Pick a Star
Cast & Crew
In the small town of Waterloo, Kansas, Eddie Stone, who claims to be a movie producer, holds a beauty contest, the first prize of which is a part in a movie. Just before Nellie Moore's pretty sister Cecilia is about to be crowned the winner, however, Cecilia's boyfriend, Joe Jenkins, finds out that Stone is a phony and has skipped town with all of the entrance fees. Nellie faints at the news, after which Joe decides to sell his garage and move to Hollywood to see if he can help make Cecilia a star. Some time later, Joe has gotten a job at the Colonial Club, which sends live broadcasts to the Midwest. While Nellie and Cecilia are listening to one of the broadcasts, they hear an emergency airplane landing, and discover that star Rinaldo Lopez, is on board. After being hospitable to the travelers, Nellie and Cecilia are offered plane tickets to Hollywood by Mr. and Mrs. MacGregor, who decide that they now prefer train travel. Nellie sends Joe a telegram telling him they are coming and in Hollywood they check into a swank hotel, because Rinaldo tells him that they should stay at an "important" address. Joe never gets the telegram, however, and when Rinaldo takes Cecilia and Nellie to the Colonial Club later that evening, Joe, who is a waiter there, has to pretend that he is part of the floor show because he has written to the girls that he is a now a successful performer. When Nellie discovers that Joe has been lying, she is angry and leaves. Going after Nellie, Joe runs into the street and is hit by the car of Mr. Klawheimer, the head of a motion picture studio. Because Klawheimer wants to avoid a lawsuit, he gives Joe a job as a studio driver. At the same time, Rinaldo takes the girls to the studio to watch musical star Dagmar shoot a number for her new picture. They are fascinated by the big production number and excited to meet comedians Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Later, while Nellie is busy watching a fight scene set in a Mexican Cantina, Rinaldo invites Cecilia to his apartment and she innocently accepts. Unknown to them, however, Joe is their driver and when he realizes what Rinaldo is up to, he returns to the studio for Nellie. While Joe is gone, Cecilia begins to realize what Rinaldo is really like. When Joe and Nellie return, Cecilia is crying, prompting Nellie to knock Rinaldo out cold. Joe stays to revive Rinaldo when Cecilia and Nellie leave, and the remorseful Rinaldo says that he will try to get Cecilia a job in pictures. The next day, Cecilia is ready for her big test. After Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy break a mirror, which assures Nellie that her sister will have bad luck, Cecilia goes ahead with the test and gets very nervous. To help her out, Joe enters the scene and sings a duet with her, and they fantasize that they are in a real Hollywood production number. After the test, the studio executives are truly impressed.
R. Alex Anderson
Thomas J. Dugan
Arthur Vernon Jones
Arthur I. Royce
W. L. Stevens
Pick a Star
Initially, Roach just produced comedy shorts, but by the twenties (he started the company in 1915), he began to diversify his film projects and started churning out feature films, dramas, Westerns, and action pictures. He also began, in the late twenties, to concentrate on promoting his most profitable talents - Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chase, and Our Gang, all of which had become very popular. Roach went on to win Academy Awards for two of his film shorts - The Music Box (1932) and Board of Education (1936).
Roach's production, Pick a Star, is the tale of a naive, smalltown girl (Rosina Lawrence) from Iowa who wins a trip to Hollywood as part of a talent contest. She quickly realizes upon arriving in Los Angeles that it's just a meaningless publicity stunt and that no studio is really interested in giving her a screen test. That all changes when she is befriended by publicity man Joe Jenkins (Jack Haley). Despite the cliched plot of an unknown becoming a major star, Pick a Star works best as a clever pastiche of funny sight gags, wisecracks, and vaudeville routines featuring guest stars like Laurel and Hardy. The latter have a wonderful musical duel which ends with Laurel performing "Pop Goes the Weasel" on Hardy's stomach.
A few years after Hal Roach produced Pick a Star, he began working closely with his son Hal Roach Jr. on such atypical features as One Million Years. B.C. (1939) (originally assigned to D.W. Griffith) and Of Mice and Men (1939) - probably the most acclaimed production of his career. Roach also served in WWII, producing training films for the Army and the Air Force. After the war, Roach made an unsuccessful attempt at television production but he came out of retirement in the late sixties to produce a compilation film - The Crazy World of Laurel and Hardy.
Director: Edward Sedgwick
Producer: Hal Roach
Screenplay: Richard Flournoy, Arthur V. Jones, Thomas J. Dugan
Cinematography: Norbert Brodine
Music: R. Alex Anderson, Johnny Lange, Fred Stryker
Art Direction: Arthur I. Royce
Cast: Patsy Kelly (Nellie Moore), Jack Haley (Joe Jenkins), Rosina Lawrence (Cecilia Moore), Mischa Auer (Rinaldo Lopez).
by Rod Hollimon
Pick a Star
In the opening credits, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy's pictures are shown just after Lyda Roberti's name and their theme music is heard on the soundtrack, but they are not otherwise credited in the opening or end credits. In the film they are refered to as "Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy." During their brief appearances in the film they do not speak. According to a Hollywood Reporter production chart, Patricia Kay and June Ray were also in the cast, however, their participation in the released film has not been confirmed. The same chart also includes "Our Gang" in the cast, but no child actors from Hal Roach's "Our Gang" shorts could be identified in the viewed print.