Friday, November 11, 2022


Since I have been blessed with children, dreams of going to Hawaii have been placed on the back burner. I have never been there, but Bing was for his 1937 film Waikiki Wedding. Since most of you will be reading this in summer, I figured it was an appropriate film to review this time around. Waikiki Wedding was directed by Frank Tuttle, who worked with Bing extensively at Paramount in the 1930s. He directed Bing’s other 1930s films like: The Big Broadcast (1932), Here Is My Heart (1934), Two For Tonight (1935), Doctor Rhythm (1938), and Paris Honeymoon (1939). The usual Paramount stars of the 1930s appear with Bing in the film as well including Shirley Ross, Martha Raye, and Bob Burns. A rarity of movie productions during 1930s, the film was actually filmed on location between November of 1936 and February 1937.

The plot of Waikiki Wedding is slight but enjoyable. Bing plays Tony Marvin, a lazy man who works in publicity for the Imperial Pineapple Company. He is almost about to get fired when he comes up with the idea of a “Pineapple Girl” contest. The winner gets three weeks in Hawaii, and the winner’s every moment on the trip is meant to be reported to the press for publicity. The girl that wins, Georgia Smith (played by Shirley Ross), is extremely bored and ready to go home when a stranger gives her a black pearl to smuggle through customs. Bing offers Shirley his help, and they find out that the pearl is sacred and must be returned to a certain little island or a volcano will erupt and destroy the village. Bing takes Shirley on the trip to the island, and in the meantime begins to fall in love with her. In the long run, Shirley finds out that it was all a publicity stunt manufactured by the Imperial Pineapple Company. She returns to her hotel to find her father and fiancée waiting for her. Her fiancée wants to take her home to marry her. Bing meanwhile wants to destroy the articles that he had written for the publicity department, and he tells Shirley he wants to marry her. However, Shirley is still angry and tells Bing that she will return home with her father. Bing boards the ship and tries to rekindle his romance with Shirley by singing in the next state room to her. Shirley reports him, and he is kicked off the boat. Bing and Shirley are reunited after an old lady hired by Bing to pose as his mother visits Shirley and persuades her that it is Bing who she is meant to be with. So basically, Bing gets Shirley to fall in love with him by lying to her, and he wins her back the same way!

Regarding the cast, his love interest Shirley Ross was one of the underrated actresses of the 1930s. If you remember her, she duetted with Bob Hope on his breakthrough song “Thanks For The Memory” in Paramount’s The Big Broadcast Of 1938. However, Hollywood never knew what to do with Shirley. She mostly starred either opposite Bob Hope or Bing Crosby, and by the 1940s her career was in decline. She appeared opposite Bob Burns on his radio show in the mid-1940s, but retired soon after to take care of her ailing husband. She died unknown in 1975, but Bing and Bob reportedly sent a 5-foot tall cross with white carnations and a spray of red roses to her funeral. Bing and Shirley had great chemistry in the film, and when they sang “Blue Hawaii” together you believed they were falling for each other. The supporting cast was equally as good with Bob Burns (whom I never really cared for) and Martha Raye playing off each other well. Also rounding out the cast was familiar supporting performers like Leif Erikson, Grady Sutton, and a young Anthony Quinn....


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