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Fred Finklehoffe was a presence on the Broadway stage and the Hollywood silver screen for nearly 25 years. As a college student, Finklehoffe collaborated with John Monks, Jr. on Brother Rat, a stage comedy parodying rowdy college life. It proved to be a hit on Broadway in 1936. Finklehoffe later adapted it for the screen and followed it up with a sequel, Brother Rat and a Baby. Under contract to the MGM studio, he wrote screenplays for a series of important musicals, including Strike Up the Band, For Me and My Gal, and Meet Me in St. Louis. In 1944 he was nominated for an Oscar for the script of Meet Me In St. Louis. Many of his films featured a young Judy Garland, who became a close friend. Finklehoffe also co-wrote and produced the 1947 film, The Egg and I, which featured the first appearance of the popular Ma and Pa Kettle characters. Finklehoffe returned to Broadway in the late 1940s to produce a number of plays, including The Heiress in 1947.
Fred Finklehoffe, image courtesy of the Billy Rose Theater Collection, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, the Astor, Lennox and Tilden Foundation.
Connection to Bucks County
Finklehoffe moved to a farm Bursonville Road in Springtown in 1939 when the Bucks County Playhouse was presenting its premier production, and kept the property until his death in 1977. He was friendly with the other writers affiliated with the playhouse including Jack Kirkland (who was also a neighbor). Lassie author, Eric Knight was also a neighbor in Springtown. He worked with Augustus and Ruth Goetz while producing their hit Broadway play, The Heiress, in 1947. Ezra Stone was in Finklehoffe's first Broadway success, Brother Rat and Stone, and later directed At War With the Army which Finklehoffe wrote for both stage and screen.
Brother Rat and a Baby, 1940
Strike Up The Band, with John Monks Jr., 1940
Babes on Broadway, co-author, 1941
For Me and My Gal, co-author, 1942
Meet Me in St. Louis, co-author, 1944
Mr. Ace, 1947
The Egg and I, co-author, co-producer, 1947
Words and Music, 1948
At War With the Army, 1950
The Stooge, co-author 1952
Brother Rat, co-authored with John Monks Jr, 1938
Hi Ya, John Monks Jr. and Sid Silvers, 1940
The Heiress, producer, 1947
The Traitor, co-producer, 1949
The Affairs of State, co-producer, 1950
Ankles Aweigh, co-producer, director
Hide and Seek, co-producer
Show Time producer, 1942
Laugh Time, producer, 1942
Academy Award Nomination, Best Screenplay with Irving Brecher for Meet Me in St. Louis, 1944
National Board of Review, 7th Best English-Language Film, 1944
National Award of Review/D.W. Griffith Award
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