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As Hedda Hopper's acting career was guttering in the mid-30s (she would rebound as one of Hollywood's preeminent gossip columnists), the stock of her actor son DeWolf Hopper, Jr. was rising. Eventually trading in his tony birth name for something more modest, the strapping William Hopper had bit parts at Columbia, Republic, and Paramount Pictures but got to play the occasional lead at Warner Brothers - as in Nick Grinde's sideshow comedy Public Wedding (1937) and Noel Smith's college football farce Over the Goal (1937). Produced during the summer of 1937 as Block That Kick, Over the Goal showcases the 22 year-old Hopper (later dependable private eye Paul Drake of TV's long-running Perry Mason) as Ken Thomas, star player for struggling Carlton College, whose continued existence depends on gridiron glory. When Ken's doctor informs him that he must quit the team or risk permanent injury, the school's future seems dim until Ken's love for a pretty girl (June Travis, fresh from the RKO football comedy The Big Game ) sends him back onto the field in the nick of time. Hopper acquits himself well in this rare lead role but Over the Goal is stolen from him by supporting players Hattie McDaniel and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson (as comic college caretakers), while Jane Wyman and Carole Landis turn up in unbilled bits as campus coeds.
By Richard Harland Smith