The Great American Broadcast

  • 1941
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Musical

Oakie and Payne play a pair of enterprising WW I vets determined to strike it rich in the business world. Financed by another buddy, Romero, the duo bomb out in nearly every venture they enter into until someone suggests giving the fledgling medium of radio a try. With the enthusiastic help of Oakie's girl friend Faye, they begin to build their radio empire....read more

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Oakie and Payne play a pair of enterprising WW I vets determined to strike it rich in the business world. Financed by another buddy, Romero, the duo bomb out in nearly every venture they enter into until someone suggests giving the fledgling medium of radio a try. With the enthusiastic

help of Oakie's girl friend Faye, they begin to build their radio empire. Looking to broadcast an event of major significance in order to snare an audience, the team decides to do a play-by-play of the upcoming Willard-Dempsey fight of 1919. The broadcast is an unqualified success, with Faye and

Payne falling in love during the excitement. Payne and Oakie have a parting of the ways shortly thereafter. Soon the couple are married and running a small radio station, but stiff competition from the giant corporations is forcing them out. Unable to secure a loan to expand and modernize his

business, Payne feels defeated. To save the station, Faye goes to Romero for help and he agrees to finance the loan. Payne learns of the deal and leaves Faye in anger. Lonely and unable to run the station by herself, Faye goes to New York to work for Romero and Oakie, who now own and operate the

biggest radio station in the city. As the years go by, Faye becomes a radio singing sensation and considers going to Reno for a quickie divorce from Payne, who has yet to resurface. Oakie, finally admitting to himself that Faye never loved him, encourages her to remain married and vows to help her

find her husband. To do this, Oakie devises the first nationwide radio broadcast, an idea originally thought up by Payne, and plans to take credit for the scheme in all the papers, knowing that the news will enrage Payne enough to force a confrontation. The big day comes, and the broadcast goes on

the air, featuring dozens of top-name performers, including Jack Benny, Kate Smith, Rudy Vallee, Eddie Cantor, and of course, Faye. Oakie's plan works. Payne arrives at the station and is reunited with Faye. A solid variety musical, THE GREAT AMERICAN BROADCAST is a fast-paced, often funny, and at

times a fascinating look at the early days of radio. Though the production at times is a bit slipshod (none of Faye's gowns are circa 1920; the chorus' costumes are the same ones worn in ALEXANDER'S RAGTIME BAND, 1939), the film moves at such a rapid and entertaining rate that only the persnickety

would be bothered. Faye is as vivacious and charming as ever in her fifth and final appearance in a radio-inspired musical extravaganza. Songs include "I've Got a Bone to Pick with You," "It's All in a Lifetime," "I Take to You," "Long Ago Last Night," "Where You Are," "The Great American

Broadcast" (Mack Gordon, Harry Warren), "Albany Bound" (Buddy De Sylva, Bud Green, Ray Henderson), "Give My Regards to Broadway" (George M. Cohan), "If I Didn't Care" (Jack Lawrence).

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Oakie and Payne play a pair of enterprising WW I vets determined to strike it rich in the business world. Financed by another buddy, Romero, the duo bomb out in nearly every venture they enter into until someone suggests giving the fledgling medium of radi… (more)

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