Knock on Wood (1954 film)

This article is about the 1954 American comedy. For the 1981 French comedy, see La Chèvre.
Knock on Wood
Promotional poster for the film
Directed by Melvin Frank
Norman Panama
Produced by Melvin Frank
Norman Panama
Written by Melvin Frank
Norman Panama
Starring Danny Kaye
Mai Zetterling
Torin Thatcher
David Burns
Leon Askin
Music by Sylvia Fine
Cinematography Daniel L. Fapp
Editing by Alma Macrorie
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) April 14, 1954 (1954-04-14)
Running time 103 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $3.5 million (US)[1]

Knock on Wood is a 1954 comedy starring Danny Kaye and Mai Zetterling. Other actors in the film include Torin Thatcher, David Burns, and Leon Askin. The film was written and directed by Melvin Frank and Norman Panama, with songs by Kaye's wife, Sylvia Fine.


Jerry Morgan (Kaye) is a ventriloquist who is having trouble with love: just when his relationship with a woman gets around to marriage, his dummy turns jealous and spoils everything. Jerry's manager Marty threatens to quit unless Jerry sees a psychiatrist, Ilse Nordstrom (Zetterling), who tries to discover the source of his problem. The two of them eventually fall in love.

At the same time, Jerry becomes unwittingly intertwined with spies and has to run from the police. In his escape, he finds himself impersonating a British car salesman, trying to demonstrate a new convertible with loads of bells and whistles. Later on, he finds himself on stage in the middle of the performance of an exotic ballet.

Production notes

The film features dialogue with linguistic play (particularly the names of the dummies "Clarence" and "Terrence" and the Slavic names of the spies) which would also be a feature of Kaye's later film The Court Jester (likewise written and directed by Frank and Panama).

The title song "Knock on Wood" should not be confused with "Everybody Thinks I'm Crazy" from the 1941 cartoon entitled Woody Woodpecker, starring the character of the same name; or the song "Knock on Wood" from the 1942 film, Casablanca (with music by M.K. Jerome and lyrics by Jack Scholl). Kaye performed renditions of both the title song from Knock on Wood and "The Woody Woodpecker Song," which are found on the album The Best of Danny Kaye [Spectrum, 2000].


  • Danny Kaye as Jerry Morgan and his father
  • Mai Zetterling as Doctor Ilse Nordstrom
  • Torin Thatcher as Godfrey Langston, the film evil
  • David Burns as Marty Brown, Jerrys Manager
  • Leon Askin as Lazlo Gromek, a spion
  • Abner Biberman as Maurice Papinek, a spion
  • Otto Waldis as Brodnik, a spion
  • Gavin Gordon as a Car Salesman
  • Steven Geray as Doctor Krüger
  • Diana Adams as Princess Maya
  • Patricia Denise as Jerrys Mother
  • Virginia Houston as Audrey Greene
  • Paul England as the Chief Inspector Wilton
  • Johnstone White as Langstons Secretary
  • Henry Brandon as the Man with a Trenchcoat
  • Lewis Martin as Inspector Crawford

DVD release

Knock on Wood was issued as a region 2 DVD in March 2009, and is on sale through Amazon UK.


External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • AllRovi
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.