Movie Mirrors Index

Varsity Show

(1937 b 81')

En: 5 Ed: 4

College students get an alumnus producer to help them put on their musical show over the objections of the professor in charge.

At Winfield College students using rhymes prepare to rehearse their new show. Buzz Bolton (Johnnie Davis) sings "Old King Cole." Professor Biddle (Walter Catlett) censors the lyrics and marches out. Janitor Buck (Ford Washington Lee) tells Ernie Mason (Fred Waring) that Chuck Daly put on the best shows. Students Buzz, Betty (Priscilla Lane), Trout (Sterling Holloway), and Rubberlegs (Lee Dixon) go to New York producer Chuck Daly (Dick Powell), who needs money and offer him $1,000 to put on their show. Willy Williams (Ted Healy) turns them away but persuades Chuck.

On campus Chuck sings "We're Working Our Way Through College." Barbara (Rosemary Lane) and other students haze Chuck and Willy until Ernie recognizes Chuck. Biddle shows Chuck a dull number and declines his help. Barbara asks Chuck to stay for the dance. Betty sings "I'm Dependable," and Barbara sings "On with the Dance." Willy tells Chuck that Hollywood wants him; but Chuck stays. Willy gives Chuck the dance money, but Chuck donates it to the Quadrangle Club. Chuck and Barbara take a walk, dance with each other, and sing "You've Really Got Something There." Cuddles (Mabel Todd) and Willy are quarantined for mumps, and Willy infects Biddle. Students study for exams while Bubbles (John William Sublett) tap dances. An attempt to smuggle Betty into a fraternity fails.

Biddle complains to Dean Meredith (Halliwell Hobbes) that he was locked out of the gym. Meredith announces that Biddle is in charge, and the students boycott classes. Chuck intervenes with the faculty and packs to leave. Chuck says good-bye to Barbara, and Willy gives Cuddles his address on a telegram that says Chuck is washed up. Ernie proposes the students go to New York to do the show. Theater owner Barclay (Edward Brophy) tells them to get out of his theater; but they all sit down. Barclay gets the police, but Chuck has them watch the show. More police arrive and join the audience. Barclay has the mayor call the national guard, filling the theater. Bubbles sings and tap dances. Students sing and dance, forming letters to college songs. In the final scene Chuck kisses Barbara.

This musical suggests college students' capability to protest in order to make innovative changes, although in this case they are limited to popular music and dance.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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