The Big Broadcast of 1936 is an uneven, but still pretty entertaining, revue
In reviewing films featuring African-Americans in chronological order for Black History Month, we're back in 1935 when Paramount mounted another in The Big Broadcast revue series three years after the first one. Among the reasons I'm commenting on this entry for this occasion: dancers Harold and Fayard Nicholas as well as Bill "Bojangles" Robinson-all of whom are quite entertaining-not to mention The Dandridge Sisters-Dorothy, Vivian, and friend Etta Jones though I have to admit I didn't recognize them during their brief appearance. In summation, there's some hilarious comedy from George Burns and Gracie Allen but the actual plot of radio station owners Jack Oakie and Henry Wadsworth being involved with a couple of ladies isn't all that funny until the chase scene at the end. Then there's also some unrelated sketches involving Amos 'n' Andy (once again, Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll in burnt cork), Charlie Ruggles and Mary Boland, and a running gag of some men trying to build a house that were also highly amusing. And there's some pretty good musical instrumentals led by Ray Noble and Ina Ray Hutton (like me, a Chicago native) and just as good vocal spots from Bing Crosby and Ethel Merman with the latter doing a number originally meant for We're Not Dressing. So on that note, The Big Broadcast of 1936 is no great shakes but if you're curious about this sort of thing, it's worth a look.
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