June 12, 2008
From the perspective of this blog, the film sort of plays as a review of Charley’s past roles before becoming the Durango Kid.
1938 Film starts with football star Charley winning the big game. Roll End Credits to reveal that it’s a movie. Then, like in “Cowboy Star”, Charley the movie star quits the movies. He wants to go back to being “a human being” by going to college. College star Charley tries to fit in (in real life, Starrett would have been 35), but his manager and entourage keep trying to get him expelled. If only they had worked a train in there some how…
Nice comic touch from Charley in this that isn’t often evident in his Westerns. He also sings — a fraternity pledge song, a love song to his gal “You’re My Heaven On Earth” — guess what? He’s a tenor (or at least the guy who’s dubbing him is.) He also gets to wear a pair of cool looking sunglasses through much of the film.
Mainly the film is a revue of Columbia’s talent: Jimmy Durante as the manager’s assistant, Joan Perry as the gal, the Three Stooges as coach’s assistants and then as campus firemen. Plus big band singer Gertrude Niesen, Louis Prima with his band, someone named Professor Quiz, dancers and a guy who eats paper (Chaz. Chase). Plus a whole bunch of cameos I’m sure I didn’t catch.
The big finale is the campus football game where Charley has to win over the other players to win the big game, just like in the movie-within-the-movie at the beginning.
It’s a car race back to campus so that Charley can “sing” the big song “Start Cheering” for the tooth commercial radio broadcast.