On Moonlight Bay
Adapted from Penrod stories by Booth Tarkington, an athletic girl falls in love with a college radical while her father disapproves and her little brother makes trouble.
Banker George Winfield (Leon Ames) moves his family closer to his job, but his wife Alice (Rosemary DeCamp) and daughter Marjie (Doris Day) complain. Marjie gets into a baseball game. Her brother Wesley (Billy Gray) has a gun, and she fires it by mistake, nearly hitting neighbor Bill Sherman (Gordon MacRae), who spanks her.
Marjie wears a party dress for Bill, and Alice adds to her bosom. Bill sings “On Moonlight Bay.” They dance, and Marjie’s pitching wins a doll. Bill makes a speech to prevent being cheated. She invites him in, and the lights go out. He kisses her. The next day Bill sings “Cuddle Up a Little Closer.” He tells George that banks are parasites and tears up $5.
Marjie writes to Bill at college and sings “Tell Me Why Nights Are Lonely.” Wesley takes her letter to school as his homework and has to read it aloud. Hubert Wakely (Jack Smith) and Marjie sing “Love Ya.” They try to lose Wesley by going for a walk. Marjie gets private dancing lessons and learns the turkey trot. She gets into a snowball fight with boys and injures her ankle. Wesley is dressed as an angel but rejects the gown as Marjie’s old petticoat. Wesley watches a silent movie about a wayward husband.
At school Wesley dozes off and flies out of his body. He calls his teacher Mary Stevens (Ellen Corby) “an old crow” and is kept after class. He tells stories about his father from the movie. At dinner Alice wonders about Miss Stevens. Housekeeper Stella (Mary Wickes) has her usual troubles with swinging doors.
Bill comes home from college for Christmas and meets Miss Stevens. He calls on Marjie, calls George a drunken beast, and throws water on him. Marjie apologizes to Bill, and they embrace. Wesley escapes by joining carolers as an angel. Marjie sings “Christmas Story” with Bill.
Bill graduates in June 1917 and in his speech reveals that he and his class have enlisted. Marjie gets on the train with the troops. Bill sings “Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag.” He tells her to get off and asks her to marry him in Chicago. George drags her off.
Aunt Martha arrives and gives Wesley cookies, a pocket knife, and his father’s sling-shot. At Wesley’s birthday party Hubert sings “Every Little Movement Has a Meaning All Its Own.” Bill comes to talk with George, who rejects him. Marjie wants to marry Bill, who asks her to be sensible and wait. He sings “Till We Meet Again” to her. Wesley gives his father his sling-shot back, and George calls Bill. Marjie runs to Bill, and they embrace.
This old-fashioned musical comedy depicts a family in a bygone era that nonetheless flirted with radical ideas while learning life’s basic lessons.