She's Working Her Way Through College (1952)

Not Rated  |   |  Comedy, Musical  |  12 July 1952 (USA)
Your rating:
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 355 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 3 critic

Shapely burlesque dancer Hot Garters Gertie aka Angela Gardner meets her former teacher John Palmer, now a professor at Midwest State... where she decides to begin her new college career. ... See full summary »


(as Bruce Humberstone)


(screenplay), (play), 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Angela Gardner / 'Hot Garters Gertie'
Professor John Palmer
Don Weston
Don DeFore ...
Shep Slade
Helen Palmer
Patrice Wymore ...
'Poison' Ivy Williams
Roland Winters ...
Fred Copeland
Raymond Greenleaf ...
Dean Rogers
Ginger Crowley ...
Lonnie - Ivy's Friend
'Tiny' Gordon
Ramon Blackburn ...
Specialty Dancer (as The Blackburn Twins)
Royce Blackburn ...
Specialty Dancer (as The Blackburn Twins)


Shapely burlesque dancer Hot Garters Gertie aka Angela Gardner meets her former teacher John Palmer, now a professor at Midwest State... where she decides to begin her new college career. She rents a room; her new landlady proves to be the professor's wife. Among romantic complications, Angela helps the downtrodden dramatic arts department put on a potentially popular musical show...but someone's discovered her secret past. Does she have an ace up her garter? Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Musical


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

12 July 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

We're Working Our Way Through College  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Don Weston: Why d'you eat that rabbit food? You oughta have something solid.
Angela Gardner: I've got to watch my figure.
Don Weston: You eat. Let me watch it.
See more »


Version of The Male Animal (1942) See more »


Gee, But You're Swell
Music by Abel Baer
Lyrics by Charles Tobias
Sung off-screen by Chorus when Prof. Palmer gets up to leave Angela's dressing room
See more »

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User Reviews

Social Commentary Deleted
29 March 2012 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

All the social commentary that James Thurber wrote in The Male Animal about academic freedom has been deleted in this scrubbed version of that classic. She's Working Her Way Through College comes out as a rather insipid, but pleasant musical where singing and dancing is taken care of by Virginia Mayo and Gene Nelson. Ronald Reagan in the part that Henry Fonda played of the college professor is defending the right of former burlesque performer Virginia Mayo to attend class and star in a musical show the college is putting on.

Back in the day Mayo was known as 'Hot Garters Gertie' on the stage and all she wants to do is attend college quietly. But when Nelson who was formerly going out with Patrice Wymore starts paying attention to Mayo, Wymore finds out who she is and blows her cover. Which comes to the attention of chair of the board of directors Roland Winters who wants her expelled from the college. He puts it on Reagan's shoulders to do the job.

It was the age of McCarthyism and the original story which dealt with Henry Fonda reading a letter from the jailed Bartolomeo Vanzetti would never have been made at Warner Brothers at that point. And Ronald Reagan who as Governor of California would clash on academic freedom with the Berkeley Free Speech movement is still in an ironic position defending freedom for Mayo to attend college. But Reagan who fought communists in his union, the Screen Actors Guild would never have played the part as originally written and this is before his political career. And Virginia Mayo was also quite the conservative lady in her time as well.

One part of the film is retained where Don DeFore takes Jack Carson's role as the All American football alumnus who was a rival for Reagan for his wife Phyllis Thaxter. Reagan does repeat and does it well, Henry Fonda's drunk scene from The Male Animal.

She's Working Her Way Through College is pleasant enough, but not anything special and Thurber aficionados will not be pleased.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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