Thanks for Listening (July 12, 1937)
Released July 12, 1937: (running time 63 minutes) Homer is a 'professional listener' in Reno, Nevada who wants to make it big in radio with his own talk show, but unwitting gets mixed up with blackmailers without knowing it.
Directed by Marshall Neilan
Written by John B. Clymer and Joseph O'Donnell
The Actors: Pinky Tomlin (Dr. Homer Tompkins), Maxine Doyle (Toots, Homer's girlfriend), Aileen Pringle (Lulu, blackmailer boss), Claire Rochelle (Trixie, blackmailer), Henry Roquemore (Peter, blackmail victim), Rafael Storm (Maurice, blackmailer), George Lloyd (Champ, blackmailer), Gwen Brian (Irene, singing sisters act), Betty Brian (Mary, singing sisters act), Doris Brian (Sally, singing sisters act), Beryl Wallace (Gloria, divorcee with problems), Eliot Jones (Gabriel), Lafe McKee (Peter's friend), Charles Prince (unknown)
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Truman 'Pinky' Tomlin was a famous songwriter and big band leader of the 1930's and 1940s. in 1923, at the age of 16, he was hired by the Louis Armstrong band that was working on a riverboat in St. Louis. During his time with Armstrong band he learned to play the guitar, and in later life performed several guitar concerts. This movie provided him and several other music acts that of the day. While you are getting your white kernel popcorn ready I'll give you the setup for this musical adventure.
In the 1930's more than 30,000 divorces were granted in Reno, Nevada. It became the divorce captial of the country after a famous 1906 divorce. The wife of the president of U.S. Steel went to Reno to get a divorce, and every delicious detail of that divorce procedure was outlined in newspapers across the country. By 1909 people all over the nation were heading to Reno to get a divorce, and the city advertised itself and it's hotels for this purpose. To get a divorce one had to be a 'resident' of Nevada, and at the time that required that you lived in the state for six months. Most of the hotels were full of women waiting their six months so that they could get a divorce. Tomlin is teaching guitar lessons to lonely women that are waiting there for a divorce, but because he is so empathetic and lets everyone unburden themselves to him, he misses many of his lesson appointments and gets fired. His girlfriend is a beautician and one of the lady customers in her shop decides that Homer may be part of her ticket to the good life. She sets Homer up as a professional 'Listener' and bugs his office so that she and her henchmen can learn people's secrets and blackmail them with the information.
Now, don't expect a nail-biting thriller or a head-scratching mystery, but for that rainy day when you just want to watch a good story and listen to some good 1930's music, and just enjoy life, this is the movie to watch. And you get to see some rare footage of band leader and song writer Pinky Tomlin.There is a bit of excitement in the story plot around the music, and a good time will be had by all. During the time that he made this film, Pinky was seeing the most famous drop-dead gorgeous chorus girl / bit part actor Toby Wing. Although Toby (Martha Virginia Wing) never became a household name, she did get a star on the Hollywood walk of fame, a rare thing for such a relatively unknown actor.