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Hollywood Handicap (1938)

Passed | | Short, Comedy, Music | 28 May 1938 (USA)
A musical short in which a group of musician stable hands race a horse in the Hollywood Handicap at Santa Anita Park racetrack with many celebrities of the day in attendance.


Buster Keaton


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Cast overview, first billed only:
The Original Sing Band The Original Sing Band ... Singing Stablehands
Charles Ruggles ... Charlie Ruggles (as Charlie Ruggles)
Mickey Rooney ... Mickey Rooney
Stuart Erwin ... Stuart Erwin
June Collyer ... June Collyer
Charles Butterworth ... Charlie Butterworth (as Charlie Butterworth)
Al Jolson ... Al Jolson
Ruby Keeler ... Ruby Keeler
Edgar Bergen ... Edgar Bergen
Dorothy Lamour ... Dorothy Lamour
Bing Crosby ... Bing Crosby
Robert Montgomery ... Robert Montgomery
Edmund Lowe ... Edmund Lowe
Billy 'Red' Jones Billy 'Red' Jones ... Red Jones (as Red Jones)
Warner Baxter ... Warner Baxter


Colonel Canfield is retiring from horseracing and is auctioning off his stock. The Canfield Stable Hands (The Original Sing Band) are given prize race horse Suzie Q in appreciation of all of their hard work over the years. The stable hands envision great wealth. To raise funds for the entry fee to the Hollywood Handicap, they sell their musical instruments at auction but the auctioneer (Don Brodie) walk away with most of the proceeds as his fee. The Singing Stablehands are fortunate to hired to perform at the turf club. The boys improvise by mostly using their mouths as musical instruments and get coins tossed into the horseshoe arranged tables by the patrons. Finally, they have the funding necessary for the race. Race day arrives with a host of stars in the audience including Charles Ruggles, Stuart Erwin, June Collyer, Mickey Rooney, Bing Crosby, Oliver Hardy, Ruby Keeler, Charlie Butterworth, Al Jolson, Robert Montgomery, Edgar Bergen and Dorothy Lamour among others. Suzie Q seems ...

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Plot Keywords:

race | horse | band | singer | singing | See All (16) »


See a galaxy of stars at Santa Anita


Short | Comedy | Music


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The voice heard in this film's horse race scenes is that of Joe Hernandez - Santa Anita's famous original race caller from the track's opening Dec 25 1934 until 1972. He also called the races at other tracks during their seasons. See more »


Racetrack Announcer: The horses are now coming on the track - with Leading Lady, number 1, followed by Rhythm King - which Bing Crosby says he bought for a song.
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Crazy Credits

Other than The Original Sing Band, the racetrack announcer identifies individually all the credited cast members who were listed collectively as "a Galaxy of Stars" in the opening credits. . See more »


(1937) (uncredited)
Written by Cole Porter
Performed by The Original Sing Band
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User Reviews

Do not ignore this film just because of its stereotypes--it's an interesting and important little time capsule
25 November 2006 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

While I was not originally going to watch this musical short since I usually hate musical shorts, I decided to see it when I saw that it was directed by none other than Buster Keaton!! It was obvious looking at Keaton's career that MGM had absolutely no idea how to use his many talents. Starting in the sound era, MGM did practically everything they could to unintentionally waste his talents. The first was pairing the visual comic with the loud, brash and pretty obnoxious Jimmy Durante. Their styles had absolutely nothing in common and Keaton just looked lost in the films--and worst of all, they weren't funny. It was so bad that by the late 1930s, he all but disappeared from the screen except in bit roles. MGM didn't know what to do with this contracted player, so they assigned him to direct some shorts. And the short, overall, is good and achieves what it intended--a short and amiable musical interlude before or between features. However, fans looking for a short that transcends this limited goal (such as Keaton's silent shorts) will be disappointed.

In addition, the film is in some ways uncomfortable to watch here in the 21st century and is an important history lesson. The singing group in the film is made up of some talented Black men who, at times, act pretty stereotypical for the time period. Blacks were not often seen in mainstream films of the era, but when they did they were usually servants or child-like "boys" who could sing and dance. The singing is excellent and catchy, but you can't help but feel that the film is patronizing and these men are allowed to act within very prescribed limits--the characters can't have depth or anguish--they must enjoy being exactly who they are and nothing more.

This short isn't quite as good as a previous one I saw featuring the band entitled "STREAMLINE SWING", but it's still an interesting little curio. The men in the band work at the race track. Because of their hard work and decency, the owner of a race horse gives them his prized horse! They envision great wealth, but the plot doesn't exactly work out as they expected! Along the way, there's a lot of decent singing and energy. These men were talented--it's just a darn shame the only films they were offered were so very limited and stereotypical.

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Release Date:

28 May 1938 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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