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HISTORY

The 1934 Wampus Baby Stars back up Joan Blondell in "The Girl at the Ironing Board" number. Studio records reveal that Warner Bros.' publicity department created the term "cinematerpsichorean" to describe Busby Berkeley's choreography, and that at the request of Hal Wallis, the characters "Johnny Harris" and "Buttercup Balmer" were named after two men who owned a string of theaters in Pennsylvania. According to studio records, Ruth Donnelly was considered for the role of "Mathilda" and Hobart Cavanaugh was considered for "Ellworthy Todd." According to a news item in DV , the studio had Berkeley's revolving stage design (also used in Gold Diggers of 1935 ) patented. Warner Bros. believed that if the stage design was protected by a patent, there would be little chance of other studios copying his technique which depended on the revolving stage. According to news items in HR , Warner Bros. was sued by Goldwyn for using Berkeley, who had last worked for Goldwyn on his 1932 film The Kid from Spain . Berkeley claimed that Goldwyn secured his contract through misrepresentation and deceit, and therefore he could work where he wanted. No information was found regarding the outcome of the lawsuit. Modern sources add the following credits: Pat Harper, Ruth Eddings, De Don Blunier, Gloria Faythe, Diana Douglas ( Chorus girls ); Lester Dorr ( Elevator starter ); Eddy Chandler ( Guard ); Harry Holman ( Spanish War veteran ); Fred "Snowflake" Toones ( Porter ); and Eddie Kane ( Harry, the stage manager ... More Less

The 1934 Wampus Baby Stars back up Joan Blondell in "The Girl at the Ironing Board" number. Studio records reveal that Warner Bros.' publicity department created the term "cinematerpsichorean" to describe Busby Berkeley's choreography, and that at the request of Hal Wallis, the characters "Johnny Harris" and "Buttercup Balmer" were named after two men who owned a string of theaters in Pennsylvania. According to studio records, Ruth Donnelly was considered for the role of "Mathilda" and Hobart Cavanaugh was considered for "Ellworthy Todd." According to a news item in DV , the studio had Berkeley's revolving stage design (also used in Gold Diggers of 1935 ) patented. Warner Bros. believed that if the stage design was protected by a patent, there would be little chance of other studios copying his technique which depended on the revolving stage. According to news items in HR , Warner Bros. was sued by Goldwyn for using Berkeley, who had last worked for Goldwyn on his 1932 film The Kid from Spain . Berkeley claimed that Goldwyn secured his contract through misrepresentation and deceit, and therefore he could work where he wanted. No information was found regarding the outcome of the lawsuit. Modern sources add the following credits: Pat Harper, Ruth Eddings, De Don Blunier, Gloria Faythe, Diana Douglas ( Chorus girls ); Lester Dorr ( Elevator starter ); Eddy Chandler ( Guard ); Harry Holman ( Spanish War veteran ); Fred "Snowflake" Toones ( Porter ); and Eddie Kane ( Harry, the stage manager ). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
15 Dec 33
p. 3.
Daily Variety
29 Mar 34
p. 2.
Daily Variety
31 Aug 34
p. 3.
Film Daily
16 Aug 34
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Apr 34
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
2 May 34
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
3 May 34
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
4 May 34
p. 1, 5
Hollywood Reporter
9 May 1934 p. 1-2.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 May 34
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
12 May 34
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
15 May 34
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jul 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Aug 34
p. 3.
International Photographer
1 Jun 34
p. 21.
Motion Picture Daily
3 Aug 34
p. 2.
Motion Picture Herald
25 Aug 34
p. 31.
MPSI
Feb 35
p. 8.
MPSI
Feb 35
p. 44.
New York Times
16 Aug 34
p. 20.
Variety
21 Aug 34
p. 17.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Story
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Photog
Photog
Cam op
Cam op
Asst cam
Asst cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Vitaphone Orch cond
SOUND
Rec eng
DANCE
Numbers created and dir by
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech dir
Chief elec
Chief elec
Chief elec
Chief grip
Props
Props
Still photog
SOURCES
SONGS
"Dames," "I Only Have Eyes for You" and "The Girl at the Ironing Board," words and music by Al Dubin and Harry Warren
"When You Were a Smile on Your Mother's Lips and a Twinkle in Your Daddy's Eye," words and music by Irving Kahal and Sammy Fain
"Try to See It My Way," words and music by Mort Dixon and Allie Wrubel.
DETAILS
Release Date:
1 September 1934
Production Date:
began 28 March 1934
Busby Berkeley completed his scenes 3 July 1934
dramatic sequences under Ray Enright's direction completed mid Aprilil 1934
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
30 October 1934
Copyright Number:
LP4987
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
103
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Horace P. Hemingway, his wife Mathilda, and daughter Barbara, will inherit ten million dollars from Mathilda's eccentric cousin Ezra Ounce if their lives can pass Ezra's moral scrutiny. Unfortunately, Barbara is in love with Jimmy Higgens, a black sheep member of the Ounce family and an aspiring actor. Their chances of meeting Ezra's requirements are further jeopardized by Mabel Anderson, a showgirl who blackmails Horace after she sleeps in his train compartment. Horace, innocent of any indiscretion, but afraid of losing Ezra's millions, pays off Mabel. With Horace's money, Mabel and Jimmy put on a lavish Broadway musical, featuring Barbara. Meanwhile, Ezra has formed the Ounce Foundation for the Elevation of American Morals and plans to stop the indecent show on opening night by hiring a group of thugs to start a fight when he waves his handkerchief. As the curtain is about to go up, Barbara is delayed, and Mabel goes on in her place. Barbara finally arrives to take her role in the romantic number with Jimmy, but during the performance, Ezra, Horace and Mathilda get drunk on Ezra's health elixir. While Mabel is singing her next song, she waves to Ezra and he inadvertently waves back with his handkerchief. The fight breaks out on cue, the police arrive, and everyone except Mathilda lands in jail, happily drunk on ... +


Horace P. Hemingway, his wife Mathilda, and daughter Barbara, will inherit ten million dollars from Mathilda's eccentric cousin Ezra Ounce if their lives can pass Ezra's moral scrutiny. Unfortunately, Barbara is in love with Jimmy Higgens, a black sheep member of the Ounce family and an aspiring actor. Their chances of meeting Ezra's requirements are further jeopardized by Mabel Anderson, a showgirl who blackmails Horace after she sleeps in his train compartment. Horace, innocent of any indiscretion, but afraid of losing Ezra's millions, pays off Mabel. With Horace's money, Mabel and Jimmy put on a lavish Broadway musical, featuring Barbara. Meanwhile, Ezra has formed the Ounce Foundation for the Elevation of American Morals and plans to stop the indecent show on opening night by hiring a group of thugs to start a fight when he waves his handkerchief. As the curtain is about to go up, Barbara is delayed, and Mabel goes on in her place. Barbara finally arrives to take her role in the romantic number with Jimmy, but during the performance, Ezra, Horace and Mathilda get drunk on Ezra's health elixir. While Mabel is singing her next song, she waves to Ezra and he inadvertently waves back with his handkerchief. The fight breaks out on cue, the police arrive, and everyone except Mathilda lands in jail, happily drunk on elixir. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.