Having Wonderful Time

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Having Wonderful Time
Having Wonderful Time.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Alfred Santell
James Anderson (assistant)
Produced by Marc Connelly
Written by Morrie Ryskind
Ernest Pagano
Screenplay by Arthur Kober
Based on Having Wonderful Time
1937 play
by Arthur Kober
Starring Ginger Rogers
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
Lucille Ball
Eve Arden
Richard "Red" Skelton
Music by Roy Webb
Cinematography Robert De Grasse
Edited by William Hamilton
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date
July 1, 1938
Running time
70 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $966,000[1]
Box office $1,008,000[1]

Having Wonderful Time is a 1938 romantic comedy film released by RKO Radio Pictures.

Plot summary[edit]

Bored New York office girl Teddy goes to a vacation camp in the Catskill Mountains called Camp Kare Free, for rest and to get away from the noisy, busy, city life and avoid advances from Emil. She meets and at first does not like waiter Chick. She also meets friend Fay, her roommate Miriam, and Buzzy. Miriam has eyes for Buzzy, who seems to have eyes for everyone. Within her two-week stay, Teddy and Chick fall in love and spend every day together.

One night Teddy becomes angry with Chick and leaves him to go to a party where she meets up with Buzzy. A storm rolls in and Buzzy invites her to his cabin, which he rents by himself. Initially refusing and wanting to be with friends, Teddy sees Chick at the party and asks Buzzy to go to his cabin. At the cabin she tells Buzzy she isn't interested but loves to play backgammon. Chick rushes in to save Teddy but becomes embarrassed when he sees the innocent board game. He returns to the party and waits there to talk with Teddy when she returns home. Teddy accidentally falls asleep at Buzzy's cabin and stays overnight.

While trying to sneak out the next morning Teddy is spotted leaving by Miriam. Emil shows up to drive Teddy back to the city and the two sit down to eat, with Chick as their waiter. All three of them overhear Miriam yelling at Buzzy for having Teddy stay overnight. Chick goes on a punching spree and chases after Teddy out of the restaurant. The two reconcile and plan their married life.


Broadway play[edit]

The film was based on the play of the same name, as was the 1952 musical Wish You Were Here. (The play's title has quotation marks around it to reflect the custom of vacationers sending letters and picture postcards to keep friends and family informed of their activities.) Produced by Marc Connelly, it had its original Broadway run at the Lyceum Theatre from 20 February 1937 to 8 January 1938.[2]

Character name changes[edit]

In the play the characters are Jewish and have names to reflect their heritage. The Johnson-Reed Immigration Act of 1924 is widely accepted in legal-historical circles as an example of the blatant attempts to stem the large amount of Jewish immigration that began around 1880. The studio, anticipating that the impact of the rising tide of Antisemitism in mid-20th century America would make the movie less likely to succeed in parts of the country where Jews were less commonly found, pro actively changed the characters' Jewish-sounding names for the movie version. This action, taken to have the film appeal to a wider general audience still failed, apparently, as the film lost over $265,000. Among the names changed for the movie version:

  • Teddy Stern became Teddy Shaw
  • Chick Kessler became Chick Kirkland
  • Fay Fromkin became Fay Coleman
  • Mac Finkle became Mac Pangwell
  • Itchy Flexner became Itchy Faulkner

Also, the characters Henrietta Brill and Miriam Robbins had their last names dropped in the movie credits.

Release information[edit]

The film recorded a loss of $267,000.[1]

The film was released on VHS by Nostalgia Home Video and re-released on Region 1 DVD in 2005. Both releases are currently out of print. In July 2009, the film became available on DVD-R by the Warner Archive.


  1. ^ a b c Richard Jewel, 'RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951', Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol 14 No 1, 1994 p57.
  2. ^ Sixteen Famous American Plays, New York: Modern Library, 1941. 679-80. Print.

External links[edit]