Synopsis by Bruce Eder
The first of 20th Century-Fox's college musicals, Pigskin Parade is also close to the best of them in musical terms -- though they were all at least pretty good on that level -- principally thanks to the presence of 13-year-old Judy Garland, playing an Arkansas farm girl with surprising sincerity and success (in addition to belting out a couple of numbers with the depth and sincerity of a performer at least twice that age). The plot starts rolling when the Yale University football team, looking for a credible but not too tough opponent for a charity game, accidentally invites the team from tiny Tesax State University (enrollment 700) instead of the University of Texas (enrollment 7500). Texas State has also just gotten a new football coach, Slug Winters (Jack Haley), who's had a lot of success coaching high school back in Flushing, New York but still has to prove himself with college players -- he arrives with his brassy, outspoken wife (Patsy Kelly) just ahead of the invitation from Yale, which nearly sends them running back to New York. Through sheer luck and Mrs. Winters' brainstorm, however, they figure out a way they can meet the Yale team on the field and not get steamrollered -- they come up with a fast, highly mobile brand of football that makes them contenders, but then they lose their star-player. Mrs. Winters manages to stumble onto Amos Dodd (Stuart Erwin), an Arkansas farm boy who developed his arm by tossing watermelons around, and brings him and his sister (Judy Garland) to the college. But now they have to make Amos -- who never finished high school -- eligible, and keep him interested enough in the team and the college to get him to the game. It's all a lot of fun, with lots of comic antics and a song spicing up the pace every few minutes, and Haley and Kelly are a delight to watch together.
football, football-team, musical [play], talent, athlete, backwoods, coach, college, sports, underdog, class [social], classmate, freshman, practice [preparation], ball [dance], boy