6/10
"...he'll not only fix your program, but put your program in a fix."
29 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Much like "The Big Broadcast of 1936", this picture offers a series of musical numbers performed by various radio celebrities of the day, and incorporates them around the story of a newly discovered singer who's claim to local fame was mimicking operatic star Frank Rossman (Frank Forest). The earlier picture offered more in the way of skits intended to promote a new mystery invention called the 'radio eye', suspiciously looking a lot like television. In a curious opening screen credit, there was mention made here of 'Universal Pay Television' that caught my eye and that I'll have to look into at some point.

Comedy couple Burns and Allen team up with George's best friend Jack Benny portraying National Networks Broadcasting Company owner Jack Carson. I was relieved that even though George Burns' demeanor in this film was somewhat off-putting, at least he didn't kick Gracie in the shins every now and then like he did in the prior picture. Their characters were different for this story, they were a couple known as the Platt's, and as the radio station's newest sponsors, they got to name their premiere show the 'Platt Airflow Golf Ball Hour'. Gracie had this curious way of making her screen entrance a couple of times by leap-frogging over someone. It just added to the dingbat persona of her character.

Considering Jack Benny's legendary schtick about parting with money, I was surprised to see him freely doling out twenty dollar bills to cab drivers in the latter half of the picture. Of course it was under duress attempting to find and deliver new singing sensation Gwen Holmes (Shirley Ross) back to the station so she could hook up with true love Bob Miller (Ray Milland) after having painted the town a few shades of red with singer Frank Rossman. With Ray Milland, Jack Benny and Frank Forest all pining for the newest star, it took a bit of pretzel twisting to bring this story to a conclusion with Martha Raye scatting her rendition of 'Here Comes the Bride' at the finale as Miller and Holmes exchanged vows.

Almost lost in all of the proceedings was famed Philharmonic conductor Leopold Stokowski leading his orchestra in what was intended to add a touch of class to this Big Broadcast outing. In hindsight, the idea was probably a good one, though watching today his appearance passes pretty much as just another one of the entertaining features on display. As for the funniest bit, I guess I'd have to go with Gracie trying to teach hillbilly Bob Burns how to be Gary Cooper. It's a visual, so you'll just have to see it for yourself.
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