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  • lzf030 July 2004
    Following fine supporting roles in "Step Lively", RKO decided to push Wally Brown and Alan Carney as their answer to Abbott and Costello. Brown and Carney were a comedy team created by RKO. Their success together is pure luck. Brown was to be the "Abbott" character, with Carney as "Costello". But Brown and Carney have personalities of their own. Wally Brown is an unsuccessful con man who can sing a little. Carney, who uses the catch phrase "You don't like me", is a rubber faced impressionist. Brown is high energy, while Carney is lethargic. However, Brown does not try to take advantage of Carney. They are on the same side doing battle with the rest of the world. "Adventures of a Rookie" and its sequal "Rookies in Burma" are "Buck Privates" rip offs. RKO was not the only studio trying to cash in on the success of "Buck Privates". Fox attempted to do this by redefining Laurel and Hardy in "Great Guns" and Warners put together the unlikely team of Phil Silvers and Jimmy Durante for "You're in the Army Now". I can't blame the studios. "Buck Privates" was a huge hit. Why not cash in on that? The "Rookies" pictures are only for die hard comedy fans who wish to see another turn on Abbott and Costello.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Poor man's answer to Abbott and Costello. Leslie Goodwins directs Wally Brown and Alan Carney as a couple of Army Privates in this low-budget RKO comedy. Jerry Miles(Brown) and Mike Strager(Carney)are a couple of GIs on leave and wrangle invitations to a dinner party at a female boarding house. It seems the cook falls ill with scarlet fever causing the house to be quarantined. Bumbling soldiers with a house full of perky women...innocent enough. Funny? Well...I guess so. Brown and Carney honed their comedy in vaudeville and ended up making a couple more inexpensive money makers for RKO. Other cast members: Richard Martin, Margaret Landry, Patti Brill and Erford Gage.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When the highlight of any movie, especially a comedy, comes within the first 20 minutes and consists of two "fair to midlin'" impressions by one actor of another (Edward G. Robinson and Charles Laughton, in this case), you probably ought to skip it.

    This humorless Wally Brown-Alan Carney film was directed by Leslie Goodwins. The story and adaptation were co-written by someone who went on to receive two Academy Award nominations for Writing, William Bowers, though they were for dramas not comedies.

    It's about three persons from different walks of life who are brought together when they were drafted by the Army during World War II. Two of the boot camp rookies, played by Brown and Carney (who does the impressions), are goof balls to one straight, played by Richard Martin, and their Sergeant (Erford Gage, who will remind you of Mark Metcalf's Doug Niedermeyer in Animal House (1978)). Though I don't really care for the "Three Stooges" humor, I much prefer it to this poor attempt at imitating it.

    Jerry Miles (Brown) is in show business when he gets his draft notice; Mike Strager (Carney) is a truck driver in a loading line when he gets his; and Bob Prescott (Martin) is playing the piano. There are the usual, comic mishaps one has seen done better in films like Buck Privates (1941), and then we learn that Prescott's uncle is a colonel (James Hamilton, uncredited, notable character actor also known as Perry White on TV's Superman) on the base.

    Since Prescott had the highest score on the entry aptitude tests, he's applied for officer's training, but his association with Miles and Strager continually jeopardizes his future. Soon the three find themselves on leave, being picked up by the lovely Peggy Linden (Rita Corday) for a dinner party at her home.

    Miles meets Patsy (Patti Brill), Prescott gets to know Peggy, while the chubby Strager is left to holding an egg through a door and its jam (don't ask). When a doctor (Henry Roquemore, uncredited) arrives to check on the cook and mis-diagnoses her condition as "Scarlet Fever", Mr. Linden (Byron Foulger, uncredited) returns to find that his home has been quarantined. Of course, Sergeant Burke doesn't believe his men when they call him, so he comes to the house and is told he can't leave it for two weeks either. Pat O'Malley appears, uncredited, as a policeman. Fortunately (?), the doctor corrects his error so that "we" can witness some more adventures.

    Next the "boys" find themselves A.W.O.L. (Absent WithOut Leave) in San Francisco, some 60 miles from where their training maneuvers are taking place. After some misadventures on the docks (in which you will see William Haade and Tom Kennedy, uncredited), and then in an Army hospital, they make their way back to Sergeant Burke & company.

    There isn't much more except for the film's horrific ending in which these three "soldiers" are actually shown to be part of group of men being sent to fight the enemy ... now that's really NOT funny!

