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One in a Million

One in a Million(1937)

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This was the first film of Sonja Henie, who won the gold medal for figure skating at the 1928, 1932 and 1936 Olympics, and according to a news item, won more championships than any other single athlete in history. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, the studio paid Henie $60,000 to be in this picture. According to a June 1937 New York Times article, when Henie first quoted $75,000 as her price to be in a film, no studio accepted the offer. She then hired an ice rink and put on a few evening shows, in which she made $28,000, $8,000 of which she donated to charity. With proof of her drawing power, she approached Darryl Zanuck, and he agreed to the figure she desired. After making this film, Henie attempted to arrange a tour of the skating rinks of the country, but promoters balked at her demanded guarantee of $10,000 a night. Again, to prove her drawing power, she rented a rink in Hershey, PA and made $28,000 in three nights. Promoters then agreed to her terms. When she returned to Hollywood, she asked Zanuck for $100,000 a film plus additional money if shooting ran over schedule, and because of the success of One in a Million, Zanuck agreed. New York Times noted that studios which earlier ignored her, offered Fox double her salary for one film after the success of One in a Million.
       In story conference notes found in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, also at UCLA, Zanuck advised the writers, "You should give the story a smart, fresh development, and treat it like Thanks a Million [see below] rather than Sing, Baby, Sing [see below]. In other words, don't make it too hokey or too broad." According to the legal records, Diane Cook, Bonnie Bannon, June Wilkins, Clarice Sherry and Pauline Craig were borrowed from M-G-M. Georgia Spence was originally cast as one of the members of the girls' band, but she was not in the final film. In one of their musical numbers, the Ritz Brothers appear as Boris Karloff, Charles Laughton and Peter Lorre, the "horror boys from Hollywood." According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, Samuel Pokrass and Edward Cherkose contributed special material for the Ritz Brothers. Borrah Minevitch, a newcomer to films according to Motion Picture Herald, performed with his "Gang of Harmonica Rascals." According to information in the Produced Scripts Collection, Larry Adler was originally scheduled to play "Adolphe," the role that Minevitch took. According to Henie's biography, ice skating became very popular in the United States after the release of this film.