20th Century-Fox, 1936 (BW, 95 minutes)
Due to a miscommunication, Yale inadvertently invites the small Texas State University to play their football team for a benefit game. Coincidentally, TSU has just hired a new coach (Jack Haley) who arrives at the college
with his wife (Patsy Kelly) just in time to hear the announcement that the team is to play Yale. The coach digs in to whip the team into shape, but just before the big game, the quarterback breaks his leg. All seems hopeless until they stumble across an
Arkansas hillbilly (Stuart Erwin) who throws a football like no one they've ever seen. The only problem remaining is to figure a way to get the college to enroll the hillbilly so that he can take the place of the injured quarterback.
Screenplay by: , and ,
from a story by Arthur Sheekman, Jack Yellen and Mark Kelly
Music and lyrics by: & and
Filmed: August 1936 - September 1936 (Judy was 14 years old)
Released: October 1936
... Amos Dodd
... Bessie Winters
... Slug Winters
... Chip Carson
... Laura Watson
... Sally Saxon
... Ginger Jones
... Sairy Dodd/Murine VanDyck
... Tommy Baker
... H. Tewilliger VanDyck
Eddie Nugent ... Sparks
Grady Sutton ... Mortimer Higgins
Julius Tannen ... Dr. Burke
Sam Hayes ... Radio Announcer at ballgame [Himself]
Bob McClung ... Country Boy
George Herbert ... Professor
Jack Murphy ... Usher
Pat Flaherty ... Referee
David Sharpe ... Messenger Boy
Si Jenks ... Baggage Master
John Dilson ... Doctor
Jack Stoney ... Policeman
George Y. Harvey ... Brakeman
Ben Hall ... Boy in Stadium
Lynn Bari ... Girl in Stadium
Charles Wilson ... Yale Coach
George Offerman Jr. ... Freddy
Maurice Cass ... Prof. Tutweiler
Jack Best ... Prof. McCormick
Douglas Wood ... Prof. Dutton
Charles Croker-King ... Prof. Pillsbury
Alan Ladd ... Student
Edward Le Saint ... Judge
Jed Prouty ... Mr. Van Dyke
Emma Dunn ... Mrs. Van Dyke
1936 - what a cast! Front L-R: Dixie Dunbar, Jack Haley, Patsy Kelly, Stu Erwin, Judy Garland, Betty Grable, Johnny Downs. Second row: between Haley and Kelly is Tony Martin; between Erwin and Garland is one of the Yacht Club Boys; between Garland and
Grable is Fred Kohler Jr. All up-and-coming players at the time, not one failed to become a household name.
[0:15] (Tony Martin, Dixie Dunbar and Ensemble)
[0:20] (The Yacht Club Boys)
[0:28] (The Yacht Club Boys)
[0:50] (The Yacht Club Boys, Elisha Cook, Jr., and Chorus)
[0:58] (Dixie Dunbar, Johnny Downs, Betty Grable, Judy Garland,
Jack Haley, Patsy Kelly and The Yacht Club Boys)
[1:04] (Jack Haley)
[1:09] (Judy Garland)
[1:11] (Judy Garland)
[1:20] (The Yacht Club Boys)
[1:31] (reprise, Ensemble and Chorus)
[cut] "Hold That Bulldog" (Judy Garland and Ensemble)
In 1936 MGM loaned Judy to Fox to make Pigskin Parade - the only time MGM would loan her out to any studio. Loanouts of new players was common practice during the years of the studio system. New players could be given
an audience test with no risk to the loaning studio. Why Judy was loaned out is not clear, but many of the producers at MGM were reluctant to use her because they thought audiences wouldn't believe that her voice wasn't dubbed. In addition, MGM was not
sure how to feature a teenage singer - something with which they had little experience. The MGM strategy seems to have been to get Judy known - let her appear on radio, on publicity tours, at parties and social functions, record on Decca, and even appear
in a Fox film. Once she was known they could put her in their own productions with some confidence that audiences would believe that the voice they heard was her own.
Fox was obviously aware of Judy's talents. They created the part for her, and the script contains phrases such as "This is where Judy will do her stuff ... giving out a thrilling rendition like it's never been done
Judy's performance in this film is probably as good as could be expected of anyone in such a small part. But, her singing is truly amazing. It is interesting to see Judy in a support role - something we don't see very often!
Pigskin Parade and are the earliest of the films in which she sang during her early teens. Previously, she was in a number of shorts with her sisters, but she was only seven years old at
the time. The development of her voice and screen presence were truly remarkable over the next five years! There is only one recording of Judy between the age of about 7, when she was in the Vitaphone shorts, and the age of 14 when she appeared in
Pigskin Parade. That film is an MGM short called . Although her singing at age 7 is impressive, her talent really blossomed during the next few years. At age 7, no one could
have known what was in store for her, but by age 14, it was obvious that the little girl with the great big voice was definitely going to be a star.
Though Fox designed this film as a vehicle for Stuart Erwin, their latest upcoming star, Erwin was nominated for Best Supporting Actor. Audiences and critics considered Patsy Kelly and Jack Haley to be the leading actress
and actor of the film, so Erwin's nomination was a dubious honor for the actor.
The film is now available on videotape . The release date was June 3, 1997, and the tape is still in print. All of Judy's films are now commercially
available on tape. This one is worth the price for the cover alone! It just may be my favorite Judy video cover! Thanks so much, Fox!
Though there is no "official" soundtrack, there is an "unofficial" soundtrack available on CD. It is (1996). The sound quality of the CD is not great, but
it's good enough for me, especially since there's no other choice.
See for information about the latest releases of home video and sountrack.
See for more information on this and other classic films.
"In the newcomer category is Judy Garland, about 12 or 13 now, about whom the West Coast has been enthusing as a vocal find ... She's a cute, not too pretty but pleasingly fetching personality, who certainly knows how to
sell a pop."
- Variety, November 18, 1936
Sairy: "Y'all stop fer melons?" (Judy Garland's first line in a feature film!)
Sairy: "I can sing! Ya wanna hear me?"
Sairy: "Van Dyck. Gotta git me a high-toned front handle for that! (pauses, thinking) I got it! Murine!"
Amos: "Murine? Well, that's right fancy! Where'd ya get that?"
Sairy: "Off'n a bottle!"