Kay Kyser and his band including Ginny Simms, Harry Babbitt, Ish Kabibble and Sully Mason get a gig at a haunted mansion. The movie is a lot of fun especially with the presence of Bela Lugoai, Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre.
The movie opens with a segment from Kay Kyser’s radio show The College Of Musical Knowledge. After the show Kay’s manager Chuck Deems (Dennis O’Keefe) reminds him of their next gig. They’re booked to play at society girl Janis Bellacrest’s (Helen Parrish) twenty-first birthday party. She’s also Chuck’s girlfriend.
The band bus approaches the creepy mansion. The bridge is the only way in or out. It’s a dark and stormy night. The estate was owned by Janis’s late explorer father Elmer. Her guardian is her Aunt Margo who believes she can talk to the dead. She introduces Kay to family friend Judge Mainwaring (Boris Karloff).
Kay goes off into another room and meets the eerie Prince Saliano (Bela Lugosi). He tells Kay the house is haunted. Everyone goes upstairs. The lights go out. Janis screams after seeing a face at the window. When the lights come back on Kay spots a poison dart in the wall. It just missed him. Kay tells Chuck they’re outta there. Before he can tell Janis they’re leaving lightning strikes the bridge. No one is going anywhere.
Janis had asked Professor Carl Fenninger (Peter Lorre) to the house to expose Saliano as a fake to Margo. He got there before the bridge was hit. He admits to Janis that he was the face at the window. When Fenninger is left alone with Mainwaring it’s discovered the two are in a plan with Saliano to kill Janis for the inheritance she’ll get when she turns twenty-one. Saliano tried a couple of accidents earlier on with no success.
A seance is set up as a method of finally getting rid of Janis. A spiked chandelier is supposed to drop on her but she faints and that saves her. Kay suspects Saliano is behind the plot and enlists Fenninger to help him.
Later that night Kay and Chuck are ready to get some sleep. Kay is scared by a white object that swings back and forth. He and Chuck discover that it was the tail of Ish’s dog Prince. It’s covered with phosphorus. They follow the dog through a secret passage in the fireplace and after passing through a number of haunted house staples Kay finds out what’s really going on. Kay thinks a second seance will expose the plan. He gets Fenninger to set it up. He doesn’t know he’s helping the dastardly duo with their nefarious plan.
The movie has music, comedy, and is overall fun from beginning to end. Sure it’s corny but so what. It’s a good time at the movies.
The closing song, “I’d Know You Anywhere” was nominated for an Oscar. The winner was “When You Wish Upon A Star” from “Pinocchio.”
Ish Kabibble’s real name was Merwyn Bogue. He managed Kay Kyser’s band from 1931-1951.