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Q: Classic (B&W) Film info ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Classic (B&W) Film info
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Movies and Film
Asked by: jmccauley-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 26 Aug 2002 01:31 PDT
Expires: 25 Sep 2002 01:31 PDT
Question ID: 58532
I am looking for the name of an old movie, that has been on TV.  It is
set in the LA area around an old food drive-in.  There is a song in
the movie about being behind the 8-ball.  Anyone seen this movie or
got the name???  Thanks.

Request for Question Clarification by leli-ga on 26 Aug 2002 02:31 PDT
Thanks for the question. More clues would help.  Can you help with:
Color or black and white?
Any ideas how old?
A comedy?
Style of music?

Request for Question Clarification by leli-ga on 26 Aug 2002 02:33 PDT
Just seen you said B&W in the heading so ignore me on that one!

Request for Question Clarification by eiffel-ga on 26 Aug 2002 06:08 PDT
Could the plot be described as “the members of a summer theater group
get mixed up with spies and murder"?

Clarification of Question by jmccauley-ga on 27 Aug 2002 16:44 PDT
Sorry for the delay ...  here is all I can remember about the movie.

1.  B&W
2.  Seem to remember a plot line about a group of Hollywood
want-to-be's working at a drive in (restruant).
3. For some reason I was under the impression that Martha Raye was in
it, but I looked at the list of movies that is was in an nothing rings
a bell.


Request for Question Clarification by eiffel-ga on 28 Aug 2002 06:43 PDT
Does this poster from the 1942 movie "Behind the 8 ball" ring a bell?

There's no "Martha Raye" in this movie, but most of the songs were by
co-written by Don Raye. The plot summary mentions "the members of a
summer theater group" who could possibly be aspiring Hollywood

The main song in this musical was a big hit in 1942. The record was
titled "Mister Five By Five (Behind The Eight Ball)" but the lyrics
don't actually include the phrase "behind the eight ball".

Does this sound familiar, or is it a false trail?

Clarification of Question by jmccauley-ga on 28 Aug 2002 08:58 PDT
Eiffel ... nope by looking at the poster, it appears "too high class."

In the movie the actors were serving, or delivering, food to the cars.
 And of course, they would break into song.

I also seem to remember, something about the moving starting off with
someone getting on an airplane to fly to LA.  I think it was a he and
he then becomes part of the group at the drive in ... all looking for
work in Hollywood.

Thanks all.
Subject: Re: Classic (B&W) Film info
Answered By: eiffel-ga on 29 Aug 2002 03:45 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi jmccauley,

The movie you describe is "Hollywood Hotel", released in 1937/38.

In this movie a saxophonist wins a talent contest and travels to LA to
take up a contract with a Hollywood film studio. He gets fired, and
finds work as singing waiter in a drive in, where he is spotted by a
director of the same studio that fired him.

A more detailed plot summary is available on the Internet Movie
Here are further details of the movie, from the same site:

By the way, Ronald Reagan had a bit part in this film as a radio

Additional links:

The poster is offered by AllPosters:

The soundtrack is offered on CD by Amazon:

The movie is available for hire on 16mm film from

The movie is offered on video by TVideo:

Ted Healy's site has some MP3 soundclips from the film:

Search strategy:

I started with some Google searches, which did not yield the answer:

"behind the 8 OR eight ball" movie

"drive-in" "fast food" movie +la OR "los angeles" singing

Next, I searched the plot summaries on the Internet Movie Database
with numerous search strings, including:

eight ball
8 ball
arrives in LA
arrives in Los Angeles
fast food
burger joint
singing waiter

The phrase "singing waiter" led to "Hollywood Hotel".

Researching this question has piqued my interest, and I'll be looking
out for the next TV screening of this movie!

jmccauley-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
I just received the CD for Hollywood Hotel and your answer was right
on the mark.  The song with the words 8-ball was from Let That Be A
Lesson To You.

Again ... thanks I have been looking for this for a long time!!

Subject: Re: Classic (B&W) Film info
From: sazeracs-ga on 16 Sep 2002 22:35 PDT

the meaning of the idiom or expression "behind the 8-ball":

"behind the eight ball" -- in a difficult position, in a predicament
( )

(to which I was looking for the meaning, so thanks for your question
concerning the film. i think i will check it out as well.)

happy in austin,

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