Based on an idea by Will Rogers, the story concerns the efforts by the President of the United States to get the public's mind off the Depression. To this end, he appoints Broadway impresario Lawrence Cromwell (Warner Baxter) to the new cabinet position of "Secretary of Amusement." Wasting no time, Cromwell sets about to nationalize the entertainment industry, organizing singers, dancers, actors and other variety artists into batallion-like touring units. Cromwell is fought at every turn by a cartel of wealthy industrialists, who've been profiting from the Depression and have no desire to see America pull itself upward. Happily, every effort to bribe or cajole Cromwell into giving up his mission is thwarted and the Department of Amusement goes on to help the the country at a time when its citizens most needed it. Among the highlights are an energetic "revival-meeting" musical number by Aunt Jemima (Theresa Gardella), and 6-year-old Shirley Temple's rendition of "Baby Take a Bow." Originally released at 80 minutes, Stand Up and Cheer was edited to 69 minutes for reissue, then to 65 minutes (removing most of Stepin Fetchit's scenes) for television: it was this last version which was computer-colorized in 1987.
by Hal Erickson synopsis