The People's Choice
Cast & Crew
Elmwood insurance salesman Abner Snell, who is running for the city council, plans to advance his campaign by auditioning for a singing spot on local radio station XYZ. Shortly before he is to perform, however, Abner and his girl friend, Alice Tinkerton, are caught in a rainstorm, and Abner comes down with laryngitis. At the audition, which is being broadcast throughout Elmwood, Abner is startled when, instead of his strong, bass voice, he sings with an entrancing feminine voice. Abner's performance is an instant hit, and Joe Spindle and Mike Tanner, who own the failing XYZ, get the idea to make him a regular attraction and bill him as the "Mystery Lady." Abner at first refuses to participate in the scheme, but changes his mind when Mike threatens to inform the press about his female impersonation. Later, Abner, whose political and romantic rival, the egotistical Elmer Blodgett, has been criticizing him for not owning property, decides to buy a $5,000 house, which requires a $1,000 down payment. When Abner attempts to borrow the money from his friends, they all turn him down. That night, however, Abner returns to XYZ to sing and is paid $200 for his efforts. Ecstatic, Abner rushes to see Alice, who has just said goodnight to Elmer, the favorite of her conservative father Tobias, and proudly shows her the $200, which he claims to have won in the sweepstakes. Abner and Alice then learn that the Elmwood bank was robbed earlier in the evening. Later, after Abner reads that Elmer actually won the sweepstakes, he goes to XYZ's more successful competitor, QED, and pays them $200 to sing on the radio the next day. When Alice then learns that Abner lied about winning the sweepstakes, she concludes that he must have robbed the bank. At QED, meanwhile, owners Charles Butler and Dan Seymour convince Grant Evans of the Radio Commission that XYZ's broadcast of the mystery singer, who has been renamed "The Perfume Lady" by the show's new sponsor, is not live but a recording. Evans, Butler and Seymour accuse Joe and Mike of violating broadcast regulations by not identifying the recording, but are unable to find the "record" at the station. The next day, Abner is leading a troop of boys on a hike when they discover that the bank robbers are hiding out in a nearby cabin. Although scared, Abner fights with the robbers and, with help from the boys, overwhelms them. At that moment, however, Abner is drenched by another rainstorm and immediately contracts laryngitis. When his "Perfume Lady" voice comes out during his QED broadcast, Abner rushes out of the station in embarrassment. Alice, meanwhile, has informed police chief Holden that Abner robbed the bank, and when Abner appears on the street, Holden goes after him along with Seymour and Butler. Abner flees to XYZ to do his "Perfume Lady" show, which is witnessed by Holden, Seymour, Butler, Alice and Elmer. Although Alice is thrilled by Abner's unusual talent, Holden still believes he is the robber and is about to arrest him when one of the boys from the hike informs him that Abner not only apprehended the crooks but also insisted that the troop collect the $5,000 reward. Having been declared a hero, Abner defeats Elmer for city council and wins Alice's heart once and for all.
Carroll K. Cooper
Geo. M. Merrick
Richard Hill Wilkinson
Lou E. Zoeller
In the opening credits, Wallace Ramsay is credited with "dialogue," but in reviews, he is listed as dialogue director. Stan Jolley's character name is spelled "Seamoyer" in the credits, but is written as "Seymour" in the film itself. A copyright statement was included on the viewed print, but the title was not found in the Copyright Catalog. Although this film was shot in 16mm Kodachrome stock, the viewed print was 35mm black and white. As noted by reviews and articles, The People's Choice was designed to showcase the versatility of color 16mm stock. According to the Variety review, it was the first 16mm color non-documentary feature to be shown in a "public theater." The first Planet Picture, Jeep Herders , was shot before The People's Choice and had press screenings in October 1945, but May not have received a public release until after this film, if at all. The People's Choice was shown with a 16mm color cartoon and newsreel at its Los Angeles premiere at the Marcal Theater.
A Los Angeles Times article about the premiere commented that the screening had two purposes: "...to demonstrate to industry and public that the showing of 16mm subjects in regular auditoriums is practical and practicable, and that color May be filmed economically on 16mm stock. The Marcal was chosen because it has an average-size screen...and an average 'throw' of light....Of the three subjects revealed, the short cartoon was better than the newsreel and the feature best of all....But in all it was noticeable that studio shots were clearer than outdoor, and close-ups sharper than longer shots....Sound projection was generally satisfactory, baring a tendency toward thinness of tone." Other reviewers made note of the format's limitations, but were generally optimistic about its future. It is not known if this film was ever booked outside of Los Angeles. Louise Arthur, who had worked extensively on radio and Broadway, made her screen acting debut in the picture.