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Wake Up and Dream (1934)

 -  Musical  -  1 October 1934 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 31 users  
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The story of a small-time vaudeville trio and their rise to the big time.



(original story and screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Russ Columbo ...
Paul Scotti
Roger Pryor ...
Charlie Sullivan
June Knight ...
Toby Brown
Catherine Doucet ...
Madame Rose
Henry Armetta ...
Giovanni Cellini
Joe Egbert aka Egghead
Spencer Charters ...
Earl Craft
Wini Shaw ...
Mae LaRue
Gavin Gordon ...
Richard Carle ...
Roger Babcock
Paul Porcasi ...
Maurice Black ...
Clarence Wilson ...
Arthur Hoyt ...
George Spelvin
Philip Dakin ...
John Richards


The story of a small-time vaudeville trio and their rise to the big time.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Release Date:

1 October 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sonhando de Dia  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When You're in Love
Words and Music by Russ Columbo, Bernie Grossman and Jack Stern
Performed by Russ Columbo, June Knight, Catherine Doucet and Henry Armetta
See more »

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User Reviews

Too Beautiful For Words
25 October 2007 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Maybe Wake Up and Dream is not that. But that is the title of one of three songs Russ Columbo both sung and had a hand in writing for this film that was to launch his career as a musical film star with Universal Pictures.

In his other feature film lead, Broadway Through a Keyhole, Columbo was not called on to act much, but sing beautifully. He does again here, but also begins to show traces of a nice film personality. No doubt he would have been a fine romantic lead.

Russ, together with June Knight and Roger Pryor are a vaudeville trio act where Russ is clearly the lead and the talented one. The film is a story of their misadventures to get to stardom for at least one of them and the romantic triangle that was complicating things.

At the time Wake Up and Dream was being shot Columbo was doing a fifteen minute weekly radio show with Hollywood columnist Jimmy Fidler. I happen to have a bootleg recording of that broadcast where Fidler plugs his co-star's upcoming film. It was in July of 1934 and on September 2, 1934, Russ Columbo was shot accidentally with an antique dueling pistol by friend and companion Lansing Brown.

Even more ironically on August 31, 1934 Columbo entered a recording studio for the first time in a year and a half. He had a dispute with RCA Victor which kept him contractually from recording anything. He did four sides in that session, the three songs from Wake Up and Dream: Too Beautiful for Words, Let's Pretend There's A Moon, and When You're In Love together with I See Two Lovers from the Rudy Vallee/Helen Morgan film, Sweet Music. This was to be the start of a long term deal with Brunswick Records who had just lost the services of Bing Crosby who had gone to that new company Decca, that year. As you can see this man's career was entering into high gear.

In fact Universal planned to star him in what would be their big budget musical film, Showboat as Gaylord Ravenal. Eventually of course Allan Jones played the part opposite Irene Dunne. Jones was great in the role, but Russ would have made a fine Ravenal.

Wake Up and Dream also features Henry Armetta as Columbo's foster father who is being chased by lovesick fortune teller Catherine Doucet. They do a fine obbligato version of When You're In Love after Columbo and June Knight sing it as a duet.

When Russ Columbo died before the film was released, Universal of course took a great loss. Columbo was intended to be their musical star opposite Bing Crosby at Paramount or Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers at RKO or even Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald at MGM or Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler at Warner Brothers. Universal had to wait a few more years before getting a box office bankable musical performer in Deanna Durbin.

It was a great loss monetarily for Universal Pictures, but an even bigger loss to cinema that Russ Columbo died so tragically at the age of 26. I think you'll agree with me if you ever see Wake Up and Dream.

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