Knock on Wood (1954)

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In this film, the first produced by Danny and Sylvia's production company, Dena Productions, he plays Jerry Morgan, a ventriloquist. Jerry is unknowingly plagued with fears of marriage, and every time he falls in love with a girl and the topic of marriage comes up, his dummies become verbally uncontrollable. After five separate occasions, his friend, Marty Brown, has scheduled an appointment for Jerry with a psychiatrist in Switzerland. The first of my favorite scenes takes place on the plane, where Jerry is trying to help Marty overcome his airsickness.

During the plane ride, Jerry unknowingly meets Dr. Nordstrom, whom he later falls in love with. Unfortunately, Jerry is being pursued by two different parties, both of whom are after a set of plans for a secret weapon; the plans had been stored in the heads of Jerry's dummies without his knowledge. By the end of the movie, Jerry is not only being pursued for the plans but also by the police who think he's murdered two men. it's an enjoyable movie with some wonderful scenes between Danny and David Burns, who plays Marty.

STEWARDESS: Good Evening.

JERRY MORGAN: Good Evening.

STEWARDESS: Oh please keep your coats, sir, our heating system is temporarily out of order.

JERRY MORGAN: This is the silliest thing I've ever heard of. Rushing to see doctors, midnight trips to Switzerland.

MARTY BROWN: Would you lay off? I'm the one who should be complaining. You know how I get.

JERRY MORGAN: Well, stop complaining. You're not going to be sick. It's all mental. Just don't think about it. You'll be all right. (accidentally drops his magazine on Dr. Nordstrom's head) Oh! I'm terribly sorry.

DR. NORDSTROM: That's quite all right.

STEWARDESS: Passengers will please take their seats.

JERRY MORGAN: Are you sure you got hotel reservations?

MARTY BROWN: Only the best. The Sonanhoff.

JERRY MORGAN: Did you get two rooms?

MARTY BROWN: Two rooms.

JERRY MORGAN: Good. If we had to sleep in the same room with that deviated septum of yours--

MARTY BROWN: Stop worrying, will ya?

JERRY MORGAN: Do you feel all right?

MARTY BROWN: I feel fine, fine.

JERRY MORGAN: How's your stomach?

MARTY BROWN: Okay. Just don't talk about it.

We are taking off. Please make sure you have fastened your seatbelt.

JERRY MORGAN: Eh, you better fasten your seatbelt. Now forget your stomach. It's all mental. (while talking he accidentally fastens himself to Dr. Nordstrom)

DR. NORDSTROM: What are you doing?

JERRY MORGAN: Eh, nothing. I just fastened my belt.

DR. NORDSTROM: Then please unfasten it.

JERRY MORGAN: Yes, Ma'am. (tries to unfasten the belt but it's stuck) Ooo. It seems to be stuck.

DR. NORDSTROM: Ring for the Stewardess.

JERRY MORGAN: She'll be here in a minute or so.

DR. NORDSTROM: Yes, I suppose so.

JERRY MORGAN: Lovely night, isn't it?

DR. NORDSTROM: Yes, very nice.

JERRY MORGAN: Are you from Paris?




JERRY MORGAN: Enjoy the coronation?

DR. NORDSTROM: Oh, would you please try to get us undone?

JERRY MORGAN: (he succeeds in undoing the belt) I'm terribly sorry.

DR. NORDSTROM: That's quite all right.

JERRY MORGAN: Marty, are you sure you're all right?

MARTY BROWN: Please, I... I'll be fine.

DR. NORDSTROM: Perhaps you and your friend would like to sit together?

JERRY MORGAN: Oh, that's very nice of you. You--you sure you wouldn't mind?

DR. NORDSTROM: No, not at all. (Jerry stands up, allowing Dr. Nordstrom and Marty to exchange seats.)

JERRY MORGAN: Watch your head. Oh, you dropped your-- (Jerry leans down to pick up Dr. Nordstrom's purse, but when he stands back up he bumps into a tray being carried by the Stewardess. The drink splashes down the front of Dr. Nordstrom's jacket.) Oh! I'm terribly sorry.

DR. NORDSTROM: That's quite all right.

STEWARDESS: The washroom is at the rear. (The Stewardess takes Dr. Nordstrom back to the washroom. Jerry sits down.)

JERRY MORGAN: Wasn't that awful? I spilled chocolate all over her coat. (Marty swallows some pills.) Those pills don't mean a thing, Marty. It's all in your mind.

MARTY BROWN: Dramamine. Clears it up right away.

