Cast & Crew
At the Miramar Ball Room, escort Slats McCarthy moonlights as publicist for his sister, dancer Molly McCarthy, running magazine advertisements that suggest that Molly yearns to attend the Bixby College for Young Ladies. When his pal, Oliver Quackenbush, inadvertently starts a mêlée at Miramar, he and Slats escape by jumping into a police car parked outside the club. Although they soon return the car to the police, Oliver accidentally throws a lit match into it, and when the car bursts into flames, the two must once again flee. While they are hiding out at Molly's, the dean of Bixby, Larry Benson, visits to offer Molly a scholarship, and after he agrees to furnish Slats and Oliver with caretaker jobs, they all consent to go. At the college the next day, the stuffy school board chairman, Jonathan Kirkland, insists that the burly head caretaker, "Strangler" Johnson, throw the trio out for taking cheesecake photographs of Molly. In response, Slats snaps a photo of Kirkland lifting Molly off a statue. Larry soon reinstates the three, but clashes with Kirkland over what he considers to be the school's antiquated ways. A few days later, Peggy, a co-ed with a crush on Oliver, reveals that Larry is involved with Kirkland's daughter Diane, information which disappoints Molly. Soon after, Slats, Oliver and Johnson are playing craps when a kiss from Peggy causes Oliver to swallow Johnson's dice, which he was hiding in his mouth. Determined to continue to gamble, Slats and Johnson shake him and x-ray his stomach. Months later, Kirkland threatens to withdraw his financial support unless Larry expels Molly, who now reigns as the school's top basketball player, because of her dance background. Molly, feeling guilty, prepares to leave that evening, but Larry convinces her to stay, both because he must prove his convictions to Kirkland, and because he loves her. After their conversation, Diane, who has overheard, says goodbye to Larry. The next day, Slats, hoping to thwart Kirkland, publishes the photo of him holding Molly, a move which compels the chairman to cancel his $20,000 school mortgage payment. Slats, Oliver and the students devise a plan to earn the money and save the school. First, Slats talks Oliver into wrestling Johnson in order to raise a small sum of money. Although Oliver initially seems beaten, he wins the fight, and during a victory parade, Larry realizes that Bixby now has more spirit than it ever possessed before. After Oliver and Slats then bet against rival school Carlton in an upcoming basketball game with Bixby, Honest Dan, the local racketeer, fixes the game by busing in the Amazons, a professional women's basketball team, to play for Carlton. The Amazons batter the Bixby players until Oliver disguises himself as a girl and enters the game. When he receives a blow to the head, Peggy tells him he is Daisy Dimple, the world champion girl's basketball player, and he proceeds to rack up points for Bixby. Another blow restores him to his senses, however, and Bixby loses by two points. After the game, Oliver overhears Honest Dan paying off the Amazons, and grabs the money. He and Slats hijack a sailboat which is perched atop a trailer and rush to Bixby, where they pay Kirkland for the mortgage with Honest Dan's illgotten money. With Bixby's future secure, another victory parade breaks out.
Lon Chaney [jr.]
Bernard B. Brown
Louis Da Pron
John P. Fulton
R. A. Gausman
A. J. Gilmore
John B. Goodman
Edmund L. Hartmann
Arthur T. Horman
Ronald K. Pierce
Richard H. Riedel
Peggy Ryan (1924-2004)
Born Margaret O'Rene Ryan on August 28, 1924, in Long Beach, California, Ryan began dancing professionally as a toddler in her parents' vaudeville act, the Dancing Ryans, and was discovered by George Murphy when she was 12. Murphy arranged for young Peggy to dance with him in the Universal musical Top of the Town (1937). She would go on to make a few more film appearances over the next few years - the most striking of which as a starving, homeless girl in John Ford's The Grapes of Wrath (1940) - yet for the most part, she was hardly noticeable apart from a few dance numbers.
Her luck changed when Universal cast her opposite another teenage hoofer, Donald O'Connor in What's Cookin'? (1942). From then on, they teamed in a series of innocuous musicals that were low on production values, but high on youthful pluck. Just check out some of their titles: Private Buckaroo, Give Out, Sisters!, Get Hep to Love (all 1942); Top Man, Mr. Big (both 1943); Chip Off the Old Block, This Is the Life, and Bowery to Broadway (all 1944). They may have not been high art, but jitterbuggin' kids loved it, and given the low investment Universal put into these pictures, they turned quite the profit.
Her career slowed down after the war. In 1945, she married songwriter James Cross, and didn't return to films until 1949, when she made two minor musicals that year: Shamrock Hill, There's a Girl in My Heart. She divorced Cross in 1952 and met her second husband, dancer Ray McDonald, in her final film appearance, a forgettable musical with Mickey Rooney, All Ashore (1953). Tragically, McDonald died in 1957 after a food choking incident, and the following year, Ryan moved to Honolulu after marrying her third husband, Honolulu Advertiser columnist Eddie Sherman. She kept herself busy teaching dance classes at the University of Hawaii, but in 1969, she found herself back in front of the camera as Jenny Sherman, secretary to Detective Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord) on the long-running show Hawaii Five-O,. She played the role for seven years, remaining until 1976.
Eventually, Ryan relocated with her husband to Las Vegas, where for the last few years, she was teaching tap dancing to a whole new generation of hoofers. She is survived by her son, Shawn; daughter Kerry; and five grandchildren.
by Michael T. Toole
Peggy Ryan (1924-2004)
I really don't like dancing because it's nothing but hugging set to music.- Oliver Quackenbush
What don't you like about it?- Woman in Trailer
The music.- Oliver Quackenbush
Lou Costello, in his youth a basketball player who specialized in dead-eye free-throw shooting, pumped in many of the shots himself during the film's basketball game.
Although Hollywood Reporter production charts list Milton Carruth as editor, only Arthur Hilton received credit as the editor in onscreen credits. Modern sources state that the film's wrestling scenes were performed by professional wrestlers, with Lon Chaney and Lou Costello appearing in closeup shots only. Modern sources add Milt Bronson to the cast.