Cast & Crew
In Melbourne, Australia, at the turn of the twentieth century, American vaudevillians Harold Gridley and George Cochran are forced to flee the music hall in which they are performing when the fathers of two country girls they have romanced threaten them. While George sits comfortably in the dining car of a train, Harold is outside, clinging to the trestle. The fathers are also on the train, and when they spot George, he jumps out the window and lands with Harold in a sheep pasture. Hiding among the animals, the two entertainers eventually end up in Port Darwin, sporting bushy beards, and head for an employment agency. The only job available involves diving for Prince Ken Arok's sunken treasure, work that has already claimed the lives of four men. Desperate, Harold and George accept, and the next morning, the now clean-shaven duo sets sail for Ken Arok's South Sea island, Vatu. Upon arriving there, Harold and George meet Ken Arok's exotic cousin, Princess Lalah MacTavish, whose mother was Vatu and father Scottish. Despite vows to avoid women and stay out of trouble, both Harold and George become infatuated with Lalah. After privately arguing with Ken Arok about using the unsuspecting Americans to dive in waters infested with a giant squid named Boga Ten, Lalah invites her guests to an honorary dinner at the palace. Harold and George are entertained by a troupe of dancers and, in turn, entertain Lalah with a Scottish song and dance. Lalah then shows the Americans a Hindu rope trick, during which they all climb a rope into the clouds, and coaxes a beautiful dancer out of a small basket with a magic flute. Afterward, George and Lalah enjoy a romantic walk together, and Lalah warns him about the squid and Ken Arok's ruthless pursuit of the treasure, which sank with her father's boat years before. Eager to have Lalah for himself, George tricks Harold into volunteering for the next day's dive. While underwater, Harold locates the treasure box but is immediately accosted by Boga Ten. Harold eludes the beast by slipping out of his diving suit, and once he is safely back on board with the treasure, Boga Ten yanks Ken Arok off the boat with one of its tentacles. After the now-rich Lalah, George and Harold set sail for Bali, Lalah admits that she is in love with both of them. Distracted by Lalah's dilemma, Harold lets go of the boat's steering wheel, and the boat strikes a reef and starts to sink. The three seek refuge on the nearest jungle island, where Harold is almost eaten by a crocodile and becomes suspended in an animal trap. That night, while George sleeps in an abandoned hut, Harold proposes to Lalah. Still unsure, Lalah declines to respond and soon is being courted by both George and Harold. Later, while they are all asleep, a curious male gorilla enters the hut, then fights with a tiger lurking outside. The tiger kills the gorilla, and the next day, the gorilla's grieving mate sees Harold and picks him up lovingly. To save Harold, George starts to sing to the ape, but after dropping Harold, the gorilla embraces George. Just then, local warriors shoot darts at the men and the gorilla, causing them to laugh and shake uncontrollably. The natives cart Harold, George and Lalah off to their village and prepare to kill them and shrink their heads. When the medicine man, Bhoma Da, realizes that Lalah is the daughter of his old friend, however, he is persuaded to host a two-groom wedding instead. George and Harold learn separately that they are to marry Lalah and each gloats privately about his victory over the other. As wedding preparations get under way, Lalah is brought before Chief Ramayana, who reveals that he is in cahoots with Ken Arok and has given him the treasure box in exchange for Lalah's hand in marriage. Laughing off Bhoma Da's warnings that the volcano god will spite him, Ramayana orders that George and Harold be wed to each other and have their heads shrunk. Wearing large masks, George and Harold cannot see whom they are marrying and fall unconscious after drinking drugged wine. When they wake later and find themselves in the same bed, they realize what has happened and learn about Lalah's fate from a guard. With only minutes to live, George asks Harold's forgiveness for all the tricks he has played on him, and Harold embraces his friend. At that moment, the volcano starts to erupt, and the villagers run in terror. In the confusion, Harold and George escape, rescue Lalah and grab the treasure box. Upon reaching the beach, George and Harold demand that Lalah choose between them, and she picks George. The dejected Harold then pulls out Lalah's flute and makes Jane Russell emerge from a basket. Russell, however, prefers George and walks off with him and Lalah.
