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Mr. Dodd Takes the Air

(1937 b 87')

En: 5 Ed: 4

A singer from a small town becomes a radio star pursued by women and those who want his radio invention.

At a strawberry festival Claude Dodd (Kenny Baker) sings "If I Were a Lily" and "The Sandman," which puts to sleep the wife of Morpheus Mattress company owner Hiram Doremus (Ferris Taylor). Claude fixes the lights, and Doremus hires him to sing in New York for $22.50 a week. Sniffer Sears (Frank McHugh) becomes Claude's manager. Dr. Quinn (Harry Davenport) operates on Claude's throat and tells him not to talk for 48 hours. On the radio show Claude sings "The Sandman;" but now he is a tenor, and Doremus complains. Marjorie Day (Jane Wyman) shows Claude and Sniffer the telegrams and keeps them from accepting lower offers until Gateway (Henry O'Neill) gives him $1,000 a week. Claude wants to see Marjorie, but she thinks he will change.

Claude is mobbed by female fans, and Sniffer tells him to stay a mystery man. Claude asks Marjorie out and on the radio sings to her "Am I in Love?" At her place Claude tells Marjorie he likes her. He fixes her radio, and she tells him to get a patent. Marjorie encourages Claude to take her to a night-club and to stand up to Gateway, who reprimands Claude to no avail. Gateway's party joins them, and Claude tells radio expert Jim Lidin (John Eldredge) about his invention and demonstrates it at Marjorie's apartment. Jessica Stafford (Gertrude Michael) asks Claude to take her home, where she asks him about love. Jim calls Jessica to get Claude's invention. She cries and tells Claude she needs money for rent. He writes her a check for $500 and kisses her hand before leaving.

Claude and Jessica attend a party to meet opera star Sonia Moro (Alice Brady), who is temperamental and sings on radio. Claude meets Sonia, who asks him to sing. Jessica and Sonia quarrel over Claude, and he sings "Remember Me." When Claude displays an artistic temper, Marjorie complains. Sniffer asks Claude why someone searched his place. Jessica calls, and Claude rushes over to pour water on her. Jessica tells Claude that Jim is trying to get his invention, and Marjorie is too. Claude goes to Marjorie; but she hid it and gives it to him. Sonia tells Claude she found a penthouse for him at $48,000, but Sniffer tells Claude he is spending all his money. Claude calls on Marjorie and says he loves her. Jessica comes in and says Marjorie patented his invention.

Disillusioned Claude sings "The Girl You Used to Be" as Marjorie weeps. Jessica and Sonia argue over Claude as he looks for Marjorie. Sniffer finds Claude walking in the rain and takes him to the hospital. Sniffer tells Sonia Claude is not her fiancé, and she takes Sniffer out. Jessica tells Claude she will sue him. Claude realizes he will be free if he can't sing. On radio Claude's voice cracks, and he returns to Pewamo. Sniffer comes back with his wife Sonia and Marjorie with Claude's patent to marry him. Claude shows he can sing "Am I in Love?"

This musical comedy satirizes the temptations a young singer faces from fans' adulation and sudden wealth.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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