Ghosts on the Loose

Ghosts on the Loose is a 1943 American film and the fourteenth film in the East Side Kids series, directed by William Beaudine.

Ghosts on the Loose
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWilliam Beaudine
Produced byJack Dietz (producer)
Sam Katzman (producer)
Barney A. Sarecky (associate producer)
Written byKenneth Higgins (original screenplay)
StarringSee below
CinematographyMack Stengler
Edited byCarl Pierson
Release date
  • 1943 (1943)
Running time
67 minutes (DVD)
65 minutes (copyright length)
CountryUnited States

The film was released in the United Kingdom as Ghosts in the Night.[1]


When Glimpy (Huntz Hall)'s sister, Betty (Ava Gardner), marries Jack (Rick Vallin), Muggs (Leo Gorcey) singlehandedly organises the wedding. The gang provide a choral version of Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes as well as organ music. Scruno (Sammy Morrison), Stash (Stanley Clements) and Benny (Billy Benedict) provide a floral centrepiece by "borrowing" a funeral wreath meant for a murdered gangster's funeral on the morrow. Danny (Bobby Jordan) and Rocky (Bobby Stone) also borrow the deceased gangster's tuxedo prior to his funeral for Glimpy who is the best man. Scruno's mother provides rice to throw that she has cooked to make extra soft. Muggs also organises a police escort by telling the police gangsters will try and break up the wedding with Glimpy adlibbing they are the notorious Katzman Gang, (the producer of the film series).

On this happy day only one thing is slightly bothering Jack; the house he has purchased is well below the market value due to rumours that the house next door is a haunted house. The house next door is actually used by a Nazi German spy ring, led by Emil (Bela Lugosi). Emil is furious that his minion has sold the neighbouring house to Jack, as it will be needed for future activities as both houses are connected by secret tunnels. Emil orders his minion, Tony (Wheeler Oakman) to buy it back from Jack.

Jack is mystified by the reasons for the house being wanted by another party. Jack does accept the money for the sale where the minion gives him a note with the address of the neighbouring "haunted" house where he can be reached.

On his way to their honeymoon Jack drops the note with the address of the neighbouring house. Muggs picks up the address thinking it is the house that Jack and Betty are moving into and decides to surprise the couple by having the gang clean and tidy the house before the couple arrive.

At the Honeymoon Hotel Jack is given an urgent message to contact the party who originally sold him the house. The wife (Blanche Payson) is worried about the strange activities in the house next door to the house Jack bought leading to the haunted rumours. She wishes to warn Jack and she also telephones the police to investigate. Jack and Betty drive to their house to get to the bottom of the rumours.

When the gang goes to the wrong house that is occupied by the Nazi spies, Emil and his gang pull out all stops to scare the boys into believing the house is haunted. The scheme backfires when the boys hide in the cellar where they discover a printing press with leaflets from the New Order entitled "How to destroy the Allies". As Jack and Betty and the police arrive the gang takes on Emil and his spy ring and win.

In the end, Betty, Jack, and the East Side Kids are all forced to spend the newlyweds' Honeymoon stuck in their new home, under Quarantine, when Glimpy comes down with German Measles (his face is decorated with swastikas).


The East Side Kids

Additional cast


The film was originally called Ghosts in the Night, which had also been the working title for Spooks Run Wild, the first time Lugosi worked with the East Side Kids. The film was a "special" from Monogram. They borrowed Ava Gardner from MGM (then best known as having been married to Mickey Rooney) to play the female lead.[2]

Filming began February 8, 1943. Exactly ten days earlier, producer Jack Dietz was sentenced to seven months in jail for tax evasion.[3]

The title was changed to Ghosts on the Loose in April 1943.[4]

  • Later on in the film, when The East Side Kids, Rick Vallin, and Ava Gardner are waiting for the cops, Muggs says, "They should be here any minute". Glimpy responds by saying, "Who?", to which Muggs says, "Oh, he's on first". This is an obvious reference to the vaudeville routine Who's on First, made famous during this period by Abbott and Costello.
  • Set in the United States home front during World War II, Muggs accuses Scruno of having hallucinations due to drinking too much coffee. Glimpy eagerly asks "Where did you get it?" due to the rationing of coffee from 1942 onwards.
  • This was Bill Bates' only East Side Kids film.
  • Last official East Side Kids film for Bobby Jordan (Danny), "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison (Scruno), and Stanley Clements (Stash). Jordan would later make a guest appearance as himself in the East Side Kids film Bowery Champs, and would eventually rejoin the group for the first eight films in the series The Bowery Boys. Morrison would return briefly as 'Scruno' in Follow the Leader (his scenes were actually unused footage from a previous East Side Kids film). Clements would not work with the boys again until 1956, when he was brought in to replace Leo Gorcey as the leader of The Bowery Boys.
  • Gabriel Dell and Dave Durand are absent.
  • Leo Gorcey's wife Kay Marvis appears as a bridesmaid during the wedding scenes.


The Los Angeles Times called the film "a feeble and cheaply produced bit of unenticing nothingness."[5]



  1. Hayes, David and Brent Walker (1984). The Films of The Bowery Boys. Secaucus, NJ: Citadel Press.
  2. DRAMA: Ava Gardner Awarded Lead in Film Thriller MacMurray in Musical Johnson to Go Romantic Wartime Novelty Slated Lavery Signs at R.K.O. College Talent Sought Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 09 Feb 1943: 9.
  3. Tom Weaver, Poverty Row Horrors, McFarland p 120
  4. Of Local Origin New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 10 Apr 1943: 12.
  5. Here Is a Film Which Left Our Reviewer Cold Smith, Cecil. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 15 July 1943: 17.
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