Hips Hips Hooray!

Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey were a Vaudeville team who transferred their act to the big screen in a series of zany comedies. Hips Hips Hooray is generally considered one of their best films, and featured tap-dancing chlorines and Ruth Etting singing Keep Romance AliveKeep on Doin’ What You’re Doin’ was the other big hit from the film. Both songs were written by Bert Kalmer and Harry Ruby.

The slight plot involves Wheeler and Woolsey as shysters who convince Thelma Todd to allow them to become salesmen for her beauty supply business. This gives them the opportunity to taste test her flavored lipsticks on a series of beautiful women, while simultaneously trying to outwit the police who are hot on their trail. Dorothy Lee and George Meeker rounded out the cast.

rottentomatoes.com calls Hips Hips Hooray “a series of romantic high jinks and wacky capers.”

Leonard Maltin says “One of Wheeler & Woolsey’s best vehicles is a lavish, risqué musical comedy about their attempts to save Todd’s ailing beauty business. Wild production numbers, plus a nice song from Etting, Keep Romance Alive.”

Despite her small role, Ruth Etting had third billing behind Wheeler and Woolsey. Betty Grable appeared in an un-credited bit part.

Hips Hips Hooray! (1934)

Hips Hips HoorayRKO Radio Pictures, USA, Black and White, 68 minutes

Full Credits:
Directed by Mark Sandrich
Written by Bert Kalmar, Edward Kaufman, and Harry Ruby
Executive Produced by Merian C. Cooper
Associate Produced by H.N. Swanson
Original Music by Harry Ruby and Bert Kalmar
Non-Original Music by Max Steiner
Cinematography by David Abel
Film Editing by Basil Wrangell
Art Direction by Carroll Clark and Van Nest Polglase
Costume Design by Walter Plunkett

Cast: (in credits order)
Bert Wheeler:  Andy Williams
Robert Woolsey:  Dr. Bob Dudley
Ruth Etting:  Ruth
Thelma Todd:  Amelia Frisby
Dorothy Lee:  Daisy Maxwell
George Meeker:  Armand Beauchamp
Phyllis Barry:  Madame Irene
James P. Burtis:  Detective Sweeney
Matt Briggs:  Det. Epstein
Spencer Charters:  Clark
Ruth Etting - Keep On Doin What You're DoinStanley Blystone:  Race Driver (uncredited)
True Boardman:  Sports Announcer (uncredited)
June Brewster:  Bit (uncredited)
Marion Byron:  Page Girl (uncredited)
Jean Carmen:  Blonde (uncredited)
Nat Carr:  Gas Station Proprietor (uncredited)
Elise Cavanna:  Miss Pilot, Radio Announcer (uncredited)
Otto Fries:  Mountaineer (uncredited)
Betty Grable:  Bit (uncredited)
Dorothy Granger:  Miss Cole, Stenographer (uncredited)
Alfred P. James:  Mule Driver (uncredited)
Walter James:  Mountaineer (uncredited)
Joe Smith Marba:  Poolroom Proprietor (uncredited)
Doris McMahon:  Maid (uncredited)
Carlyle Moore Jr.:  Clark’s Assistant (uncredited)
Lee Shumway:  Cop (uncredited)
Bobby Watson:  Dance Director (uncredited)

The comedy team of Wheeler and Woolsey (Robert Woolsey left and Bert Wheeler right) enlisted Ruth Etting and Thelma Todd – sans her trademark blond hair – for Hips, Hips, Hooray! (RKO, 1934).
The comedy team of Wheeler and Woolsey with Thelma Todd

2 Responses to Hips Hips Hooray!

  1. Pingback: These Hips Are Free Hips | redressingeve

  2. I enjoy this somewhat zany film whenever I can catch it on TCM, however, my favourite moments are those with Ruth Etting, who livens up the film with her singing and then literally vanishes. I wish she’d had more to do.

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