29 November 2004 | bkoganbing
Where the elite meet to eat
Ed Gardiner, creator and star of popular radio show Duffy's Tavern took the act to the silver screen at the end of World War II and Paramount provided him with an all star cast in support. Every studio had those all star cast variety shows at some point during the World War II years, some studios made more than one. I must admit I'm a sucker for them, so there's no way I could give this a bad review. Especially with the
guest stars headed by America's number one star at the time, Bing Crosby.
The plots of these extravaganzas were always paper thin. In this case Victor Moore owns a record factory and World War II, material and price controls have left him without shellac needed to produce those 78 rpms. Also the war has stripped him of his labor force. But the guys are
back from the war, but Moore has no money to open the factory and no shellac. His recently discharged from the service employees are eating and drinking on credit at Duffy's Tavern, managed by inimitable and resourceful Archie played by Ed Gardiner.
Taverns have always been a great source for comedy and drama of all kinds throughout the centuries. You could go all the way back to Shakespeare with Sir John Falstaff and Prince Hal and their boon drinking companions. Or for drama, what better than Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh. Or in a lighter vein, William Saroyan's The Time of Your Life.
But Duffy's ain't that kind of a joint. Archie is part bartender, philosopher, with a touch of reprobate in him. We never see Mr. Duffy, but Archie reported in to him by phone several times during a given radio show. The bar is populated with a usual crew of characters who Archie comiserates with once a week. Archie's command of the English language is only equaled by Leo Gorcey's. I'm sure Gorcey must have studied under him.
So Ed Gardiner and Victor Moore set about to get the factory running and the men back to work. They have a master recording of Bing Crosby which should do the trick. A whole bunch of stars including Crosby, are staying at a hotel in New York where Moore's daughter Marjorie Reynolds is a switchboard operator.
If you can't figure the rest of this out, you ain't seen too many films from the forties.
Duffy's Tavern ran for years on radio. Ed Gardiner tried to take it to television, but it didn't succeed there. Strange because so many TV shows like Archie Bunker's Place, Jackie Gleason's Joe the Bartender sketches and George Carlin's show from a few years ago owe the format to what Gardiner did on radio.
A great place Duffy's Tavern, a place where Archie liked to say, "where the elite meet to eat."