The Big Broadcast (1932)
The Big Broadcast is a 1932 American Pre-Code musical comedy film directed by Frank Tuttle and starring Bing Crosby, Stuart Erwin, and Leila Hyams. Based on the play Wild Waves by William Ford Manley, the film is about a radio-singer who becomes a popular hit with audiences, but takes a casual approach to his career. A casual affair leads to his dismissal, but his career is saved by the station manager who buys the station and gives him his job back. The film co-stars George Burns and Gracie Allen in supporting roles. The Big Broadcast was produced by Paramount Pictures and was the first picture in a series of four Big Broadcast movies.
It was Bing Crosby’s first starring role in a full-length film and generally he got good reviews. “The film is a credit to Crosby as a screen juve possibility, although he has a decidedly dizzy and uncertain role which makes him behave as no human being does.” The New York American commented: “Bing Crosby is the star, make no mistake about it. The “Blue of the Night” boy is a picture personality, as he demonstrated in his two-reelers. He has a camera face and a camera presence. Always at ease, he troupes like a veteran.” The Hollywood Citizen News had more to say: “…. Bing Crosby croons several attractive songs which seem destined to enjoy wide popularity. For that matter, he needn’t be ashamed of his acting either. Burns and Allen have several good comedy sequences, and Cab Calloway and his orchestra are excellent in one sequence. All the radio stars are heard much as you hear them on the air. The novelty of seeing them may be an attraction. But Tuttle has not relied upon the drawing power of that novelty. He has injected little touches of fantasy, hints of satire, moments of slapstick comedy and a general impression of jolly good humor. He tells you frankly that this picture is not to be taken seriously and I think that most audiences will believe him and thereby enjoy it.”
Cab Calloway & his Orchestra
Hot Toddy (Benny Carter)
Kickin’ the Gong Around (Harold Arlen, Ted Koehler)
Crazy People and Heebie Jeebies. McAfee (Boswell Sisters Discography) reports that the two songs were filmed in Queens, New York, on the same day for The Big Broadcast, but only “Crazy People” appears in the film.
Crazy People (m. James V. Monaco, w. Edgar Leslie)
live performance filmed for The Big Broadcast
Heebie Jeebies (Boyd Atkins) – First recorded by the sisters in 1931 (see Boswell Sisters: selected recordings of 1931). Additional words and music by Connee Boswell.
live performance filmed for, but not used in, the The Big Broadcast
The Mills Brothers
Tiger Rag (Harry DeCosta, Edwin B. Edwards, Nick La Rocca, Tony Sbarbaro and Larry Shields) – first recorded by the Original Dixieland Jass Band in 1917. The composition is credited to the members of the band.
Dinah (m. Harry Akst, w. Sam M. Lewis, Joe Young) and Please (Leo Robin, Ralph Rainger) – Bing sings and scats his way through a few bars of Dinah, then the camera cuts to another scene where he sings a portion of the song Please with guitar accompaniment by Eddie Lang.
Here Lies Love (m. Ralph Rainger, w. Leo Robin) – Bing and the Vincent Lopez Orchestra