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The Great American Broadcast

The Great American Broadcast(1941)


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In 1919, former AEF pilot Rix Martin becomes friends with telephone lineman Chuck Hadley after Chuck aids him in a losing battle to save his airport. Chuck shows Rix his radio equipment and introduces him to his girl friend, singer Vicki Adams. When Chuck expresses his desire to use the radio for entertainment, Rix proposes that they give a concert to interest the public in radio, and that when more receivers are sold as a result, approach the manufacturing companies for a percentage of the profits. When Chuck and Vicki say that they do not have the money for the broadcast, Rix obtains it from millionaire playboy Bruce Chadwick, with whom he served in France. On the night of the broadcast, a rainstorm interferes with their transmission and delays the arrival of their main attraction, opera singer Madame Rinaldi. Their broadcast is a disaster, but Rix does not give up, stating that they need an angle to interest the country in their idea. Rix hits upon a scheme to broadcast the Jess Willard-Jack Dempsey fight that is to take place in Toledo, Ohio on the Fourth of July, and soon all the arrangements are made. While setting up their equipment, Rix comments to Chuck that there should be radio stations every 200 miles that could connect the country coast-to-coast, but Chuck replies that it could not work due to static caused by weather conditions. Rix then goes outside and meets Vicki, and an impulsive kiss prompts them to admit that they love each other. They decide to tell Chuck, who has always had stronger feelings for Vicki than she has had for him, but he sees them kissing and avoids them. Although the broadcast is a huge success, the partnership is disbanded when Chuck punches Rix for stealing Vicki. Chuck and Bruce set up the largest radio station in New York, while Rix and Vicki, after they are married, struggle along with their under-equipped station. Some time later, Bruce offers Vicki a contract to sing at his station, but she declines and convinces him to secretly co-sign a bank loan so that Rix can update their station. When Rix finds out, however, he accuses Vicki of double-crossing him and leaves for South America. A year passes as Vicki becomes the number one attraction of Bruce and Chuck's station, and because she has received no word from Rix, she agrees to divorce him and marry Bruce. Chuck, knowing that Vicki still loves Rix, determines to get him back, and sees his opportunity when he realizes that long-distance telephone lines will enable radio stations to connect coast-to-coast, just as Rix had envisioned. Chuck sends press releases to South America claiming sole responsibility for the idea, and his scheme succeeds in bringing Rix to New York on the night of the first coast-to-coast broadcast. Despite his initial suspicions, Rix is won over when Chuck gives him full credit for the idea on the air. Bruce gracefully bows out when Rix and Vicki are reunited, while Chuck finds romance with his secretary.