In the Navy (film)

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In the Navy
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Arthur Lubin
Produced by Alex Gottlieb
Written by Arthur T. Horman
John Grant
Starring Bud Abbott
Lou Costello
Dick Powell
The Andrews Sisters
Music by Charles Previn
Edited by Philip Cahn
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • May 27, 1941 (1941-05-27)
Running time
85 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $379,207.42[1]
Box office $2 million (est.)[2]

In the Navy is a 1941 film starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello. It was the second service comedy based on the peacetime draft of 1940. The comedy team appeared in two other service comedies in 1941, before the United States entered the war: Buck Privates released in January and Keep 'Em Flying released in November.


Popular crooner Russ Raymond (Dick Powell) abandons his career at its peak and joins the Navy using his real name, Tommy Halstead. However, Dorothy Roberts (Claire Dodd), a reporter, discovers his identity and follows him in the hopes of photographing him and revealing his identity to the world.

Aboard the battleship Alabama, Tommy meets up with Smoky (Bud Abbott) and Pomeroy (Lou Costello), who help hide him from Dorothy, who hatches numerous schemes in an attempt to photograph Tommy/Russ being a sailor. Pomeroy is in love with Patty, one of The Andrews Sisters, sends her numerous fan letters, and tries to impress her with false tales of his physique and his naval rank. Eventually, Patty discovers that Pomeroy is only a baker, and Pomeroy spends much of the movie attempting to win her affection.



After Buck Privates became a huge hit, the studio rushed Abbott and Costello into a second service comedy. In the Navy was filmed from April 8, 1941 through May 9, 1941.[3] This was actually after the team had already completed Hold That Ghost. The latter was held back for revisions and the naval comedy was released as the team's second starring vehicle.[3]

There was, however, one problem before it could be released: when the film was screened for the Navy, officers were offended by the sequence where Pomeroy (Costello) impersonates a captain and puts the battleship through a series of madcap maneuvers. Since the sequence was the climax of the film, it could not be edited out. The studio solved the problem by making the sequence Pomeroy's dream. This caused the film to go over its original budget of $335,000.[3]

Portions of the film were shot in the Coachella Valley, California.[4]


Abbott and Costello perform the "Lemon Bit," a crooked shell game routine; the math routine, "13 x 7 = 28"; and "Buzzing the Bee" (called "Sons of Neptune"), an initiation routine where the team tries to trick the other into asking to be sprayed in the face.[3] During this sequence, Costello began laughing and spit his water on the deck. Director Arthur Lubin left it in the film.[3]


The film was a massive hit, becoming the sixth most popular movie of 1941. In the Navy was re-released in January 1949 with Who Done It?.[3]

DVD releases[edit]

This film has been released three times on DVD. Originally released as single DVD on August 26, 1998, it was released twice as part of two different Abbott and Costello collections. The first time, on The Best of Abbott and Costello Volume One, on February 10, 2004, and again on October 28, 2008 as part of Abbott and Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures Collection.


  1. ^ Furmanek p. 52
  2. ^ One Pair Full House: Funny Abbott and Costello Box Office Darlings Looking at Hollywood with JOHN CHAPMAN Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 17 Aug 1941: d3.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Furmanek, Bob and Ron Palumbo (1991). Abbott and Costello in Hollywood. New York: Perigee Books. ISBN 0-399-51605-0
  4. ^ Palm Springs Visitors Center. "Coachella Valley Feature Film Production 1920–2011". Filming in Palm Springs. Palm Springs, CA. Retrieved October 1, 2012. Download (Downloadable PDF file)

External links[edit]