Who Done It? (1942)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Farce, Slapstick, Whodunit  |   Release Date - Nov 6, 1942 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 77 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

With only a minimal romantic subplot and no music whatsoever, Who Done It? is pure, undiluted Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, and a good mystery on its own to boot. Bud and Lou star as Chick Larkin and Mervyn Milgrim, a pair of soda jerks who aspire to become radio detective-show writers (their latest epic is "The Midget Gets the Chair-or, Small Fry"). Invited by their radio-scrivener pal Jimmy Turner (Patric Knowles) to attend a broadcast of the "Murder at Midnight" program, Chick and Mervyn are on hand when network president Colonel Andrews (Thomas Gomez) is murdered just before delivering a vital patriotic message. While waiting for the official police to show up, Chick and Mervyn decide to try to solve the case on their own, thereby securing their reputations as writers. The boys manage to convince everyone-even the real killer-that they're genuine gumshoes, only to be exposed when the real cops, Moran (William Gargan) and Brannigan (William Bendix) arrive on the scene. Ultimately, the murderer is revealed, leading to an exciting rooftop chase, with poor Mervyn suspended between two skyscrapers on a slender electrified wire. The comic highlights of Who Done It? are too numerous to mention here, but they include Mervyn's misadventures in the radio-transcription room, his confrontations with a wise-guy page boy (Walter Tetley), his "Not watts, volts!" exchange with the exasperated Chick, and an athletic interlude with those world-famous tumblers, the Flying Bordellos (sic!). Best bit: Upon winning a quiz program, the boys eagerly turn on their prize, a portable radio--only to turn it off in disgust when Abbott and Costello sign on the air ("Every time you hear those guys, it's 'Who's on First-What's On Second!'")



detective, friendship, investigation, killing, murder, President, radio-broadcaster, soda-jerk, writing