The Big Broadcast of 1938


1h 30m 1938

Brief Synopsis

A radio announcer tries to juggle musical acts and his ex-wives while broadcasting from an ocean liner.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Feb 18, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,152ft (10 reels)

Synopsis

Radio announcer Buzz Fielding's girl friend, Dorothy Wyndham, bails him out of jail, where he landed after skipping alimony payments to his three ex-wives, in time to board the S. S. Gigantic for the race against the S. S. Colossal , to cross from New York to Cherbourg in two and a half days. T. Frothingill Bellows, president of the line that owns the Gigantic , buys his accident-prone brother S. B. a ticket on the Colossal . S. B. delays boarding with a vigorous round of golf, using a motorized cart that turns into a small plane which he eventually uses to land on the deck of the Gigantic . The ship is equipped with a special turbine engine invented by Bob Hayes, but S. B. breaks it with his umbrella and then refuses to allow its use, causing the ship to fall behind in the race. Dorothy and Bob fall in love while he fixes the engine. Buzz announces the ship's entertainment in radio broadcasts, while he and his three ex-wives, eager for their alimony, anticipate winning the race and $50,000. Grace, one of Buzz's ex-wives, diverts S. B.'s attentions from Bob while he fixes the engine. Cleo, another ex-wife, reminisces with Buzz, and they slowly rekindle their love. S. B.'s daughter Martha, also accident-prone, is rescued at sea and wreaks havoc aboard the ship. Finally, Buzz fixes the engine and the Gigantic speeds ahead, at one point with S. B. at the helm. They win the race by a nose, and Buzz and Cleo happily reunite, leaving Dorothy and Bob free to continue their romance.

Cast

W. C. Fields

T. Frothingill Bellows/S. B. Bellows

Martha Raye

Martha Bellows

Dorothy Lamour

Dorothy Wyndham

Shirley Ross

Cleo Fielding

Lynne Overman

Scoop McPhail

Bob Hope

Buzz Fielding

Ben Blue

Mike

Leif Erikson

Bob Hayes

Patricia Wilder

Honey Chile

Grace Bradley

Grace Fielding

Rufe Davis

Turnkey

Lionel Pape

Lord Droopy

Dorothy Howe

Joan Fielding

Russell Hicks

Captain Stafford

Kirsten Flagstad Metropolitan Opera Co.

Wilfred Pelletier Metropolitan Opera Co.

Conductor

Shep Fields And His Rippling Rhythm Orchestra

Archie Twitchell

Steward

James Craig

Steward

Richard Denning

Officer

Michael Brooke

Officer

Jack Hubbard

Officer

Bill Roberts

Officer

Clive Morgan

Officer

John Huettner

Officer

Bruce Wyndham

Officer

Kenneth Swartz

Officer

Edgar Norton

Secretary to T. F. Bellows

Stanley King

Chauffeur

Rex Moore

Caddy

Bernard Punsley

Caddy

Don Marion

Caddy

Billy Daniels

Page boy

James Conlin

Reporter

Sherry Hall

Second reporter

James Burtis

Third reporter

Jack Dougherty

Guard

Rudolph Amendt

Bartender

Tiny Newland

Member of Black gang

Harry Wilson

Member of Black gang

Irving Bacon

Prisoner, harmonica player

Wally Maher

Court clerk

Muriel Barr

Showgirl

Sheila Darcy

Haughty girl

Ray Hanford

Pilot

Don Brodie

Radio operator

Frank Du Frane

Radio operator

Mae Busch

Chaperone

Jerry Fletcher

First gas station attendant

Robert Allen

Second gas station attendant

Auguste Tollaire

First official

Charles Millsfield Sr.

Second official

Charles Teske

Adagio dancer

Jack Dawson

Adagio dancer

Ted Meredith

Adagio dancer

Pete Theodore Rand

Adagio dancer

Edward Cutler

Adagio dancer

Ted O'shea

Adagio dancer

John Jennings

Adagio dancer

Harvey Karels

Adagio dancer

Gus Glassmire

Lal Chand Mehra

Mary Maclaren

Florence Wix

Carol Holloway

Gertrude Astor

Nell Craig

Ethel Clayton

Gloria Williams

Marion Weldon

Yvonne Duval

Dorothy Dayton

Gwen Kenyon

Norah Gale

Harriette Haddon

Joyce Mathews

Virginia Pound

Suzanne Ridgway

Dorothy White

Helaine Moler

Paula De Cardo

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Feb 18, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,152ft (10 reels)

Award Wins

Best Song

1937

Quotes

Say, do you know anything about electricity?
- First reporter
My father occupied the chair of applied electricity at State Prison.
- S.B. Bellows
Oh, I'm so sorry, Mr. Bellows. I didn't recognize you in this bad light.
- Grace Fielding
Ah, everybody seems to see me in a bad light.
- S.B. Bellows
Aren't you awake yet?
- Lord Droopy
Ohhhhh! I don't know. I haven't looked yet.
- S.B. Bellows
Meet me down in the bar! We'll drink breakfast together.
- S.B. Bellows
I was married to him for eight months; I gave him the best years of my life!
- Divorcee

Trivia

Notes

Included in the Paramount story files at the AMPAS library are an early story outline by Frederick Hazlitt Brennan casting Jack Benny in the lead role; a story outline by J. P. McEvoy; and five sequences written by W. C. Fields, titled "Gas station routine," "Golf routine," "Barber shop routine," "Pool room routine" and "Orchestra routine." McEvoy did not receive final writing credit. The film marked the feaure-film debut of Bob Hope (1903-2003) and the last of Paramount's Big Broadcast series. According to an article in New York Times, this was Fields's first role following a long illness. The sequence in which Kirsten Flagstad appears was filmed at the Eastern Service Studios at Astoria, Long Island, while the rest of the film continued production in Hollywood. According to a New York Times article, the elephant number in this film bent the stage so that it was unusable.
       In his biography, Mitchell Leisen stated that he made a direct recording on the first take of the song "Thanks for the Memory," which was sung by Hope and Shirley Ross, accompanied by a 90-piece orchestra. The tune, which became Hope's theme song, won the 1938 Academy Award for Best Song. Leisen credited Ted Reed with directing Fields's golf and pool routines. Leisen stated that he had his first heart attack on the final night of shooting. For more information on the series, see the entry for The Big Broadcast above.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1938

Feature acting debut for comic Bob Hope.

Released in United States 1938