Joe Penner, Betty Grable and Dick Lane in “The Day the Bookies Wept”

Here are two short scenes from RKO’s well-reviewed but rarely seen 1939 racetrack comedy, The Day the Bookies Wept, starring Joe Penner, Dick Lane, Tom Kennedy and a young Betty Grable.

In this first scene, Ernie Ambrose (Penner), a cab driver from Brooklyn, is so busy training his pigeons that he doesn’t pay much attention to his girlfriend Ina Firpo (Betty Grable), something that clearly wouldn’t happen in real life.

Later that day, Ambrose reports to work at the Colonel Cab Company, where his fellow drivers have spent the morning discussing plans to pool their money to buy a race horse in order to make a killing at the track. In other words, to “make the bookies weep.”

Because of his experience training pigeons (but mostly because this is a comedy), they select Ernie to buy the horse and train it. Knowing that Ambrose wants nothing to do with the ponies, fast-talking cabbie Ramsey Firpo (played to perfection by frequent Penner sidekick Dick Lane) and Pinky Brophy (Tom Kennedy) work had to convince him.

For more on Penner and his films, radio shows, and live performances, check out the Wanna Buy a Duck? website.

For a biographical essay on actor and announcer Richard “Dick” Lane, click HERE.

craig hodgkins

~ by Craig Hodgkins on September 29, 2008.

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