powered by AFI
DVDs from TCM Shop
When Navy sailor Johnny Webster comes ashore with his pals for a twenty-four hour leave in the Los Angeles area, he calls his father "Pop" at Paramount studios. Pop, a former silent movie Western star known as "Bronco Billy," has told Johnny that he is the executive vice-president in charge of production at Paramount, because he is too embarrassed to admit that he is only the gateman. Switchboard operator Polly Judson helps Pop keep up the farce by pretending to be his secretary every time Johnny calls, and has fallen in love with Johnny just from his photo. In order to maintain the ruse, Polly calls Sarah, the secretary to B. G. De Soto, the real executive producer, and tells her that De Soto has taken ill and wants her to work at his house. When Johnny, Hi-Pockets and the other sailors arrive, they meet Pop, wearing a beret and a natty suit, and Polly, in De Soto's office. The sailors are impressed by Pop's position, especially when performer Cass Daley comes in for an audition. Pop makes a mess of De Soto's office by unintentionally pressing automatic buttons that turn on the fans and display the hidden bar. When famous director Cecil B. DeMille telephones to ask De Soto's advice on some new footage he sent him, Pop tells him it stinks. Outraged, DeMille shows up at De Soto's office, and Polly, Pop and the sailors run out. De Soto, meanwhile, arrives at the studio but is blocked from entering by the guard, who is under orders from Polly, who also has told De Soto that he was fired that morning. Polly, Pop and the sailors slip into a screening room where director Preston Sturges is viewing a musical number featuring Dick Powell and Mary Martin. Believing that De Soto is with the group, Sturges runs the film for them, and is extremely insulted when he finishes and De Soto has apparently slipped out. The group next stops at a sound stage where a big music and dance sequence is being shot, but when Hi-Pockets is unable to contain himself any longer and starts dancing with singer Dona Drake, director Ralph Murphy throws them off the set. In order to avoid being caught out of uniform, Pop takes the day off and shows the sailors around town, and casually mentions that he would have put on a star-studded performance for the sailors if only they had more shore leave. Johnny, Hi-Pockets and the others finally return to the ship, and Johnny asks the captain's permission to marry Polly. Although the captain grants permission, he cannot allow any more shore leave as he is waiting for orders. When Johnny mentions that his prestigious father offered to put on a variety show, the captain agrees to allow all the soldiers to go to the canteen auditorium the next night for the show. The next morning, Johnny calls Polly and tells her the "good" news, and Polly is terrified that she is now expected to fulfill Pop's idle promise. She immediately gets to work impersonating Sarah and asking Bob Hope to commit his evening to the benefit, but De Soto catches her and Pop in his office and fires them both. Pop is disconsolate, but Polly refuses to give up, and beseeches Hope and Bing Crosby to do the benefit for Pop's sake. Both actors agree and offer to enlist other stars on the lot. At 4:30 in the afternoon, De Soto is astonished when he sees all of his highly-paid stars leaving early, and follows them to the auditorium. At six o'clock, as Pop goes on stage to apologize to the soldiers for failing them, Bing Crosby and a host of other big names appear behind him, and the show begins, with Bob Hope as the emcee. When Johnny learns that De Soto has arrived with the intention of stopping the show, he and the sailors bind and gag him. During the performance, De Soto escapes but is unable to interrupt the proceedings. The head of all production, Y. Frank Fremont, then arrives, and when Polly confesses all, he is delighted by her and Pop's ingenuity and offers to rehire them both. The sailors are called to duty, and Johnny gives Polly his ring and a farewell kiss, as Bing Crosby finishes with a patriotic song dedicated to the American flag.