Mr. Washington Goes to Town


1h 5m 1940

Film Details

Also Known As
Mr. Jones Goes to Town
Genre
Comedy
Release Date
Jan 1940
Premiere Information
Los Angeles preview: 11 Apr 1940; New York opening: week of 13 Jun 1941
Production Company
Dixie National Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Consolidated National Film Exchanges; Dixie National Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 5m
Film Length
4,956ft

Synopsis

When prison inmate Schenectady learns that his uncle has died and left him the Hotel Ethiopia, he falls asleep and dreams of the hotel: He goes to work as a bellhop and elevator operator and makes his prison buddy Wallingford his assistant. Next, a maid comments that nothing ever happens at the hotel, and Schenectady notices that the hotel is a strange place. Among the visitors is a man in white tails with a gorilla, a headless man carrying his head, a stiletto thrower and a reappearing invisible man. A magician frightens Schenectady by producing a goldfish bowl around his head, and a "lonesome ranger" enters riding a goat. Brutus Blake, who holds some of the many mortgages on the hotel, wants to get the money to buy the establishment, and contests Schenectady's claim. Later, Brutus tears up the floors and walls searching for hidden gold. After scaring the chambermaid, Brutus is chased by the gorilla and by his wife, who has arrived unexpectedly. He meets the hotel's attractive beautician, Lady Queenie, on whom he uses all his romantic charm. Just as things begin to get wild, Schenectady is awakened by the jailer, and his dream ends. Wallingford suggests that they go to the hotel when they are released from prison, but Schenectady says that he has just been there and wants nothing more to do with it.

Film Details

Also Known As
Mr. Jones Goes to Town
Genre
Comedy
Release Date
Jan 1940
Premiere Information
Los Angeles preview: 11 Apr 1940; New York opening: week of 13 Jun 1941
Production Company
Dixie National Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Consolidated National Film Exchanges; Dixie National Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 5m
Film Length
4,956ft

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

[Mr. Washington Goes to Town, which opened in New York City on June 13, 1941, was publicly previewed in Los Angeles on April 11, 1940 and was included in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40;F3.2929.] A working title for this film was Mr. Jones Goes to Town. The film was the first picture to be produced by Dixie National Pictures, Inc., a company formed in March 1940 by Jed Buell, who earlier produced Harlem on the Prairie (see entry above). James K. Friedrich, a minister who made the religious film The Great Commandment (see entry above) was Dixie's biggest investor. Modern sources note that Ted Toddy helped form the company. Although contemporary sources indicate that the film was previewed at the Lincoln Theater in Los Angeles in April 1940, it May not have been released until June 1941, when, according to the Variety review, it opened in Harlem. As noted in Time, there are no characters in the film named "Washington." The picture, which the press preview program called the "first all negro feature comedy ever made," was written, produced and directed by white men, and was made in six days at a reported cost of $15,000. According to Film Daily, many of the actors playing the hotel's "guests" were vaudeville performers.