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The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938)

Passed  -  Animation | Comedy | Musical  -  11 February 1938 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 587 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 10 critic

The Bellows family causes comic confusion on an ocean liner, with time out for radio-style musical acts.



(screen play), (screen play), 5 more credits »
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Title: The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938)

The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938) on IMDb 6.6/10

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
T. Frothingill Bellows / S.B. Bellows
Martha Raye ...
Martha Bellows
Dorothy Wyndham
Shirley Ross ...
Cleo Fielding
Lynne Overman ...
Scoop McPhail
Buzz Fielding
Ben Blue ...
Bob Hayes (as Leif Erikson)
Patricia Wilder ...
Honey Chile
Grace Bradley ...
Grace Fielding
Rufe Davis ...
Lionel Pape ...
Lord Droopy
Virginia Vale ...
Joan Fielding (as Dorothy Howe)
Russell Hicks ...
Capt. Stafford
Kirsten Flagstad ...
Specialty: of the Metropolitan Opera Company


New ocean liner S.S. Gigantic is about to race its rival, the Colossal. Gigantic owner T.F. Bellows sends his brother S.B. on the Colossal, hoping he will cause trouble; delayed by a golf game, S.B. lands on Gigantic instead, and so does his unlucky daughter Martha. Meanwhile, radio emcee Buzz Fielding announces a series of musical acts and tries to juggle fiancée Dorothy and three ex-wives who've come for the ride. Can the Gigantic win against all handicaps? Will true love triumph? Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The finest array of entertainment ever offered !


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Release Date:

11 February 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Big Broadcast of 1938  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(copyright length)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


One of over 700 Paramount productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »


First reporter: Say, do you know anything about electricity?
S.B. Bellows: My father occupied the chair of applied electricity at State Prison.
See more »


Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #22.3 (2005) See more »


(1937) (uncredited)
Music by Ralph Rainger
Lyrics Leo Robin
Performed by Shirley Ross, chorus, and dancers
See more »

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User Reviews

Fifth Billed
26 February 2007 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

If The Big Broadcast of 1938 is remembered today it's for the fact that it introduced Bob Hope in his first feature film and at the same time gave him his theme song Thanks for the Memory. Hope was billed fifth in this production behind W.C.Fields, Martha Raye, Dorothy Lamour, and Shirley Ross.

It was in fact a Fields film, but it was also to be Fields's last film for Paramount and everyone knew it. Though there are some flashes of typical Fields humor, basically Fields staggers through the role, a dual role in fact of two brothers, owners of a transatlantic steamship line.

The very thin plot of this film is the fact that two big luxury liners are in a race from New York to Cherbourg with a lot of money in various bets on the race. In fact that's where Bob Hope's money is, tied up in wagers. If he loses, his three ex-wives are going to clobber him with alimony, the three former spouses being Shirley Ross, Dorothy Lamour, and Grace Bradley.

All three are on board one of the liners with Hope who's a broadcaster and will be broadcasting the race on a worldwide hookup.

Of course the plot is simply a convenience to allow a lot of talented people to show their stuff and they do. Besides Thanks for the Memory, Dorothy Lamour has a very nice song in You Took The Words Right Out Of My Heart which she sings to aspiring inventor Leif Erickson.

Thanks for the Memory is sung here and later recorded as a duet by Bob Hope and Shirley Ross. Ms. Ross's part in introducing what became the Oscar winning Best Song of 1938 is usually forgotten. Shirley Ross is also undeservedly forgotten herself today. She had a pleasing screen personality, a bit like Alice Faye and a good way with a lyric, just like Faye. Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger wrote Thanks for the Memory, probably the biggest hit that songwriting team ever had.

The Big Broadcast of 1938 was the last in a series of Big Broadcast films. By then I guess radio wasn't such a novelty gimmick to weave a film around. The first Big Broadcast gave Hope's lifetime rival, Bing Crosby, his first feature film starring role.

The film is part of an era of wonderful nonsense on the screen that was never concerned with any message of significance, just with providing the public with good entertainment. And with the cast of this film, it's guaranteed to be good entertainment.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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