Rio Rita After being fired from their jobs as clerks in a pet store, Doc and Wishey, a couple of bumpkins, hide in the trunk of a car that they think will take them to New York. Somehow, however, they end up in Texas where they help to facilitate the romance of a popular Latin singer and the owner of a resort hotel while exposing a gang of Fifth-Columnists.
Bud and Lou’s MGM debut
Rio Rita With the money that Abbott and Costello made in their films at Universal to save that studio from going bankrupt, L.B. Mayer decided he wanted some of that himself. So Universal was probably paid a lot of cash to loan them out for the first of three films.
MGM dusted off the old show Rio Rita which was a smash Broadway success for Florenz Ziegfeld in 1927-1928. Universal had filmed it in 1929 with John Boles, Bebe Daniels and Wheeler and Woolsey. Come to think of it, they probably tossed in the rights for Rio Rita in the loan out deal for Abbott and Costello.
All that was retained were the two big songs of the show, the title song and the Ranger song. Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg wrote You Came Along sung very nicely by John Carroll and Kathryn Grayson.
The plot is pretty silly involving some Nazi spies sending coded messages during a broadcast featuring Latino crooner John Carroll. He’s got a cheap Mexican accent that really doesn’t fool anyone. Why didn’t MGM use a real Latino performer like Tito Guizar? I guess we’ll never know.
And Abbott and Costello don’t get to use any of their patented routines here although they do have some funny moments. MGM did much better by them in Lost In a Harem which is more like the stuff they were doing at Universal.