The Great American Broadcast

Overview

On the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of commercial radio, 20th Century-Fox cooked up the pageantlike entertainment The Great American Broadcast. Opening with clips of such airwaves favorites as Dick Powell and Fred Allen (courtesy of earlier Fox films like Thanks a Million), the picture gets under way in 1918, as ambitious army buddies Bix Martin (John Payne) and Chuck Hadley (Jack Oakie) try and fail to establish themselves in the business world. At long last, our heroes enter the new field of radio ...
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Overview

On the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of commercial radio, 20th Century-Fox cooked up the pageantlike entertainment The Great American Broadcast. Opening with clips of such airwaves favorites as Dick Powell and Fred Allen (courtesy of earlier Fox films like Thanks a Million), the picture gets under way in 1918, as ambitious army buddies Bix Martin (John Payne) and Chuck Hadley (Jack Oakie) try and fail to establish themselves in the business world. At long last, our heroes enter the new field of radio broadcasting, where after several technical and tactical mishaps they achieve success. But Bix and Chuck are strictly small-timers, and soon they're left behind by the big-city stations. The partners break up, while Bix's songstress wife Vicki Adams (Alice Faye) seeks out a loan to get her husband back on his financial feet. When she approaches her wealthy ex-boyfriend Bruce Chadwick (Cesar Romero), Bix burns up and walks out on her. But old pal Chuck comes to the rescue, staging a reunion between Bix and Vicki during the first-ever coast to coast network broadcast. Rather shaky as history, The Great American Broadcast works best on a nostalgia level, offering guest appearances by such specialty performers as The Ink Spots, The Nicholas Brothers, and The Wiere Brothers (of Road to Rio fame).
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Special Features

Closed Caption; ; Radio Waves: The Real History of the Great American Broadcast Featurette; Restoration Comparison ; Original Theatrical Trailer; Advertising Gallery; Still Gallery
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
As history, The Great American Broadcast leaves a lot to be desired, but as escapist entertainment, it's a nice enough way to while away the time. Forget about the plot; like many musicals of the period -- and especially those which involve radio broadcasts in a big way -- the story is of secondary importance. The screenwriters make an effort by setting the tale in the early days of radio, but they shoot themselves in the foot with a standard issue love triangle plot that doesn't make sense, in which characters behave stubbornly and stupidly only to give the plot some place to go. Fortunately, director Archie Mayo keeps things zipping along so that the plot doesn't matter that much. He does an especially good job with the set piece boxing sequence, and of course the musical numbers are quite good (even if some of the pieces would never really work over the sound-only medium of the radio). Alice Faye is her usual appealing self, in fine sultry voice and looking great. John Payne is stiff as expected but okay, and Jack Oakie provides energetic contrast and relief. The Nicholas Brothers dance up a storm, the Ink Spots deliver the goods on "If I Didn't Care" and the strange, whimsical Wiere Brothers add a special panache.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/7/2008
  • UPC: 024543536901
  • Original Release: 1941
  • Rating:

  • Source: 20th Century Fox
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Subtitled / Pan & Scan
  • Time: 1:31:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 99,089

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Alice Faye Vicki Adams
Jack Oakie Chuck Hadley
John Payne Rix Martin
Cesar Romero Bruce Chadwick
Four Ink Spots Specialty
James Newill Jimmy
Wiere Brothers Specialty
Mary Beth Hughes Secretary
Eula Morgan Mrs. Rinaldi
William Pawley Foreman
Lucien Littlefield Justice of Peace
Gary Breckner Announcer
Mike J. Frankovich Announcer
John Hiestand Announcer
Eddie Acuff Jimmy
Mildred Gover Jennie
Sid Saylor Brakeman
Eddie Kane Headwaiter
Frank Orth Counterman
Herbert Heywood Doorman
Eddie Conrad Conductor
Dorothy Dearing Bruce's Girl Friend
Arno Frey Waiter
William Halligan Mr. Porter
Sam McDaniel Porter
Fayard Nicholas
The Nicholas Brothers Specialty
John Sinclair Lineman
Charles Tannen Usher
Fred "Snowflake" Toones Porter
Technical Credits
Archie Mayo Director
Travis Banton Costumes/Costume Designer
Edwin Blum Screenwriter
Richard Day Art Director
Robert Ellis Screenwriter
Robert Ellis Screenwriter
Don Ettlinger Screenwriter
Albert Hogsett Art Director
Thomas K. Little Set Decoration/Design
Helen Logan Screenwriter
Kenneth MacGowan Associate Producer
J. Peverell Marley Cinematographer
Alfred Newman Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Leon Shamroy Cinematographer
Robert L. Simpson Editor
Darryl F. Zanuck Producer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Great American Broadcast
1. On the Air / Main Titles [1:48]
2. Washed Up [3:53]
3. Wireless Telephone [3:15]
4. Give My Regards to Broadway [1:27]
5. A Guy with Ideas [5:20]
6. A Bottle of Bourbon [:22]
7. It's All in a Lifetime [2:59]
8. I Take to You [3:42]
9. Sextet from "Lucia" [2:55]
10. A Whole New World [2:58]
11. Alabama Bound [:21]
12. Where You Are [4:09]
13. Her Hero [3:52]
14. Blow By Blow [5:15]
15. Radio Explodes [3:55]
16. Lunch at The Dover [6:15]
17. Out the Door [3:54]
18. Long Ago Last Night [3:44]
19. Stradivarius [1:22]
20. Heading To Reno [4:12]
21. Baiting the Hook [3:22]
22. I've Got a Bone to Pick With You [4:15]
23. Sharing the Glory [3:11]
24. Ironical Fate / End Titles [1:56]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Great American Broadcast
   Play Movie
   Language Selection
      Audio
         English Mono
      Subtitles
         English
         Spanish
         French
         Subtitles: None
   Scene Selection
   Special Features
      Radio Waves: The Real History of The Great American Broadcast
      Restoration Comparison
      Advertising Gallery
      Still Gallery
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