Ship Ahoy
Theatrical poster
Directed byEdward Buzzell
Screenplay byHarry Clork
Irving Brecher (uncredited)
Harry Kurnitz (uncredited)
Story byMatt Brooks
Bradford Ropes
Bert Kalmar
Produced byJack Cummings
StarringEleanor Powell
Red Skelton
Bert Lahr
Virginia O'Brien
CinematographyRobert H. Planck
Leonard Smith
Clyde De Vinna
Edited byBlanche Sewell
Music byGeorge Bassman
George Stoll
Distributed byLoew's Inc.
Release date
  • May 1942 (1942-05)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2,507,000[1]

Ship Ahoy is a 1942 American musical-comedy film directed by Edward Buzzell and starring Eleanor Powell and Red Skelton. It was produced by MGM.


Ship Ahoy was the first of two films in which Powell and Skelton co-starred. It is considered a lesser effort on both actors' behalf, however the film is chiefly remembered today for including Frank Sinatra, who appears in an uncredited performance as a singer with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. The movie also is credited with one of the most unusual displays of dance on screen for a sequence in which Powell's character, needing to communicate a message to a (real) US agent in the audience of one of her shows, manages to tap out the message in morse code. (Reportedly, Powell taps genuine code during the performance.)

The film was to be called I'll Take Manila, but was renamed after the attack on Pearl Harbor.[2] Skelton and Powell next paired up in 1943's I Dood It. In that film, they appeared with Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy's brother.


Tallulah Winters is a dancing star who is hired to perform on an ocean liner. Before she leaves, she is recruited by what she believes is a branch of the American government and asked to smuggle a prototype explosive mine out of the country. In fact, she is unknowingly working for Nazi agents who have stolen the mine. Meanwhile, Merton Kibble, a writer of pulp fiction adventure stories but suffering from severe writer's block, is on the same ship and soon he finds himself embroiled in Tallulah's real-life adventure.



According to MGM records the film earned $1,831,000 at the US and Canadian box office and $676,000 elsewhere, making the studio a profit of $1,470,000.[1][3]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. ^ Othman, Frederick C. (1941-12-12). "Studios Faced With Problem of What To Do When They Must Film Airplane Shots". The Telegraph-Herald. United Press. p. 4. Retrieved 2021-06-28.
  3. ^ "101 Pix Gross in Millions" Variety 6 Jan 1943 p 58