The Miracle of “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek”

How did this movie get released in 1944? Just be glad it did.

John I. Carney
4 min readJan 13, 2023

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Scene from “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek,” with the police chief’s two daughters tying him up. Diana Lynn, William Demarest, Betty Hutton.
Diana Lynn, William Demarest and Betty Hutton in “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek”

When I wrote my recent classic-era movie guide, I thought about including “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek,” but at that point I already had two other movies directed by Preston Sturges (“The Lady Eve” and “Sullivan’s Travels”), and thought I probably didn’t need to try to shoehorn in a third one.

Anyway, a post about “Morgan’s Creek” turned up in my Facebook memories today, and I decided it was time to mention this gem once again.
“The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek” may be that the movie was made or released at all. It came out in February 1944, during World War II, and it includes situations which, while innocuous by today’s standards, are quite unlike what the Hays Office, which regulated the content of movies during the Golden Age, would normally have allowed.

The film is set in a small town from which a number of soldiers are about to ship out. Trudy Kockenlocker (Betty Hutton) is the oldest daughter of the town’s widowed police chief (Sturges regular William Demarest). Norval Jones (Eddie Bracken) worships the ground Trudy walks on, but Trudy has friend-zoned him. Norval is of draft age but is 4-F and ineligible to enlist.
A party is announced to celebrate the soldiers on the night before their departure. Trudy wants to go, but her father strictly forbids it. So Trudy uses Norval, who picks her up for what he thinks is a date, only to have Trudy make him drop her off at the party.

We only see a few seconds of the party, but we know one thing — Trudy has a little too much to drink. Scratch that; Trudy has had way too much to drink.

In any case, the next morning, Norval is in trouble for keeping her out too late (and obviously can’t tell the chief the real story). Trudy is hung over, with only a hazy recollection of the party. The trouble is, as she is talking to her sister Emmy (Diana Lynn), her hazy recollection includes her getting married to one of the departing soldiers. She can’t quite remember his name — it’s something like “Ratzkywatzky” — or anything else about him, and anyway, they both had to put fake names on the license for important national security reasons.

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John I. Carney

Author of “Dislike: Faith and Dialogue in the Age of Social Media,” available at http://www.lakeneuron.com/dislike