Hat Box Mystery / Hollywood Mystery

Well, at least it's short. Plus we like Allen Jenkins, right?

First of two four-reel 'streamliner' long shorts (or short longs) made by Robert Lippert spotlighting the Ashton Detective Agency. This opens most humorously with Tom Neal introducing himself and the cast regulars both as themselves in REAL life and as the characters they portray. Then we're off to the mystery races (sort of). While Mr. Neal is out of town on business, Miss Blake is given an assignment by a mysterious client: he wants dirt on his wife, and he has a special super-secret hidden camera in a hat box. The assignment: Take the lady's picture with the hidden camera. Only there isn't a camera in there, there's a GUN in there, and when Tom gets back from outta town he's got to clear his secretary of a murder rap. Allen Jenkins? He's around to borrow money from his waitress girlfriend to pay for all this investigatin' goin' on. Million-dollar Dialog: They call me Harvard. Maybe on account of I never went to Yale. HAW!' - Jenkins The cast returned in The Case of the Baby Sitter, and these two Ashton Detective Agency films are better than a lot of 1950s TV cop shows I've seen, or at least no worse, and at 40 min. each, they sure do go by fast. Leonard Penn is the villain in this one, and the final few minutes are spent explaining everything we've just seen - an example of shameless padding, it seems, in a film that's this short simply made me laugh.