JERRY MORGAN: You know, I just read an article. It said in the article that you never get airsick if you have something on your stomach.

MARTY BROWN: Please, don't say stomach.

JERRY MORGAN: What'd you have for dinner?

MARTY BROWN: I don't want to think about it.

JERRY MORGAN: Well, you should think about it. The article said you should think about it. It eases the tensions, relaxes the stomach muscles.

MARTY BROWN: Please, don't say stomach.

JERRY MORGAN: Marty, don't be a child. You've got to fight this thing. Now tell me, what'd you have for dinner.

MARTY BROWN: Well, first I had a little chicken soup.

JERRY MORGAN: Chicken soup? Oh, chicken soup is wonderful. It's light, nourishing, warm going down, settles the stomach.

MARTY BROWN: Please, don't say stomach.

JERRY MORGAN: Well, what else did you have for dinner?


JERRY MORGAN: Lobster? Good. Good. Lobster, very good. High protein content. Iodine. Very good indeed. Did you have it boiled?

MARTY BROWN: No. Thermidor.

JERRY MORGAN: Oh, thermidor..

MARTY BROWN: With a thick cheese sauce.

JERRY MORGAN: Well, that's nice. Thick-- (starts to feel sick) Cheese sauce?

MARTY BROWN: Then some, uh, Chicken Tetrazzini. Broccoli with Hollandaise sauce. Then a chopped anchovy salad with a rich roguefort dressing. Then for dessert-- (throughout this line, Jerry has been squirming and making faces)

JERRY MORGAN: (places a hand on Marty's arm) No names. Just initials.

MARTY BROWN: Baked Alaska with a rich, creamy, fluffy, sugary--

JERRY MORGAN: (puts his hand back on Marty's arm) All right, all right!

MARTY BROWN: Say you know you were right. My stomach feels much better.

JERRY MORGAN: Please, don't say stomach.

MARTY BROWN: Don't you feel well?

In their hotel in Switzerland, Jerry and Marty have adjoining rooms. In Jerry's room, Marty gives Jerry a sleeping pill and instructs him to go to bed. Jerry, of course, is nervous about seeing the psychiatrist the following day. What follows is a hilarious and brilliant conversation between Danny and David Burns. Most of this dialogue is said one on top of the other, with overlapping lines. It is a wonderfully fast-paced conversation!

MARTY BROWN: Here Jerry, you better take this pill and get a good night's sleep.

JERRY MORGAN: Oh you know how I hate to take these things, Marty. They always make me so groggy.

MARTY BROWN: You're gonna be clear-headed when you see the doc in the morning. Now come on, get under the covers and get some rest. (Jerry gets in his bed.) That's a good boy. There you are. Nice and warm.



JERRY MORGAN: You don't think the doctor's gonna find out I'm crazy or anything, do you?

MARTY BROWN: Of course not. Now put your cigarette out, Jerry.

JERRY MORGAN: (puts the cigarette out) You know, I don't think I'm crazy. I think I'm a little peculiar, but that's not crazy.

MARTY BROWN: Well, that's about all. Now I want you to get a good night's rest.

JERRY MORGAN: A lot of people are peculiar, but they're not crazy.

MARTY BROWN: Loads of people are peculiar.

JERRY MORGAN: Of course I will admit that I'm high-strung and nervous and irritable. Sometimes I'm a little over-talkative, but that certainly isn't crazy. It's just the career.

MARTY BROWN: I'm nervous. I'm high-strung.

JERRY MORGAN: I know that. And you're peculiar, too.

MARTY BROWN: I'm very peculiar.

JERRY MORGAN: But you're not crazy.

MARTY BROWN: I hope not.

JERRY MORGAN: Nobody says you're crazy. You wouldn't be put away simply because people said that you were peculiar, or anything.

MARTY BROWN: Now nobody's gonna put anybody away. I want you to go and get a good night's--

JERRY MORGAN: That's right. In my business people have to be talkative and--

MARTY BROWN: Of course they do.

JERRY MORGAN: ...high-strung and peculiar, but that's certainly not--

MARTY BROWN: Please go to sleep.

JERRY MORGAN: Look, I know one thing. I know crazy is crazy and peculiar is peculiar.

MARTY BROWN: Are you through?


MARTY BROWN: Good night. (slaps Jerry on the arm and starts to leave)

JERRY MORGAN: Marty? (Marty stops)


JERRY MORGAN: Suppose after we've gone to all this trouble, the doctor finds out there's nothing wrong with me?

MARTY BROWN: That'll be very peculiar. Good night. (Marty goes to his room)

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