Cast & Crew
Spineless Eddie Pink, who runs a handy man shop at Millwood University, is continually bothered by bullies. His only protector is the kindly but dense Butch Carson, who has been a senior for three years. Eddie subscribes to a mail order character building course, which promises to turn him from a mouse into a man by giving him a forceful personality. Meanwhile, Butch confides in Eddie that he must graduate this year in order to help his mother Hattie and her secretary, Claribel Higg, who run the Dreamland amusement park. They are beleagured by racketeer Vance and his gang, who are trying to force them to install crooked slot machines in the park. Eddie helps Butch pass his final exam, and Hattie is so grateful that she makes Eddie co-manager of Dreamland with Butch. After graduation, Eddie and Butch go to the Club Lido, which features torch singer Joyce Lennox. Eddie has adored Joyce from afar for years, and he does not know that she is Vance's girl friend. The next day, Eddie is at Dreamland when he is approached by Vance's henchmen, Copple, Marsh, Selby and Thrust, about installing the slot machines. With Claribel's help, Eddie gets rid of the mugs, but their jubilation is quickly soured when they discover that Butch, who has joined the Navy on a whim, will be leaving immediately. Eddie is dismayed about being left in charge of Dreamland, especially when Copple returns with a hired gun named Killer. Eddie tries to use his forceful personality on Killer, but finds that Killer has taken the same correspondence course. Fortunately for Eddie, Killer has not finished the book, and Eddie is able to outwit him. Later, Hattie and Claribel talk Eddie into hiring a bodyguard, Nick Parkyakarkus. After a week has passed, Claribel realizes that she is in love with Eddie, while Vance gets tired of his men's failures. Vance decides to use Joyce to trap Eddie into cooperating, and he arranges for Eddie to witness what appears to be Joyce murdering her brother Chorley. Desperate to protect his dream girl, Eddie tells Vance that he killed Chorley when the gang pretends to question her. Vance tells Eddie that he will hush up the affair if Eddie puts 150 slot machines in Dreamland. When Eddie protests that the machines are crooked, Vance has him test one that pays him a jackpot. Believing that all the machines will pay out, Eddie agrees, and the machines are delivered the next day. Hattie and Claribel are horrifed, and after Claribel realizes that Eddie allowed them in to protect Joyce, she orders him to leave. Eddie, who has discovered that the machines are rigged, goes to Joyce's apartment, where he finds Chorley alive. Eddie then hides and records Vance and Chorley discussing their racket, but the crooks see him as he attempts to flee. Eddie returns to his office and shares his discoveries with Claribel, who summons the police. The gang arrives, and after they chase Eddie and Parkyakarkus through the park's rides and into a hot air balloon, they are finally apprehended by the police. An exhausted Eddie agrees to marry Claribel, and she uses his forceful personality tricks to entice a kiss from him.
Sidney H. Fields
The Flying Kitchens
Thomas And Chilton
Strike Me Pink
Strike Me Pink was developed from a Saturday Evening Post story and novel by Clarence Budington Kelland. In a role for which Goldwyn had originally wanted Harold Lloyd, the banjo-eyed Cantor is Eddie Pink, a mild-mannered laundromat worker who takes a "Man or Mouse?" mail-order course in assertiveness. He soon finds himself the manager of Dreamland, an amusement park plagued by a gang of slot-machine racketeers headed by Vance (Brian Donlevy).
Despite the presence of an attractive secretary (Sally Eilers, a former Mack Sennett "bathing beauty"), Eddie has a big crush on famous nightclub singer Joyce Lennox (Merman). To get Eddie to agree to his terms, Vance involves Joyce in a fake murder. Matters are resolved in a climactic chase at the amusement park that involves a rollercoaster and hot-air balloon and recalls slapstick silent comedies.
Among the actors playing comic hoodlums are William Frawley of later I Love Lucy fame, Jack La Rue, Charles McAvoy and Edward Brophy. Also in the supporting cast are Gordon Jones and Sidney Fields, both of whom would later play recurring characters on Bud Abbott and Lou Costello's popular television show of the early 1950s.
The musical score by Harold Arlen and Lew Brown includes Cantor in the elaborate production number "The Lady Dances"; Merman performing "First You Have Me High" and "Shake It Off With Rhythm," accompanied on the latter tune by tap dancer Sunnie O'Dea, whose reflection on the shiny dance floor appears to have a mind of its own; and Cantor and Merman teaming on "Calabash Pipe."
