Musicals from the 1930s

                                             Irene Dare                                                         Bobby Breen

Four of the movies in this site includes Bobby Breen Movies (# 8, 11, 12, 14) and one Irene Dare movie (# 13).

Bobby Breen (born November 4, 1927) is a Canadian-born singer and actor of the 1930s. His first major appearance was on Eddie Cantor's weekly radio show in 1936, and he soon became the leading child star at RKO Studios. He is best remembered today for his films, and for the fact that he was a boy soprano. His first film was Let's Sing Again (1936), followed by eight more, including Rainbow on the River (1936), Make a Wish (1937), and his last film, Johnny Doughboy(1942).  He continued working as a singer in nightclubs and a musical performer in stock theatre, later serving as a guest pianist for the NBC Symphony Orchestra on radio, and hosting a local TV show in New York.

Irene Dare was born in 1931 in St. Paul Minnesota.  There is very little about her on the internet. 




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1.  Glorifying the American Girl (1929) – Mary Eaton:

The rise of a showgirl, Gloria Hughes, culminating in a Ziegfeld extravaganza "Glorifying the American Girl".
Includes Eddie Cantor as Himself,  Helen Morgan as Herself, Rudy Vallee as Himself.

2.  Girl From Calgury (1932) – Fifi D’Orsay:

A French-Canadian girl (Fifi D’Orsay) is a champion bronc rider and is also a nightclub singer. An ambitious young man sees her act one night and is struck by her talent, realizing that she is good enough to become a Broadway star. He convinces her to accompany him to New York, where she indeed does become a Broadway star. However, the young man finds himself being squeezed out by greedy Broadway producers who see the talented young girl as their own personal gold mine.

3.  Girl o' My Dreams (1934) – Mary Carlisle:

Collage Kids are trying to hook up in the late 20s Early 30s.

This has splendid comic opportunities for Sterling Holloway, ArthurLake, and Lon Chaney, Jr. (of The Wolfman fame) and lots of girls.  It introduces some excellent musical numbers.  Lon Chaney Jr. even sings.  The opening of this film was shot on the campus of University of California at Berkeley.

4.  Symphony of Living (1935) – Al Shean:

An aging concert violinist (Al Shean) ignored by his grown children, becomes a music teacher. His most promising student, with whom he intends to make a comeback, turns out to be his own grandson!

5.  Harmony Lane (1935)  Douglass Montgomery:

Based on the life of America's Great Composer STEPHEN COLLINS FOSTER. Stephen Foster wrote Old Folks At Home, I Dream Of Jeannie and SwaneeRiver among other compositions.

6.  Land Without Music or  Forbidden Music (1936)  Jimmy Durante:

Forbidden Music, or 'Land Without Music', teams Jimmy Durante with Richard Tauber in a tale about a land so obsessed with music its Princess outlaws all forms of musical expression.  Tauber of course plays an opera singer who makes regular visits back to the country of his birth to appear in concert; but how will he fare under the new rules?

7.  Follow Your Heart (1936) – Marion Talley:

A Republic Musical.  Very Rare.

An eccentric musical family is kept in order by a talented daughter with modest ambitions.

This was Marion Talley's only film.(fabulous voice, little acting ability). The sound and the music fully utilized the new Republic sound dept. The costumes were lavish, as were the choral and orchestral work.

8.  Let's Sing Again (1936) – Bobby Breen (at age 8):

This first of eight black and white RKO musicals that showcase the arresting eight year old boy soprano Bobby Breen.

An orphan (Eight-year-old boy soprano Bobby Breen) gets a chance to sing opera in New York.

9.  Swing High, Swing Low (1937) – Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurry:

In Panama, Maggie King (Carol Lombard) meets soldier Skid Johnson (Fred MacMurry) on his last day in the army and reluctantly agrees to a date to celebrate. The two become involved in a nightclub brawl which causes Maggie to miss her ship back to the States. Now stranded, she's forced to move in with Skid and his pal Harry. She soon falls in love with Skid. Skid gets a job playing the trumpet at a local club and becomes a big success. Fame and fortune go to his head which eventually destroys his relationship Maggie and his career.

10. With Words and Music (1937) – Robert Armstrong:

A gangster (Robert Armstrong of King Kong fame) revives the careers of a faded Gilbert and Sullivan troupe in an elaborate scheme to get back at the girl who rejected him. The plot is farfetched, to say the least, but in my opinion, Robert Armstrong turns in a better performance in this obscure B musical than in King Kong. And the musical numbers, taken from a variety of G and S operettas, are great and performed authentically.

11.  Something to Sing About (1937) – James Cagney

A New York bandleader journeys to Hollywood when he is offered a contract with a studio, but he is determined to do things his way and not theirs.


12. Breaking the Ice (1938) – Bobby Breen (at age 10):

While the story is highly improbable and dated, it has wonderful songs written by Young, Churchill, & Webster. 

Victor Young was nominated for an Oscar in 1939 for Best Music - Original Score.

13.Hawaii Calls (1938) – Bobby Breen (at age 10):

After being nabbed while trying to stow away on board an ocean liner en route to Hawaii, young Bobby Breen sings for his travel fare and, along with sidekick Pua, turns detective to recover stolen naval documents from crooks.

14.  Frolics On Ice (1939) – Irene Dare (At age 6):

This film contains the ice-skating choreographies of the six year old Irene Dare.

The story is about her uncle (Roscoe Karns) riding on the coattails of his precocious nieces in order to enrich himself.


15.  Escape to Paradise (1939) – Bobby Breen (at age 11):

An American tourist in South America finds love and unexpected trouble.


16.  Singing Cowgirl (1939) – Dorothy Page:

The only really new thing in Westerns is this Lady Cowgirl...riding, fighting, and yes, singing. It’s a different kind of  Musical Western.