The Big Broadcast (1932)

  • The Big Broadcast (1932)Director: Frank Tuttle
  • Writers: William Ford Manley, George Marion Jr., George Burns
  • Actors: Bing Crosby, Stuart Erwin, Leila Hyams
  • Studio: Paramount Pictures

I love this musical comedy almost as much as Paramount’s International House (1933) with some of the same stars. Both have top rate music and comedy plus pre-code Depression era elements and some cartoonish eye popping anarchy. 

Radio crooner Bing Crosby (as himself) is so popular that women riot when they see him. But after his rich fiancée Mona (Sharon Lynn) “gives him the air,” he and a Texas oil man (Stuart Erwin), who also lost his girl, try to end it all with gas fumes. They hallucinate while the song “Here Lies Love” (a #11 hit) is performed by Arthur Tracy (seen as an accordion playing ghost), Vincent Lopez And His Orch., then Bing himself. The (uncredited) Fleischer Brothers worked on this amazing sequence. Eventually a comic love triangle centers on blonde secretary Anita (Leila Hyams from Island of Lost Souls).

Cab Calloway does the unbelievable #4 hit drug song “Kickin’ The Gong Around,” and during a hot instrumental, a clarinet bends, the microphone jumps and the camera tilts. The Mills Brothers do “Tiger Rag,” a #1 hit I grew up loving on Cleveland TV commercials for Giant Tiger stores. The Boswell Sisters from New Orleans play telephone operators who sing about the plot and do “Crazy People” which should have been a hit. Crosby does some impressive scat singing and other songs are by Kate Smith, high tenor Donald Novic and Lopez’s comic drummer. 

Burns And Allen (in their first feature) are also in top form. George plays the manager of NYC station WADX and Gracie is the receptionist who goes on about reincarnation, baseball at Sing Sing and various relatives. Irwin breaks and warps countless 78s from a record shop and Hyams is discreetly naked in a shower. It’s been on AMC.

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