Haunted House (1940)

haunted house 1940

Aimed straight at the teenage market that was into The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew type books.  The movie does not talk down to its target audience and that means an entertaining story. Two teens are out to prove a man innocent of murder and from keeping a date with the chair.

Olaf Jensen is a kindly Swedish farmhand at Mary Blake’s place. He’s on trial for her murder after money was found in his room. Jimmie Atkins (Jackie Moran) is an office boy at the local paper and dreams of being a hot shot reporter. The publisher, Albert Henshaw, is tired of hearing Jimmie rant about it and tells him to stick to his job.

Into Jimmie’s life walks Mildred Henshaw (Marcia Mae Jones). She’s Albert’s teenage niece in town for the summer.  Before driving her home Jimmie takes her to the courthouse where they can look through a window at the trial. It doesn’t take long for Mildred to dislike the D.A. and think that Olaf is innocent.

Jimmie is sent to Albert’s to get his glasses. Mildred jumps in his car and asks to be taken for a ride. The car runs out of gas and Jimmie has to push it into a gas station owned by Eph, the late Mary’s nephew. Rufus Tyler pulls into the station and asks Eph if he left his gas cap there. The conversation sparks Jimmie and Mildred into thinking that Eph murdered his aunt for her money.

They get the bright idea to break Eph’s alibi. They invite Rufus, Eph and Charlie, the owner of a Chinese restaurant to Jimmie’s grandmother’s house where Jimmie lives. Eph says he was at Charlie’s at the time of the murder but Charlie says he was closed that night. Jimmie gets Albert to come and join the crowd so he can present his evidence. Grandma remembers that Eph was at her place that night to get some money she owed him. That’s proof that Eph is innocent. Now everyone is mad at Jimmie. Eph threatens a lawsuit and Jimmie is fired.

Before Jimmie clears out anything he has at the paper,attorney Cy Burton (Henry Hall) asks him to deliver some papers to his clerk Simkins at his office. Outside the office Jimmie recognizes the note paper as the same kind Olaf used for his alibi. They go to the jail and talk with him. Now they’re sure Burton wrote a note to Olaf to keep him away from the farm.

Jimmie and Mildred are off on the trail that could put them in even bigger trouble than before. Part of the solution lies in Mary’s deserted farm house. No surprise when they go there to investigate it’s a dark and stormy night.  The word ghost is mentioned but the place isn’t haunted so the movie title is a stretch.

Still this is a good movie and parents of the day could sit through it without being bored and enjoy it right along with their kids.

After retiring from acting in 1947 Jackie Moran wrote some soft core movies such as “Wild Gals Of The Naked West” in 1962.

Marcia Mae Jones had a long carer and appeared in a number movies as well several episodes of TV shows.

Marcia Mae Jones-Jackie Moran

Marcia Mae Jones-Jackie Moran


About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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