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How To Be Very, Very Popular

How To Be Very, Very Popular(1955)


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After burlesque dancers Stormy Tornado and Curly Flagg finish performing in a San Francisco strip club, they are followed on stage by headliner Cherry Blossom Wang. While dancing, Cherry Blossom is shot and killed by a bald man, who escapes through the window in Stormy and Curly's dressing room. Having been threatened by the killer, Stormy and Curly are unwilling to go to the police and, still wearing their skimpy costumes, exit through the same window. With their costumes covered by overcoats, the two blondes board a bus but have only enough money to reach College City, near Los Angeles. Pouring rain and hunger force the women to seek shelter, and as they peer through a window, they spot a woman devouring a large salami. Stormy sneaks into the building first, but before she finds the woman, she is tempted by the scent of fried chicken and enters the room of Fillmore "Wedge" Wedgewood, a student in his late thirties. Wedge explains to Stormy that she is in a men's dormitory at Bristol College and, having seen the headlines about the murder and the missing witnesses, deduces her identity. Stormy calls Curly's father Cedric for help, but the addled Cedric does not understand and hangs up. Frustrated, Stormy beckons to Curly, but when Curly sneaks into the dorm, she is distracted by Eddie Jones, who is attempting to hypnotize his roommate, Toby Marshall. Eddie's amateur efforts fail on Toby but work on Curly, and the young men are amazed to see the stranger standing in their doorway. Eddie realizes what has happened and kisses the somnolent Curly, although Toby declines his turn and suggests that they ask for help. Stating that he wants to test Curly for scientific reasons, Eddie plants a hypnotic suggestion that whenever she hears the word "Salome," Curly is to dance. Wedge and Stormy eventually find Curly in Eddie's room and there learn of her condition. Irritated by Eddie's callousness, Wedge orders him to break the trance, and when Eddie refuses, Wedge threatens to destroy the diploma that Eddie forged for Toby, who was expelled four months earlier. Unwilling to lose the money that Toby paid for the diploma, Eddie agrees, and Toby then asks if he can have the kiss he declined earlier before Eddie brings Curly out of her trance. An earthquake rocks the college while Toby and Curly are kissing, and the stimulus prompts the couple to fall in love. Eddie then attempts to awaken Curly but fails. The next morning, Wedge reads a newspaper account identifying an insane, bald barber as Cherry Blossom's killer, and reporting that the witnesses have been seen at the college. Wedge relays the news to Stormy, who is protecting the still-hypnotized Curly in an empty dorm room. When Stormy questions whether his concern is for her or himself, Wedge admits that as long as he is in college, he is supported by a trust fund, and that his "gravy train" will be cut off if he is expelled. Believing that Stormy needs better protection, Wedge visits the college's president, Dr. Tweed, but Tweed is preoccupied with a letter he has received from B. J. Marshall, Toby's wealthy father. Unaware that Toby has been expelled, Marshall has offered to give the school a large endowment at Toby's graduation. After Wedge leaves, a bald San Francisco police sergeant named Moon arrives and receives permission to search the campus. At the dorm, when house mother Miss "Syl" Sylvester enters Eddie's room, she finds Toby embracing Curly. Eddie explains Curly's presence by stating that she is Toby's stepmother and is behaving oddly because of jet-lag. Fearing that Tweed will discover the lie, Toby retreats to his basement hideout, while at Tweed's office, the president welcomes the just-arrived, bald-headed Marshall. Tweed pretends that Toby has been a model student, though Marshall is upset to hear that the shy youth has not been socially active. Miss Syl interrupts Tweed to inform him that Toby's mother is in Eddie's room, and Tweed dashes off to the dormitory. There, Eddie has convinced Curly that she is a rich socialite and must be nice to Tweed for Toby's sake. Following Eddie's instructions, Curly strokes Tweed's hand and sits in his lap, much to his bewilderment. Believing that Curly knows about Toby's predicament, Tweed is asking her not to tell Marshall when Marshall pokes his head in the room. Not recognizing Curly, Marshall leaves, but an aghast Tweed chases him. Soon after, Wedge searches for Curly and Stormy, only to discover that they have left the dorm. Outside, as the students prepare for graduation, Cedric, who is bald, arrives to find Curly, and is arrested, along with Marshall, on suspicion of being the killer. The men are released in time for the graduation ceremony, during which Curly, still in her trance, ascends the stage, and Stormy, hoping to avoid the police, joins her. During the ceremony, a speaker mentions the Battle of Salamis, and Curly, believing that he said "Salome," begins to dance wildly around the stage. The students are appreciative of Curly's talents, while in the audience, the bald barber recognizes her and shoots in her direction. After his first shot misses, the barber is subdued by Moon, although chaos ensues when he escapes and is pursued by the police. A frightened Stormy seeks refuge with Wedge in Eddie's room, while Eddie finds Curly and takes her to Toby's basement. When Wedge sees Cedric approaching, he knocks him unconscious, but Stormy does not recognize him as either the killer or Curly's father. Wedge also knocks out Marshall, then drags him to Miss Syl's room. When Marshall awakens, he learns from Miss Syl that Toby was expelled for leading a panty raid, and Marshall is thrilled by his son's shenanigans. Meanwhile, in the basement, Curly snaps out of her trance exactly twenty-four hours after Eddie hynotized her. Curly is suspicous of Toby's claim that he loves her, but as he kisses her, another earthquake hits, and she remembers that she loves him, too. Curly and Stormy then exit the building with their boyfriends, but are arrested by the police. At the police station, the women are protesting their predicament when Moon informs the officials that he has captured the barber. After Stormy and Curly identify the murderer, they board a bus with the celebrating college students. All appears to be going well until Eddie, attempting to hypnotize a redhead, mistakenly hypnotizes Stormy and Curly instead.