On The Spot (1940)

     On June 11, 1940, Monogram Pictures released the latest film in the Frankie Darro-Mantan Moreland buddy films, On The Spot (1940).  Darro and Moreland made a number of comedic buddy films during the early 1940s for Monogram Pictures.

     While the films were definitely in the “B” category, the team made entertaining films.  It was also unique in pairing up a white and black comedian.  Unfortunately, the films often contained insulting stereotypes directed towards Moreland’s character.


Frankie Darro and Mantan Moreland from Irish Luck from the Public Domain

     In this film, Darro plays Frankie “Doc” Kelly.  Kelly is a soda jerk, who dreams of being a doctor.  Frankie is working with his friend Jefferson White, played by Moreland, when a dying gangster enters their store.  Before he can pass on the information about hidden heist money, he dies in the drug store.  His death draws in a number of gangsters to the small town of Midvale, New York.

     Frankie and Jefferson witness another murder.  Fearing they may be next, the men attempt to find the murderer for the sheriff.

     John St. Polis plays Doc Hunter, the pharmacist and owner of the drug store, in this film.  St. Polis was primarily a character actor in “B” films but had been a strong supporting actor in the early days of film.  St. Polis, who was born on November 24, 1873 in New Orleans, Louisiana, began acting in silent films in 1914.

     St. Polis supported many actors and actresses particularly Mary Pickford.  St. Polis played Pickford’s father in Coquette (1929).  Before he died on October 8, 1946 at 72 years of age, St. Polis had acted in approximately 131 films.

     Like many “B” films, On The Spot comes in at 58 minutes.  You can find it on YouTube for free.  How do you think this film measures up to the other Darro – Moreland films?

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