    Thankfully, the film runs little more than an hour. Unfortunately, it's followed by a sequel Rookies in Burma (1943).
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Wally Brown and Alan Carney, the poor man's Abbott and Costello, play a pair of bumbling GI's (What else?) who, after causing chaos in basic training, somehow get invited to a party where the cook comes down with scarlet fever, causing the entire household to be quarantined. When the funniest part of a comedy comes in the first twenty minutes with the fat guy (Carney) doing impressions of Robinson and Laughton, it's best to turn it off right there and then. A rich playboy type (right out of Abbott and Costello's Buck Privates) befriends the boys and later accompanies them on their misadventures. If you feel you must, the best time to watch this is at three in the morning with a bottle of whiskey at your side. That way, when you awaken the next morning you can convince yourself that it was all a dream brought on by too much booze.
  • The Adventures of a Rookie (1943)

    * 1/2 (out of 4)

    RKO's attempted cash-in on Abbott and Costello's BUCK PRIVATES was the first film to feature the comic team of Wally Brown and Alan Carney. In the film they meet at an Army boot camp and soon they get mixed up in all sorts of trouble. Along for the ride is another soldier (Richard Martin) who keeps getting caught up in their hijacks. THE ADVENTURES OF A ROOKIE will probably drive many viewers to a depressed state and I think a lot of it is going to depend on how well you handle Brown and Carney. The duo made seven films together and they weren't successful when originally released and it seems they haven't gained too many fans in the decades that followed. I've actually enjoyed a couple of their horror spoofs (ZOMBIES ON Broadway, GENIUS AT WORK) but it's hard to find anything good to say about this film. At just 64-minutes the film seems to drag on for hours and I really did get the feeling a couple times that it was never going to end. The biggest problem is that there's no screenplay to think of. It's as if RKO was just wanting any comic team in any Army movie so that they could jump on the success of BUCK PRIVATES. The military jokes are all lame and most of the situations simply aren't funny. There's a running gag of a joke about two cars going to Chicago that is old on the first telling and yet it just keeps coming up. Brown and Carney are clearly still not overly used to working with one another as their timing is off and there's just not a good mix going on. THE ADVENTURES OF A ROOKIE is one of the worst examples of a military comedy out there.
  • With Universal's "Buck Privates" (1941) raking in the dough, RKO drafts funny straight man Wally Brown (as Jerry Miles), handsome heir Richard Martin (as Bob Prescott), and rotund truck driver Alan Carney (as Mike Strager) to do Abbott & Costello one better. The attraction of pretty Margaret Landry (as Peggy Linden) to Mr. Martin lead the trio to a social at her home. When Ms. Landry's maid comes down with scarlet fever, the men are happily quarantined in her all-girl boarding house. So that his men lose no training time, drill sergeant Erford Gage (as Burke) follows his recruits there. Later, the trio of draftees must escape from a hospital and rejoin their camp.

    **** The Adventures of a Rookie (8/43) Leslie Goodwins ~ Wally Brown, Allan Carney, Richard Martin, Erford Gage
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Even though the Abbott and Costello film "Buck Privates" was two years old when this was released, it was the prototype for what every military comedy strive to be. This second string military comedy features are RKO's brief imitators of Abbott and Costello, Alan Carney and Wally Brown, who were somewhat talented in their own right but would suffer inevitable comparisons to Universal's box office gems just as Olsen and Johnson were. the team tries to do everything that Abbott and Costello did but at three times the speed, and that makes the comedy often forced and corny. One the boys does imitations of Edward G Robinson and Charles Laughton which do create some brief chuckles.

    What is here in the brief running time of 66 minutes is basically a series of sketches where the two clowns, drafted into the Army against their will, create chaos and end up quarantined in the home of a local social light and then somehow end up on special assignment at a San Francisco base we're all of a sudden they are on a boat heading to active duty. God help their sergeant and any of the other troops around them! There's nobody familiar in the supporting cast even worth mentioning, but somehow this managed to have a sequel, rookies in Burma, which is basically more of the same and half a star less in my rating.
  • As other reviewers have noted, "The Adventures of a Rookie" is RKO Studio's attempt to create their own Abbott & Costello-like comedy. There were two problems with this....Wally Brown and Alan Carney. The duo simply weren't very funny...and it didn't help that the writers were apparently sleepwalking through the scriptwriting process. There were barely any laughs in the picture...and sticking so close to the plot of "Buck Privates" (Abbott & Costello's first major hit movie) was just lazy.

    Jerry (Brown) and the cretinous Wally (Carney) are drafted into the army. While Jerry is dim, he's at least human. As for Wally, he makes Lou Costello look like a Rhodes scholar by comparison. Through the course of the film they drive their sergeant crazy as well as befriend a nice guy and thereby ruin his life.

    The bottom line is that the film is watchable but not much more. It lacks pretty much everything you want in a wartime comedy....and it's obvious why Brown & Carney are pretty much forgotten today.