early '40s Bing Crosby records and were regulars on his radio series around the same time. I half expected to see Judy Canova in the cast, but I suppose she was starring in her own features for Republic by this time.

I had a film collector friend who loved things like HOOSIER HOLIDAY, the Judy Canova's, and Paramount's NATIONAL BARN DANCE, but used to complain that they were hard as hen's teeth to find, at least in decent shape.

12:10 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

In the words of the Dixie Chicks, "Thank Heavens for Dale Evans". Love her - and she was especially alluring at Republic in the mid-40's. Terrific singer,too.The lady continued to record into the 1980's and still sounded good.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Reg Hartt said...

https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/245305510938797619/

2:24 PM  
Blogger William Ferry said...

Right as rain, Randy! The Music Maids (referred to by Bing as "The Mice") were indeed Crosby mainstays. They were often billed as The Music Maids and Hal, he being Hal Hopper, IIRC. One such example is Bing's record of "Clementine". Keeping to the Republic Pictures theme, part of Bing's vocal is, "Do I sound like Gene Autry, can he sue me, Clementine? "

2:37 PM  
Blogger Dave K said...

Many of us remember just a few years back when there was an authorized Paramount Youtube channel streaming a few dozen features, mostly 50's-60's era available for free viewing. Most of this was familiar stuff, but they did slip in some forgotten Republics like BARNYARD FOLLIES and ROSIE THE RIVETER, all looking like a million bucks (we're talking image and audio, not original budgets.) Were they testing the market?

2:56 PM  
Blogger lmshah said...


John, more than a "few" around here will or should know who the Hoosier Hotshots are, all serious Three Stooges fans will have seen them appearing with Larry, Curly and Moe in the 1945 Columbia feature ROCKIN' IN THE ROCKIES!

Believe it or not, I have a record album of the Hoosier Hotshots autographed by all of the then members from the time they appeared at one of our local County Fairs in the late 60's. I think they survived as a band into the late 70's. They were good musicians and a lot of fun.

RICHARD M ROBERTS ("Are you ready Hezzie?")

12:49 AM  
Blogger Filmfanman said...

I don't know about these Hoosiers, but it being December, 'tis the season when I listen to old-time radio Christmas shows, now available in abundance at various places on the Internet.
Somebody else's nostalgia it may be, but I like it too.

7:52 AM  
Blogger J Hall said...

There are a few Republic flicks floating around on iTunes and Amazon Prime for rental or purchase. JAMBOREE and ROSIE THE RIVETER (both 1944) with Ruth Terry, PUDDIN' HEAD (1941) with Judy Canova, YOKEL BOY (1942) with Joan Davis and 1940's BARNYARD FOLLIES with Mary Lee are all available.
Another fun early Republic available is 1935's $1,000 A MINUTE with Roger Pryor and Lelia Hyams. Supporting cast includes Ed Brophy, Sterling Holloway, Edgar Kennedy and Herman Bing.
My two favorite Republic pictures available are FAIR WIND TO JAVA (1953) and the "bonkers" ANGEL ON THE AMAZON from 1948.

4:06 AM  
Blogger E "Eddy" Edwards said...

Dear Greenbriar --

Don't dismiss the return of radio as a big-time in-home feature. It's coming back in gangbusters style only now labeled as "Podcasting." Pod, as in "pod people?" Kinda, but, hey, with everyone across the human spectrum carrying around with them devices delivering audio of quality that the engineers on Hoosier Holiday, would have given their left ear for, and production costs that -- even accounting for the differences in costs over the last 79 years -- are lower than that of Holiday, there's no reason for once-upon-a-time radio to NOT return in full force.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Marc J. Hampton said...


The Music Maids are in MGM's BROADWAY MELODY OF 1940....they are the act with those crazy hats that reprises "Begin The Beguine" in the middle of the finale.... before Astaire and Powell come out to do the famous top dance.

6:31 PM  
Blogger William Ferry said...

Thanks for the Music Maids ID, Marc! I never knew that!

10:43 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I am in the process of writing a book about Golden Age "Poverty Row" musicals. I've seen "Hoosier Holiday" and many of Republic's similar rural musicals ("O, My Darling Clementine," "Grand Ole Opry," "Hi Neighbor," "Jamboree"). I enjoyed the Hoosier Hot Shots -- and especially Dale Evans -- in "Hoosier Holiday."

Anybody out there have access to the Republic rurals "Village Barn Dance" or "Country Fair"? I haven't been able to track those down yet. Anyone with a tip can contact me at: bradleyedwin@sbcglobal.net

8:59 PM  
Blogger Filmfanman said...

Old-time radio can't return, as the circumstances in which it existed - no on-demand home video, in fact no TV available at all - won't be coming back.
However, present podcasts do show the popularity if not the commercial viability of audio-only information/entertainment formats; and the internet has also led to a revival of the short-film formats, which were almost completely lost from the cinemas after the widespread use of TVs.
The difference between then and now thanks to the internet is that distribution is no longer the bottleneck it once was.

10:47 AM  

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