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Meet the People

Meet the People(1944)

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Prior to its New York opening, Louis Lantz and Ben and Sol Barzman's play Meet the People was performed in Los Angeles. In the film, Paul Regan, who plays "Swanee's" friend "Buck," does several impersonations of celebrities, including Cary Grant, Ronald Colman and Henry Morgan. The "Shicklegruber" number features a comic impersonation of Benito Mussolini and a chimpanzee dressed like Adolf Hitler. (Schicklgruber was Hitler's father's real name.) In that number, an excerpt from the sextet from the opera Lucia di Lammermoor, music by Gaetano Donizetti, libretto by Salvatore Cammarano, is performed.
       Hollywood Reporter news items add the following information about the production: In late October 1941, M-G-M hired Francis Wallace to adapt the stage show, then in November 1942, assigned Hugo Butler to work on the screenplay. The contributions of these writers to the completed film has not been confirmed. In addition to writing the play, Ben and Sol Bartzman and Louis Lantz worked on a treatment for the picture. Although Victor Borge, Lena Horne and Nancy Walker were announced as cast members, they did not appear in the completed film. Robert Strickland, Beryl McCutcheon, Billy Engle, Eugene King, Gertrude Bennett, Margaret Bert, Frank Adams, Julian Smith, Sydney Troy, Margaret Adden, Jean Murray, singers Elsa and Eileen Nilsson, Dewey Robinson and Judy Clark were also announced as cast members, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. The following songs were written for the film, but were not used: "In Times Like These" by Sammy Fain and E. Y. Harburg; "Thank You, Columbus" by Burton Lane and Harburg; and "Song of the Bayou" by Rube Bloom. In March 1944, a 16mm version of Meet the People was shown to troops overseas before its U.S. release. June Allyson and Dick Powell, who married in 1945, performed together onscreen for the first time in this film.