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Shoot the Works

Shoot the Works(1934)

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This film's working titles were The Great Magoo and Thank Your Stars. According to New York Times, "Shoot the Works" was originally the title of a revue written by Heywood Broun (New York, 21 July 1931) and Paramount adopted the title for this film. As reported in Daily Variety, as a publicity stunt, Paramount sent a print of this film to Washington, D.C. for screening on the inaugural voyage of American Airlines' service between Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. The film opened in Washington, D.C. on July 6, 1934. According to Variety, the songs "Take a Lesson from the Lark" and "Good Old Wintertime" were credited on the reviewer's program but were not performed in the film. Although Paul Cavanagh's character is listed as "Bill Ritchie" in the credits, he is called "Alvin Ritchie" in the film. The Variety review states, "Stripped of its inside show stuff the story is thin but Producer Al Lewis has fortified that with some smart realizations. The pole-sitter; the inside of a vaude agent's office; the chowmeinery from which Bernie graduates into the hotcha collegiate nitery, called the Varsity, and finally into the swank Russe nite club, are other settings that lend themselves nicely to staging. There's also some authentic, albeit brief midway and carny atmosphere." This film marks radio personality Ben Bernie's screen debut. Bernie, known to network radio audiences as "The Old Maestro," had one of radio's most popular variety shows in the 1930s. He was famous for his standard opening line, "Yowsah, yowsah. Greetings and salutations, my friends," and his closing line, "pleasant dreeeams." Bernie and Walter Winchell's radio "feud," a publicity stunt (parodied in this film) reportedly made Bernie a household name across America. A sampling of Bernie's jabs, as quoted in a modern source, reads as follows: "I don't know why all them oil companies have to go to Ethiopia for gas when it would be just so easy to lay a pipeline direct to Winchell!" Shoot the Works was remade by Paramount in 1939 as Some Like It Hot starring Bob Hope (see below). The remake is not related to the Tony Curtis-Jack Lemmon hit of 1959.