The first musical comedy from the Grand National assembly line, Hats Off stars John Payne and Mae Clarke as rival press agents Jimmy Maxwell and Jo Allen. Both have been assigned to stir up publicity for separate expositions at the 1936 Texas Centennial (newsreel footage of which predominates throughout the film's short running time). To throw Jimmy off the track, Jo pretends to be a schoolteacher, but by the time the ruse has been revealed, the two leading characters have fallen in love. Payne and Clarke perform a duet of the film's best song, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Song," while comic soubrette Helen Lynd socks across two novelty numbers, "Little Odd Rhythm" and "Let's Have Another." Hats Off represented John Payne's first leading role, launching a career that would last well into the early 1960s; it was also the first screenwriting credit for future cult-favorite director Samuel Fuller.
by Hal Erickson synopsis