Movies: 1930 to 1959


Old Man Rhythm

This film was released by RKO Radio Pictures in 1935. It is about a wealthy businessman who goes back to college in order to prevent his son from marrying someone he views as a gold-digger. Old Man Rhythm was Johnny Mercer’s first film score. Mercer also acted in this film. 

To Beat The Band 

To Beat The Band was released by RKO Radio Pictures in November of 1935. It is about a man who stands to inherit millions of dollars as long as he marries a widow within three days. The music was done by Matt Malneck. In addition to writing the lyrics for this film, Johnny Mercer acts in it as well. 

Varsity Show

This Warner Bros. film was released in September of 1937 and starred Dick Powell and Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians. It is about a group of college students who want to put on a theatre production in New York City. Richard Whiting wrote the music, with Johnny Mercer penning the lyrics for the film. Varsity Show also featured Ted Healy, Rosemary Lane, Priscilla Lane, Walter Catlett, Johnny “Scat” Davis, Sterling Holloway, Mabel Todd, Lee Dixon, and Buck and Bubbles.

Ready, Willing and Able

A Warner Bros. film released in 1937, Ready, Willing and Able is about two songwriters recruiting a new leading lady for their show. The music was done by Richard Whiting with lyrics written by Johnny Mercer. The film starred Ruby Keeler, Lee Dixon, Allen Jenkins, Louise Fazenda, Ross Alexander, Carol Hughes, Hugh O’Connell, Wini Shaw, Teddy Hart, and Adrian Rosley.


The Sky’s The Limit

The Sky’s The Limit is an RKO Radio Productions film that was released in September of 1943. In the film, a test pilot falls in love with a newspaper photographer while he is on leave. It features music by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. The cast included Fred Astaire, Joan Leslie, Robert Benchley, Robert Ryan, Elizabeth Patterson, Marjorie Gateson, and Freddie Slack and His Orchestra.  

Star Spangled Rhythm

This was a Paramount Pictures film that was released in December of 1942 about a doorman that pretends to be a big-shot producer for Paramount Studios. It also included music by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. The film starred Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Fred MacMurray, Franchot Tone, Ray Milland, Victor Moore, Dorothy Lamour, Paulette Goddard, Vera Zorina, and Mary Martin. 

You Were Never Lovelier 

You Were Never Lovelier is a 1942 Columbia Pictures film about a South African business tycoon and his three daughters and their love interests. It featured music by Jerome Kern with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, and starred Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Adolphe Menjou, Isobel Elsom, Leslie Brooks, Adele Mara, Gus Schilling, and Barbara Brown.

The Fleet’s In

This film was a Paramount Pictures production that was released in March of 1942. The plot revolves around a sailor who is on leave and takes a bet that he can kiss a singer in a nightclub. Johnny Mercer provided the lyrics to Victor Schertzinger’s music. The cast included Dorothy Lamour, William Holden, Eddie Bracken, Betty Hutton, Leif Erickson, and Betty Jane Rhodes.

Here Come The Waves

Here Come the Waves is a 1944 Paramount Pictures film about a sailor who falls in love with twin WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) Navy members. Mercer wrote lyrics to music by Harold Arlen for this film. The cast included Bing Crosby, Betty Hutton, Sonny Tufts, Ann Doran, Gwen Crawford, Noel Neill, Catherine Craig and Marjorie Henshaw. The song “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive” was nominated for an Academy Award in 1945. 

Blues in the Night

A Warner Bros. production that was released in November of 1941, Blues in the Night was about a traveling jazz band with a set of professional and emotional issues. The film’s music and lyrics were by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer. The cast included Priscilla Lane, Betty Field, Richard Whork, Lloyd Nolan, Jack Carson, Wally Ford, Elia Kazan, Peter Whitney, Billy Halop, Howard Da Silva, and Joyce Compton.


Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is a 1954 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film about seven brothers who decide they need wives and decide on the women from a nearby town. It includes music by Gene de Paul with lyrics by Johnny Mercer and stars Jane Powell, Howard Keel, Jeff Richards, Russ Tamblyn, Tommy Rall, Howard Petrie, Marc Platt, and Virginia Gibson.

The Belle of New York

This was a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film about a playboy who falls in love with a Salvation Army girl in the late 1800s. The film was released in March of 1952 and features music by Harry Warren with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. The cast included Fred Astaire, Vera-Ellen, Marjorie Main, Keenan Wynn, Alice Pearce, Clinton Sundberg, Gale Robbins, Lisa Ferraday, Henry Slate, Carol Brewster, and Meredith Leeds.

Daddy Long Legs

This Twentieth Century-Fox film was released in May of 1955 and features lyrics and music by Johnny Mercer. The film is about an orphan who grows up and falls in love with a man, not realizing he was her benefactor. The cast included Fred Astaire, Leslie Caron, Terry Moore, Thelma Ritter, Fred Clark, Charlotte Austin, Larry Keating, and Kathryn Givney.

Merry Andrew

Merry Andrew is a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film that tells the story of a teacher who joins the circus. The film, which was released in March of 1958, features music by Saul Chaplin with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. The cast included Danny Kaye, Pier Angeli, Salvatore Baccaloni, Noel Purcell, Robert Coote, Patricia Cutts, Rex Evans, Water Kingsford, Peter Mamakos, Rhys Williams and Tommy Rall.