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When the Harvard Lampoon bestows a "special award" on nightclub owner "Slapsie" Maxie Rosenbloom, Maxie's friends, Francie Callahan, the cashier and general manager of his club, and sportswriter Hypo McGonigle, suspect that their friend is being made the butt of a joke. Their fears are realized when Harrison Carey, the chief editor of the Lampoon , presents Maxie with an award for "Supreme Pediculousness." Unaware that he has just been honored for being infested with lice, Maxie graciously accepts. The next morning, Maxie's humiliation is reported by all the newspapers, but rather than becoming angry, Maxie decides to enroll at Harvard and become educated. At Harvard, Maxie meets professor Nickajack Alvin, the head of the Antediluvian Department. Convinced that Maxie is the "missing link," Alvin conducts a series of tests to prove that the club owner is a throwback to the caveman. Satisfied with the results, Alvin offers Maxie $1,500 a year plus room and board in exchange for further testing of his mental abilities. Flattered, Maxie accepts the offer and soon afer, Hypo arrives at Harvard on a one-year newspaper scholarship. Maxie, meanwhile, has won the admiration of the undergraduates as well as the heart of Zella Phipps, a broad-shouldered amazon. When Alvin announces that his tests have determined that Maxie is the country's number one moron, Maxie is ordained as the arbiter of taste for the other twenty-three million morons in the country. Realizing that Maxie's endorsement is worth millions, business offers pour in from manufacturers anxious to have him bless their products, and Maxie signs a contract with one shrewd promoter for one thousand dollars a week. Riding the crest of his success, Maxie decides to open a College Inn near the Harvard campus and sends for Francie to help him. Furious that Maxie has signed a contract without her approval, Francie extricates him from his business arrangement and then forms a corporation known as Twenty Million Jerks, Inc. When Alvin completes his tests, he offers Maxie an "extraordinary diploma." Maxie, realizing that the amorous Zella would never wed an uneducated man, declines the professor's offer, thus terminating Zella's interest in marrying him. At the opening of the College Inn, Maxie announces that he is endowing a School for Morons at Harvard and congratulates Francie and Hypo on their engagement.