This Marion Davies vehicle was loosely inspired by the career of Gloria Swanson. Davies plays would-be starlet Peggy Pepper, who arrives at the gates of MGM Studios with her dad Colonel Pepper (Dell Henderson) in hopes of becoming a great dramatic actress. Instead, she a scores a hit as an ingenue in the slapstick comedies starring the effervescent Billy Boone (William Haines). As the audience rocks with laughter during the preview of Peggy's first film (no one is more enthusiastic than her director Harry Gribbon), she sits in sullen silence, insisting to Billy that some day she'll invoke tears instead of laughter. This doesn't seem likely, inasmuch as Peggy can't even cry on cue (her director is forced to peel onions outside of camera range to achieve the desired emotion), but the tenacious young actress finally manages to win favor in dramatic roles. Inevitably, this causes a strain on her budding romance with Billy, and the couple slowly drifts apart. Now the unchallenged Queen of the Cinema, Peggy -- billing herself as Patricia Pepoire -- prepares to marry her oily leading man Andre (Paul Ralli), but mischievous Billy disrupts her fancy wedding. She angrily tosses Billy out of the house, realizing only when it's too late that she's still in love with him. But in the final scene, the hero and heroine are accidentally reunited on the set of a WWI picture directed by King Vidor (who also directed Show People). Two versions of Show People are currently available for TV; the "stretch-framed" Kevin Brownlow-David Gill restoration, with a new orchestral score by Carl Davis, and the original MGM release version, outfitted with a lively music and sound-effects track.
by Hal Erickson synopsis