A former art student returns from Europe to run the department store he inherited from his father and finds his employees behaving very bizarrely.



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Cast overview:
Robert Hope Jr.
John Berkes ...
Sheet Music Clerk (as Johnnie Berkes)
Elevator Operator (as Tommy 'Cecil' Mack)
Bill Hobbs


Art student Robert Hope Jr. returns from Europe to inherit his father's department store on the condition that he manage it successfully for a year. Ambitious acting manager Bill Hobbs wants to maintain his position and conspires with store employees to behave very bizarrely to the young heir in hopes that he will be too stressed to adhere to the will's provisions. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Comedy





Release Date:

15 February 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Big V Comedies (1935-1936 season) #10: Shop Talk  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Vitaphone production reels #1901-1902. See more »


Mustache cup clerk: Here's a beautiful thing - a mustache cup!
Robert Hope Jr.: Yeah, but my brother hasn't a mustache.
Mustache cup clerk: Well, why don't you take it home and show it to him? Maybe he'd love to grow a mustache. They're lovely! My father had one once, but he disappeared for 3 days, and where do you think we found him? In the cellar with his mustache caught in Mother's dryer.
See more »


Happiness Ahead
Music by Allie Wrubel
Played when the music salesman is fumbling with the sticky sheet music
Also played when the men are discussing mother songs
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User Reviews

Double-Takes and Double-Talk
26 February 2002 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

"Shop Talk" has a clever premise. Bob Hope stars as a young playboy who considers settling down and becoming the manager of his father's department store. He visits the store to find out what all the employees do. The current manager doesn't want to lose his job; he bribes all the store's employees to act strangely so that Hope will be scared off and go back to his playboy life. There are several funny bits in which a shopgirl or a clerk does something bizarre, prompting Hope to react with one of his famous double-takes.

Unfortunately, the film doesn't trust us to get this idea. Every time Hope walks away from another "crazy" person, we have to sit through a visual explanation for this strange behaviour: the manager comes along, peels off a banknote for the employee, and they shake hands. We see this again and again and again, with no variations.

There's a funny running gag: every time Bob Hope enters any of the store's elevators, the same liftman is on duty in every elevator. The elevator operator is played by a double-talking vaudeville comedian who deserved to be better known. The very last gag in "Shop Talk" involves a trick-photography shot: I won't give it away here. It's funny and technically impressive, but the same joke was done much more impressively (and with funnier results) by Buster Keaton in "The Playhouse".

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