Three Guys Named Mike

Three Guys Named Mike is a 1951 American romantic comedy film directed by Charles Walters and starring Jane Wyman, Van Johnson, Howard Keel, and Barry Sullivan.[2] Originally released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the film entered the public domain in the United States because the claimants did not renew its copyright registration in the 28th year after publication.[3]

Three Guys Named Mike
Directed byCharles Walters
Produced byArmand Deutsch
Screenplay bySidney Sheldon
Story byRuth Brooks Flippen
Based onSuggestions by Ethel "Pug" Wells
Music byBronislau Kaper
CinematographyPaul C. Vogel
Edited byIrvine Warburton
Distributed by
Release date
  • March 1, 1951 (1951-03-01)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2,230,000[1]

Described as a "lighthearted and lightweight story" by Turner Classic Movies, Three Guys Named Mike chronicles the story of an airline stewardess (the term at that time) and her three suitors.[2]


Marcy Lewis is a young woman from Indiana with an ambition to become an airline stewardess and see the world. She takes an American Airlines training course and passes. Her first flight is nearly her last when, after inadvertently offending the pilot, Mike Jamison, she forgets the passengers' food. Mike's intervention earns Marcy a second chance.

Marcy's home base is moved to Los Angeles and she finds an apartment with one friend from stewardess school. She meets a passenger, Mike Lawrence, who is a graduate research student in science, then also nearly loses her job again by permitting a young passenger to keep her dog in the cabin, against the airline's rules. Marcy is suspended for a week.

When a man named Mike Tracy helps give her stalled car a push, Marcy learns that he works for a Chicago advertising agency. An idea of hers, to let stewardesses endorse soap, pleases Tracy's client, and soon Marcy is invited by a photographer to pose for magazine ads herself.

When all three show up to help Marcy move into her new bungalow she is now sharing with three of her friends from stewardess training, she tries to keep the Mikes straight. Marcy names her male companions, Mike for Mike Tracey, Mikey for Mike Lawrence and Michael for Mike Jamison. All of them are jealous of each other and vie for Marcy's attention.

During a party later at her bungalow, Marcy is called away when her photographer requests one more picture to send out with the rest of the ad campaign for approval. Marcy finds herself dressed in a very short sarong, totally unlike the regulation company uniform in which all the other pictures were taken. The photographer also is only interested in fixing her a drink and having her relax on the cushion placed on the floor which is part of the props. She objects strenuously, but he is not hearing her.

The three Mikes arrive in time to start a brawl, which makes the newspapers and gets both Marcy and her pilot friend suspended from their jobs, as well as costing Mikey his account. Mike's job as a graduate research student and consideration for a special fellowship award for an outstanding scientist, is in jeopardy. The award would get him a teaching position at the college, and allow him to continue his research there as well.

Marcy goes to the superiors of all three men personally to plead for their reinstatement. After she is successful, all three Mikes propose marriage to her. Not positive what to do, Marcy reacts favorably to Mike Lawrence's "I love you," and the other two Mikes concede that he is the guy for her.



The credits state that Three Guys Named Mike was "based on the story by Ruth Brooks Flippen, from suggestions made by Ethel 'Pug' Wells" (later, Davies). Contemporary publicity states that Wells was a flight attendant for American Airlines; she appeared in a bit part in one scene, playing herself. She is also credited as "Technical Advisor."

Since Jane Wyman was a major star at that time, her co-stars were equally notable, with Van Johnson being one of MGM's leading actors and Keel having recently achieved stardom in Annie Get Your Gun.[4] American Airlines provided advertising in the film and allowed the producers of the film to use American Airlines aircraft for no charge; during that time aircraft were considered to be expensive props in films. Some early scenes in the film portrayed the training given at the American Airlines school for flight attendants. Sidney Sheldon wrote the screenplay.[2]

American Airlines Douglas DC-6 and Convair 240 airliners were featured in Three Guys Named Mike.[5]


Three Guys Named Mike earned an estimated $1,707,000 at the US/Canadian box office[6] and $523,000 elsewhere, resulting in a profit to MGM of $577,000.[1]

Reviewer Bosley Crowther of The New York Times criticized Three Guys Named Mike, stating that "for services rendered in the advertising line, that company should award her a gold star (its advertising is all over the film), but if she's still hostessing, it should keep an eye on her. We suspect she spends too much time reading those leather-bound slick magazines rather than attending to the business of serving her real-life passengers" in relation to the glamorized portrayal of airline travel.

Turner Classic Movies points out that many other critics gave a positive reception to the film.[2]



  1. "The Eddie Mannix Ledger." Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study (Los Angeles).
  2. "Articles: 'Three Guys Named Mike'." 'Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: December 22, 2008.
  3. Pierce, David. "Forgotten faces: Why some of our cinema heritage is part of the public domain." Film History: An International Journal, Volume 19, Issue 2, June 2007, pp. 125–143. ISSN 0892-2160.
  4. Morella and Epstein 1985, p. 157.
  5. Santoir, Christian. "Vebnus in Uniform: Three Guys Named Mike." Aeromovies. RetrievedL January 24, 2017.
  6. 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1951', Variety, January 2, 1952


  • Morella, Joe and Edward Z. Epstein. Jane Wyman: A Biography. New York: Delacorte Press, 1985. ISBN 978-0-3852-9402-7.
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