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Trocadero

Trocadero(1944)

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Columnist Erskine Johnson visits the Trocadero, a popular Hollywood nightclub, to do research for a story on its history. Observing how well-attended the club is, Johnson tells manager Sam Wallace that he has an easy job, but Sam disagrees and relates the club's troubled history: On the night that Prohibition is repealed, Italian restaurant owner Tony Rocadero discusses his plans to open a swell nightclub with his pal, Sam. Tony hopes to make his restaurant a grand club for the benefit of his beloved adopted children, Johnny and Judy Edwards. Tony has worked hard to send them to college, and hopes that they will use their education to help the club. As Tony stands in the street discussing the marquee with Sam, however, he is struck by a car and killed. Sam goes to Johnny and Judy's prep school and relays the bad news, and also tells them that there is now only enough money for one of them to attend college, while the other must quit school and run Tony's restaurant. Judy returns home with Sam, and talent agent Mickey Jones urges her to brighten the club up with more music and a singer. Judy herself sings with Matty Malneck's band, but despite her hard work, business is not good. Mickey and Sam convince her that the restaurant needs to be completely revamped and new bands added to the lineup. Mickey brings in both Eddie LeBaron's band and a swing band lead by Spike Nelson, and Johnny, who has come home for a visit, suggests renaming the club the Trocadero, after Tony. Soon the Trocadero is a lively, popular club and all appears to be going smoothly for Judy, who is falling in love with Spike. Unfortunately, Johnny has become engaged to Marge Carson, a snobbish woman who cannot believe that her fiancé is proud of his show business connections. Judy is devastated when Johnny tells her that he is going to work for Marge's businessman father, Melford Carson, rather than join her in the club, but Spike urges her to let Johnny go, and states that Tony must have been very selfish if he valued the club's success above his children's happiness. Judy quarrels with Spike over his harsh words, and Spike leaves the Trocadero. Meanwhile, Carson hosts an engagement party for Johnny and Marge, and Johnny is outraged by the condescending attitudes of Marge's society friends. Johnny tells Marge that he belongs at the club with Judy and breaks off their engagement, then returns home. Judy has continued her hard work at the club, despite her longings for Spike, which have not gone unnoticed by Mickey. Sam finishes his story, and Johnson comments that although the club is doing well, it has been at Johnny and Judy's expense. Sam declares that their happiness is not as important as preserving Tony's dreams, and while Johnson is mulling over the situation, Carson and Marge arrive at the club and are seated at their table by Johnny. Mickey, who has engineered their presence, then has the master of ceremonies announce that Carson's cigarette company will be sponsoring a nationwide radio broadcast of the Trocadero's entertainment. Johnny is at first indignant, telling Carson that he will not accept the offer, but Marge, who has realized that love is more important than social standing, stops his protests with a kiss. Mickey has also arranged for the return of Spike and his band, and as Judy embraces her sweetheart, Johnson observes that he finally has a good story.