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Joe Palooka in Humphrey Takes a Chance (1950)

Approved | | Action, Comedy, Sport | 4 June 1950 (USA)
A crooked mayor and fight promoter conspire to sign slow-witted Humphrey to a contract. Their goal is to use Humphrey to get Joe Palooka to sign. As things develop, Humphrey becomes mayor.


Jean Yarbrough


Ham Fisher (characters), Jeff Anjan (screenplay)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Leon Errol ... Knobby Walsh
Joe Kirkwood Jr. ... Joe Palooka (as Joe Kirkwood)
Robert Coogan ... Humphrey Pennyworth
Lois Collier ... Anne Howe Palooka
Gil Lamb ... Martin
Tom Neal ... Gordon Rogers
Jack Kirkwood Jack Kirkwood ... Phiffeney
Mary Margaret Robinson ... Mary (as Mary Happy)
Andrew Tombes ... Sheriff Grogan
Iris Adrian ... Miss Tuttle
Chester Conklin ... Prentice
Hank Mann ... Hiram
Clarence Hennecke Clarence Hennecke ... Zeke
Heinie Conklin ... Pete
Tim Ryan ... Bentley


The Square Deal Boxing Corporation (crooked as a snake's hind leg), through Gordon Rogers, tries to make a deal with Knobby Walsh whereby it will own thirty percent of the contract with Heavyweight Champion Joe Palooka Knobby refuses, saying even in West Wokkington Falls he could stage a record bout. He only mentions the town because that is where he is going with Joe and his wife, Anne Howe Palooka, to visit their friend Humphrey Pennyworth. Rogers assumes Walsh is going to stage a bout between Palooka and Pennyworth and hastens to block it. Rogers tricks Pennyworth into signing with him for a bout and then arranges for the crooked town mayor, Phiffeny, and his cousins who run the town to erect a fight stadium. Knobby tells Humphrey that the only way to get out of his contract is a recall election replacing the present town officials with honest ones. Humphrey, the most-liked citizen agrees to run for mayor. At a campaign picnic, a child actress hired by Rogers rushes up to the ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


IT'S HAPPY HEFTY HILARIOUS HUMPHREY!...showing the champ how to fight crooks...OUTSIDE the ring! (original poster) See more »


Action | Comedy | Sport


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

4 June 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Humphrey Takes a Chance See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Monogram Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Follows Joe Palooka, Champ (1946) See more »

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User Reviews

"When I'm hungry, I can't think of much else"
21 January 2020 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

In the previous film in the series, "Joe Palooka Meets Humphrey", the series clearly had jumped the shark with the addition of the new character, Humphrey. Humphrey was essentially a cartoon character come to life....a giant of a man who constantly eats, is really annoying and is completely ill-suited to the boxing series. Here in "Joe Palooka in Humphrey Takes a Chance", the series decided to bring back Humphrey yet again...ample proof that the series had jumped the shark and would not be returning to its former glory...at least for a while.

What does 'jump the shark' mean? Well, it refers to when a movie or TV series has peaked and in a desperate attempt to revive the moribund series, they introduce some insane characters or situations that just seem ill-conceived and bizarre. A few examples would include bringing Cousin Oliver to "The Brady Bunch" and having the Fonz jump a tank of sharks on his motorcycle on "Happy Days"...and which initially spurred folks to coin the term 'jump the shark'.

When the movie begins, some mobsters are trying to horn in on Joe and Knobby...demanding 30% of the gate in order to allow him the privilege of boxing! Naturally, Knobby refuses and so the mobsters decide to try to create their own champion, as they only want to do business with other crooks.

When Joe, Anne and Knobby are driving to see their friend, Humphrey, they are arrested by a crooked cop. It turns out that the town where Humphrey lives is run by crooks....and a family of crooks at that. Well, the mobsters want to arrange a fight in this tiny town between Humphrey and Joe (even though clearly Humphrey is at least 100 pounds heavier and as big as an ox)...and somehow in all this, Humphrey ends up running for mayor in order to drive the crooks out of town.

There are a couple interesting aspects to this otherwise bad film. Monogram brought back many of the old Keystone Kops (famous in shorts during the 1910s with Keystone Studios). Additionally, unlike most previous films (which began with Knobby narrating some flashback), Joe himself introduces the story. But apart from this, the film is just bad, as silly situations and characters seem far more important than being true to the story. No better than the previous installment...and hopefully the series got back on track in subsequent films.

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