Karen Bentley (Carroll) is a British secret agent carrying a scorpion stickpin that contains classified information on the planned route for a flight of Lockheed bombers from America to Britain. Nazi agents are trying to kill her almost as soon as she steps off the boat in New York, and while Karen is on the run, she stumbles into a vaudeville theater and the dressing room for Larry Haines (Hope), a comedian who has a stage act starring himself and his trained penguin, Percy. Karen ropes Larry into helping her, and romance and comedy ensue as they travel cross-country to Los Angeles with the classified info, murderous Nazi agents in pursuit.
Bob Hope had been raving about Madeleine Carroll on his radio show ever since seeing her in Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps in 1935. Thus it was only appropriate that after Carroll came to Hollywood, she would co-star with Hope. In fact, this film is basically a comedic remake of Hitchcock's version of The 39 Steps. The popularity of this movie led Hope to star in similar comic spy films, My Favorite Brunette and My Favorite Spy.
- Action Prologue: The opening scene features a Nazi bad guy shooting a British agent on the boat, followed by the dying British agent giving the stickpin to Karen.
- The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In: It certainly does when a Nazi assassin flings a dagger, narrowly missing Larry but sticking fast in the door.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: As Larry is kissing Karen at the end, he looks at the camera and says "Quite an improvement." This is a reference to the Road to ... pictures, in which it was always Bing Crosby and never Hope who got Dorothy Lamour.
- Brief Accent Imitation: Karen is pretty good at assuming a loud American accent.
- The Cameo: Bing Crosby as a Teamster who gives Hope directions.
- Celebrity Paradox: In one scene Larry turns on the radio and hears Bob Hope's radio show.Larry: I can't stand that guy.
- Comforting Comforter: Larry puts his coat over Karen while she's sleeping on the roof.
- Conscience Makes You Go Back: A remorseful Karen tells Larry to make his escape and get out of this situation while they are hiding out on a roof. Larry starts down the stairs before changing his mind and going back—although as he admits to himself, it might be less about his conscience and more about how good-looking Karen is.
- Creepy Mortician: Larry and Karen's rendezvous with the British agent in Los Angeles takes place at a funeral home, and a suitably creepy mortician greets them. He's in league with the bad guys.
- Cut Phone Lines: Larry and Karen find this out when they are trapped inside the Chicago apartment where they were supposed to meet the next British courier. Unable to call for help and unable to leave with Nazi killers lurking outside, they wind up staging a brawl loud enough to bring the cops to the apartment.
- Follow That Car: "Follow that cab!" says Larry when Karen takes off with his suitcase. Unfortunately the cab then takes off without him in it.
- I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin: A British agent gets shot but manages to pass the stickpin on to Carroll shortly before the boat docks in New York.
- Indecisive Parody: Nonstop jokes from Hope, a cute penguin waddling around—but after all, there are actual Nazi agents trying to kill the heroes.
- Literal Ass-Kicking: Larry to Karen during the fake fight staged to bring police.
- Lovable Coward: Hope's standard role. He steps up when it matters, but he's still terrified.
- MacGuffin: A particularly nonsensical one. Karen tells Larry that she can't just transmit the routing data for the bomber flight over the telephone because it's encrypted—which of course does not explain why the RAF back in England can't just transmit the data.
- Meet Cute: Karen barging into Larry's dressing room, and then making advances towards him to get him to help her.
- Ominous Fog: Plenty of it in the opening scene as the ship pulls into port in New York.
- Road Trip Plot: Larry and Karen traveling from New York to Los Angeles by train, bus, stolen plane, and stolen car, chased by Nazis the whole way.
- Whole-Plot Reference: A parody of Hitchcock's The 39 Steps, including a scene where the male lead is roped into making a speech while fleeing from the bad guys.