BrianRxm Coins in Movies 105/110
Whistling in Dixie (1942)
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The 1942 MGM film "Whistling in Dixie" is a comedy about a pair of New York radio actors who head
for Georgia and get involved in a hunt for Confederate treasure.
 
A British gold coin prop appears along with a mythical United States $20 gold coin dated 1839.
 
Radio and film comedian Red Skelton appears as Wally Benton, a radio performer whose character is
a crime solver called "The Fox". Ann Rutherford is his co-performer and fiancee, Carol Lambert.
This film is a sequel to the Red Skelton film "Whistling in the Dark" which had some of the same characters.
 
They are to be married when Ellamae Downs, a college friend of Carol, asks her and Wally
to come to Georgia to help her solve a murder connected with a legendary treasure.
Whistling in Dixie
1. Title
 
Wally and Carol are performers for the WGN radio network crime program "The Fox".
 
Whistling in Dixie
2. Carol and Wally performing their radio program
 
Besides appearing as a sleuth on his program, Wally had solved a real crime.
 
A station delivery man delivers a message to Carol.
 
Whistling in Dixie
3. Wally gives the delivery man a tip
 
Wally: "Here's a brand new American dollar for you."
Man: "That's only a nickel."
Wally: "That's the new American dollar after all the income tax has been removed."
 
The message is from Carol's college friend Ellamae Downs, who lives in Georgia.
Ellamae asks Carol and Wally to come to Georgia and help find out about Martin Gordon,
who was researching an old fort and reported killed but his body can not be found.
 
The pair arrive in Georgia by air and later visit the Georgia fort.
 
Whistling in Dixie
4. Carol, Ellamae, and Wally find Martin's briefcase
 
They find Martin's briefcase with notes on a cache of money left by Georgia governor Clyde Lee,
the grandfather of local Judge George Lee.
 
An elderly Confederate veteran encounters the group.
 
Whistling in Dixie
5. Corporal Lucken, CSA, finds the group
 
From Martin's notes, Wally is directed to a book of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poems.
 
Whistling in Dixie
6. Wally reads Longfellow's poem
 
The poem, "The Arsenal at Springfield" provides a clue.
The county sheriff with them accidently drops a coin which is found by Conway, a chauffeur.
 
Whistling in Dixie
7. Conway finds a coin
 
Conway compares the coin with one that he already has.
 
Whistling in Dixie
8. Two English coins
 
The coins read "GREAT BRITAIN" and "1859", but the inscriptions appear to be stamped onto
the reverses of Spanish colonial "pillar" coins or prop coins.
 
Wally, Carol, Ellamae, and the sheriff head for the basement of the fort and find a chest
under a large stone.
 
Whistling in Dixie
9. Wally finds the cash
 
Wally: "Millions of dollars but Confederate, couldn't get a nickel for it."
 
Wally puts some of the money in his pocket to use as tips.
 
Opening the chest, they find a pile of currency, but Wally is disappointed.
 
For a while I thought I had this thing solved.
Gordon found the trunk, somebody he confided in knocked him off to get it.
Who would commit a murder for a trunk of confederate money.
Everybody knows it's worthless.
 
Wally lifts the tray holding the cash and finds something else below it.
 
Whistling in Dixie
10. The real goods
 
The coins here appear to be standard film prop coins which no doubt have appeared in many
treasure or pirate films.
 
Wally handles some of the coins.
"English gold pieces, 1847, 1860."
 
Whistling in Dixie
11. Wally holding coin
 
Hey look, a twenty dollar gold piece 1839.
A coin collector would give you seventy-five cents for that thing.
 
The United States started making $20 gold coins in 1850.
The coin in the film might have been privately minted at the Dahlonega Mint in Georgia
which opened in 1838.
 
Ellamae: "Martin once told me something about the Southern planters who ran cotton to England
through the blockade taking payment in gold."
Wally: "How did it get here?"
Ellamae: "They hid their money like this when Sherman's army came through."
 
Then the mysterious disappearance of Martin's body is solved; he is still alive.
 
Whistling in Dixie
12. Martin reappears
 
Martin, the sheriff, and Conway have been hunting for the treasure and after a doublecross,
the group along with the sheriff are locked in the fort's basement.
 
The basement is flooded, but the group are rescued by Corporal Lucken who receives
a message from his pet parrot.
 
Whistling in Dixie
13. The group rescued
 
The treasure presumably goes to Judge Lee, the grandson of the Governor who hid it.
 
Whistling in Dixie
14. Wally and Carol together
 
Marital trust.
Notes:
 
Cast:
Red Skelton as Wally 'The Fox' Benton
Ann Rutherford as Carol Lambert
Diana Lewis as Ellamae Downs
 
Director: S. Sylvan Simon
Writers: Nat Perrin, Wilkie Mahoney
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