"First You Have Me High" is given an unusual staging in a Harlem setting where Merman is all but motionless and the camera provides the movement with constantly changing angles. "Calabash Pipe," performed on a Ferris wheel, features a dream sequence in which the two costars become a middle-aged farm couple from horse-and-buggy days. For once in a Goldwyn/Cantor movie, Cantor does not perform in blackface.
Although the choreographer for Strike Me Pink is Robert Alton, several overhead shots during the production numbers recall the intricate styling of Busby Berkeley, who had choreographed the earlier Cantor movie musicals Whoopee! (1930), Palmy Days (1931) and The Kid from Spain (1932).
Cantor (1892-1964) continued to appear in movies through 1952, although with lessening frequency. He was the subject of a film biography, The Eddie Cantor Story (1953), and was given an honorary Oscar® in 1956 for "distinguished service to the film industry." Merman (1908-1984) would perform in four more films of the 1930s before returning to movies as a full-fledged star in an adaptation of one of her stage hits, Call Me Madam, in 1953.
Producer: Samuel Goldwyn
Director: Norman Taurog
Screenplay: Walter DeLeon, Francis Martin, Frank Butler, Philip Rapp (additional dialogue), from Clarence Budington Kelland novel Dreamland (uncredited)
Cinematography: Merritt Gerstad, Gregg Toland (dances and ensemble numbers)
Art Direction: Richard Day
Original Music: Harold Arlen
Editing: Sherman Todd
Costume Design: Omar Kiam
Choreography: Robert Alton
Cast: Eddie Cantor (Eddie Pink), Ethel Merman (Joyce Lennox), Sally Eilers (Claribel Higg), Harry Parke (Parkyakarkus), William Frawley (Mr. Copple), Helen Lowell (Hattie "Ma" Carson), Gordon Jones (Butch Carson).
by Roger Fristoe
Strike Me Pink
Clarence Budington Kelland's novel first appeared as a serial in The Saturday Evening Post (25 May-29 June 1935). [Contemporary sources note that the film Strike Me Pink is unrelated to a Broadway musical of the same name that opened in New York on 4 March 1933]. According to the Variety and New York Times reviews, Kelland wrote his story as a starring vehicle for Harold Lloyd. When producer Samuel Goldwyn acquired the property for Eddie Cantor, the production was briefly called Dreamland, then was changed to Shoot the Chutes and then to the release title. According to a March 19, 1935 Hollywood Reporter news item, Goldwyn engaged Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse to adapt Kelland's story. Hollywood Reporter news items and production charts also list William Conselman, Arthur Sheekman, Nat Perrin, Bayard Veiller, Edward Chodorov and Lawrence Riley as contributors to the script, however, the contribution of these writers to the completed picture has not been confirmed. Hollywood Reporter production charts include the following actors in the cast, although their participation in the finished film has not been confirmed: Nick Lukats, Lindy Hoppers, Fred Kohler, Jr., Tammany Young, Robert Hodges, Arthur Housman, Agnes Anderson, Harry C. Bradley, Charles Irwin and Howard Christie. Hollywood Reporter news items noted that Sam Hardy had originally been signed for the role of "Copple." After Hardy died following an emergency operation, he was replaced by William Frawley, who was borrowed from Paramount. According to Hollywood Reporter, the substitution necessitated the reshooting of approximately two weeks of filming. Director Norman Taurog was also borrowed from Paramount. A Hollywood Reporter news item stated that Bill Thomas was scheduled to create "special art work," for the film, but his contribution to the completed picture has not been confirmed. According to the film's pressbook, the picture cost between $1,500,000 and $2,000,000 and marked the film debut of the dance team Thomas and Chilton. The pressbook also notes that Goldwyn rented "The Cyclone Racer," a roller coaster in Long Beach, CA, for use in the chase scenes. This was the first English language film of actress Jinx Falkenberg (1919-2003). Strike Me Pink was the last of six films Cantor made for Goldwyn, and the first picture choreographed by Broadway dance director Robert Alton. Modern sources include the following in the cast: Geraine Greear (Goldwyn Girl), Monte Vandergrift, Wade Boteler and Lee Phelps.