Ethel K. Reiman
Irene K. Silva
Kuka L. Tuitama
Chanan Singh Sohi
Monroe W. Burbank
Joseph Mcmillan Johnson
Joseph J. Lilley
James Van Heusen
Road to Bali (1952)
For the record, here's the plot. Bob and Bing are vaudevillians on the run from a shotgun wedding. They sign on to a deep-sea diving expedition in the South Pacific where they meet the lovely Princess Lala (Dorothy Lamour). Lala naturally prefers the crooner but she feels an obligation to the comedian - because of his resemblance to her childhood friend, a chimpanzee. As usual in the Road movies, all of this is merely an excuse to introduce songs by Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen and in-jokes from Hope; sometimes simultaneously as when Bob prefaces a song by Bing by announcing to the audience, "He's gonna sing, folks. Now's the time to go and get your popcorn."
More than most of the Road movies, Road to Bali relied on a number of cameo appearances by celebrities. Jane Russell, Hope's bountiful co-star in his hit comedies The Paleface (1948) and Son of Paleface (1952), makes a cameo appearance as does Humphrey Bogart spoofing his Oscar®-winning role in The African Queen (1951). Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis also pop up in a Dorothy Lamour dream sequence. The then super-hot comedy pair were breathing down the neck of Hope and Crosby, a rivalry that seems to have been taken seriously by the older duo. When Lamour kidded Bing and Bob by announcing after a spoiled take, "Better warm up Martin and Lewis. They're younger and funnier." Hope glared at her and cracked back, "You'd better be careful how you talk to us. You can always be replaced by an actress."
Dorothy Lamour was as much a part of the series as Hope and Crosby but, while they had become bigger stars than at the first of the series, Lamour's star had fallen by the time of Road to Bali. Both Hope and Crosby worked for a share in the profits in this sure-fire box-office winner while Lamour worked for salary. She tried to get her due after filming, saying she did not think it fair to record her songs for the soundtrack album unless she was paid the same fee as Hope and Crosby. Without responding to Lamour, Hope and Crosby spent one morning in a studio recording their songs using Peggy Lee as a replacement. Unlike her co-stars, Lamour was already being pushed out the Paramount door with her contract ending and no renewal in the offering. Instead, she became a popular nightclub entertainer, returning for a cameo in the last Road movie, The Road to Hong Kong (1962).
Director: Hal Walker
Producer: Daniel Dare, Harry Tugend
Writers: Frank Butler, Hal Kanter, William Morrow
Music: Joseph J. Lilley, Johnny Burke, Jimmy Van Heusen
Cinematography: George Barnes
Editor: Archie Marshek
Art Director: J. McMillan Johnson, Hal Pereira
Cast: Bing Crosby (George Cochran), Bob Hope (Harold Gridley), Dorothy Lamour (Princess Lala), Murvyn Vye (Ken Arok), Peter Coe (Gung), Ralph Moody (Bhoma Da), Leon Askin (Ramayana).
by Brian Cady
Road to Bali (1952)
Leon Askin (1907-2005)
Born in Vienna, Austria as Leo Aschkenasy on September 18, 1907, Askin developed a taste for theater through his mother's love of cabaret, and as a youngster, often accompanied his mother to weekend productions.
He made a go of acting as a profession in 1925, when he took drama classes from Hans Thimig, a noted Austrian stage actor at the time. The following year, he made his Vienna stage debut in Rolf Lauckner's "Schrei aus der Strasse."
For the next six year (1927-33), he was a popular stage actor in both Vienna and Berlin before he was prevented to work on the stage by Hitler's SA for being a Jew. He left for Paris in 1935 to escape anti-semetic persecution, but returned to Vienna in 1935, to find work (albeit a much lower profile to escape scrutiny), but after a few years, the writing was on the wall, and he escaped to New York City in 1939, just at the outbreak of World War II. His luck in the Big Apple wasn't really happening, and in 1941, he relocated to Washington D.C. and briefly held the position of managing director of the Civic Theatre, a popular city venue of the day. Unfortunately, after the tragic events of Pearl Harbor in December of that year, the United States became involved in the war that had already engulfed Europe for two years, and seeing a possibility to expediate his application for American citizenship, he enlisted in the U.S. Army.
After the war, Leon indeed became a U.S. citizen and changed his name from Leon Aschkenasy to Leon Askin. He returned to New York and found work as a drama teacher, and more importantly, landed his first gig on Broadway, as director and actor in Goethe's Faust in 1947, which starred Askin in the title character opposite the legendary Albert Bassermann who played Mephisto. The production was a huge success. Askin followed this up with another director/actor stint with Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice and co-starred with Jose Ferrer in Ben Hecht's 20th Century. They were all Broadway hits, and Askin had finally achieved the success he had worked so hard to seek and merit.
