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Mister Gardenia Jones (1942)

Documentary short film depicting the work of the United Service Organizations (USO) in providing recreational and morale-boosting services for American troops.


George B. Seitz


Carey Wilson
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Ronald Reagan ... John Jones Jr. (aka Gardenia 'Deany' Jones)
Laraine Day ... Joanne
Charles Winninger ... John Jones
Fay Bainter ... Emmy Jones
Chill Wills ... Hotel Employee


In a typical American household on a quiet Sunday morning, we meet John and Emmy Jones. Their son John Junior, whom they call Deany and whose friends call Gardenia, is an army lieutenant. He's engaged to their neighbor Joann. We find out how he got his nicknames and that he's stationed in Hawaii at Hickam Field. It's December 7, 1941. How did he get there? We see him enlist months before December 7, then he's stationed in a little town with nothing to do. Emmy worries that her son's boredom will bring bitterness about his service, so she and others form the USO. Back in Hawaii, Jones pilots a plane, engaging Japan's air force. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Short







Release Date:

29 May 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mr. Gardenia Jones See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The USO says it needs to raise $32M in this film. That would be the equivalent of $473M in 2016. See more »

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User Reviews

Reagan WW2 short
4 April 2009 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Mister Gardenia Jones (1942)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Ronald Reagan stars in this Oscar-nominated short from writer/narrator Carey Wilson. In the film Reagan plays the title character, a young man who joins the Army in early 1941 hoping for something to do. He soon realizes that all he and thousands of other soldiers can do is sit around waiting for something to happen and it does when Pearl Harbor is attacked. This film is certainly adventurous as it tries to do a lot in its 13-minute running time. On one level it tries to be a documentary while on another level it wants to tell a simple story. Then, on yet another level, the movie wants to be a fund raiser asking for people to dip into their pockets and give money. All in all the film is fairly entertaining with the young Reagan taking the lead and giving a decent performance. Getting to see Reagan is the main reason to watch this film as there were countless WW2 films made during this period and several of them are better than this one.

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