It wasn't long before Hollywood came calling, and soon Askin, with his rich German accent and massive physical presence, made a very effective villian in a number of Hollywood films: the Hope-Crosby comedy Road to Bali (1952); Richard Burton's first hit film The Robe; and the Danny Kaye vehicle Knock on Wood (1954).
Askin's roles throughout the 50's were pretty much in this "menacing figure" vein, so little did anyone suspect that around the corner, Billy Wilder would be offering him his most memorable screen role - that of the Russian commissar Peripetschikof who gleefully embraces Amercian Capitalism in the scintillating politcal satire, One, Two, Three (1961). Who can forget this wonderfully exchange between Peripetschikof and Coca Cola executive C.R. MacNamara (James Cagney):
Peripetschikof: I have a great idea to make money. I have a storage full of saurkraut and I'll sell it as Christmas tree tinsil!
MacNamara: You're a cinch!
His performance for Wilder was wonderfully comedic and wholly memorable, and after One, Two, Three the film roles for Askin got noticable better, especially in Lulu and The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (both 1962); but he began to find prominent guest shots on hit television shows too: My Favorite Martian and The Outer Limits to name a few; yet his big break came in 1965, when for six seasons he played General Albert Burkhalter, the Nazi general who was forever taking Col. Kilink's ineptitude to task in Hogan's Heroes (1965-71).
Roles dried up for Askin after the run of Hogan's Heroes, save for the occassional guest spot on television: Diff'rent Strokes, Three's Company, Happy Days; and parts in forgettable comedies: Going Ape! (1981), Airplane II: The Sequel (1982). After years of seclusion, Askin relocated to his birthplace of Vienna in 1994, and he began taking parts in numerous stage productions almost to his death. In 2002, he received the highest national award for an Austrian citizen when he was bestowed with the Austrian Cross of Honor, First Class, for Science and Art. He is survived by his third wife of three years, Anita Wicher.
by Michael T. Toole
Leon Askin (1907-2005)
He's gonna sing, folks. Now's the time to go out and get the popcorn.- Harold Gridley
The working title of this film was The Road to Hollywood. Voice-over narration is heard at the beginning of the film, describing the city of Melbourne, Australia. Intermittently throughout the film, Bob Hope addresses the audience directly, and in the final scene, tries to shove the "The End" title card off the screen. When he fails, the title card changes to "Positively The End." Paramount stars Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis appear briefly in one scene in the picture, as does Bing Crosby's brother Bob, playing himself. Jane Russell, dressed as her character from the 1952 Paramount release Son of Paleface , also makes a cameo appearance in the film. In one scene, footage of Humphrey Bogart, as his Academy Award-winning "Charlie Allnut" character from the 1952 United Artist release The African Queen , is intercut with shots of Hope and Crosby. During the scene, Hope picks up an Oscar statuette "dropped" by Bogart and begins making an acceptance speech.
Road to Bali was the first Bob Hope-Bing Crosby "Road to..." picture since the 1947 Paramount release Road to Rio (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40). It was the sixth and penultimate entry in the series, and the last to co-star Dorothy Lamour. The last film, The Road to Hong Kong, was released in 1962 and starred Hope, Crosby and Joan Collins, with Lamour in a minor role (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70). For more information about the series, see the entry for Road to Singapore in the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40.
According to a December 1950 ParNews item, when the project was known as The Road to Hollywood, Paul Jones was set as producer and Valentine Davies as writer. Jones was the producer on three previous "Road to..." films. A May 1951 ParNews item announced that Don Hartman, an executive at Hope's company, was set to produce the picture. As noted in the New York Herald Tribune review, the film was a three-way venture of Bing Crosby Enterprises, Hope Enterprises and Paramount Pictures, and cast and crew members received paychecks from all three corporate entities. Hollywood Reporter news items add Joan Whitney, Harry Wilson, Jim Davies, Steve Calvert, Suzanne Ridgeway and Abdullah Abbas to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Although publicity materials included in the copyright records for the film note that a song entitled "The Road to Bali" was recorded for the picture, it was not heard in the final film.
Released in United States Winter January 1953
Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin have guest appearances in the film.
Released in United States Winter January 1953