Synopsis by Hans J. Wollstein
Produced by small-scale Mascot Pictures, this behind-the-scenes look at a now forgotten annual Hollywood event, the WAMPAS Baby Star selection, starred former MGM light leading man William Haines in his penultimate film role. Well cast as Bob Preston, the brash publicity director of Superba Pictures, Haines will stop at nothing to make his girlfriend, WAMPAS Baby Star June Dale (Judith Allen) a movie queen, never mind if the result should strain their relationship. Finagling a contract with Superba's Samuel Goldwyn-like president (Joseph Cawthorn), Preston nevertheless nearly loses June to a Pasadena playboy (John Miljan), winning her back only by staging a fake suicide attempt. While Bob pursues June, the other 12 WAMPAS babies get to join vaudeville comedians Shaw and Lee in a rousing production number to J. Keirn Brennan and Ted Snyder's "Hush Your Fuss" and generally strut their stuff. Inaugurated in 1922, the yearly selection by the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers (WAMPAS) produced such future stars as Colleen Moore (1922), Clara Bow (1923), Joan Crawford (1926), and Ginger Rogers (1932), but by 1934 studio interference and competing pageants had made the event nearly obsolete. Instead of the yearly coming-out party, Hollywood studios were asked to feature the year's crop in their productions but only Paramount (with Kiss and Make Up) and Mascot obliged. In the end, only ten of the 1934 winners actually appeared in Young and Beautiful, albeit billed above the title: Judith Arlen, Betty Bryson, Jean Carmen, Dorothy Drake, Jean Gale, Hazel Hayes, Ann Hovey, Lucille Lund, Lu Anne Meredith, and Katherine Williams. One had to be left out to make room for the film's non-WAMPAS leading lady, Judith Allen, and the other two were apparently busy elsewhere. Helen Cohan, the daughter of George M. Cohan, Gigi Parrish, and Jacqueline Wells (aka Julie Bishop) were the no-shows and two of them were replaced with alternates Naomi Judge and Lenore Keefe. With the possible exception of Miss Wells/Bishop, none of the girls lasted more than a year or two and the yearly WAMPAS selection went the way of the Model-T. Aside from this now obscure yearly pageant, the best reasons to view Young and Beautiful today are William Haines' engaging performance and an enticing peek behind the gates at Mascot Pictures, the former Mack Sennett studios and future home of Republic Pictures.
jealousy, love, love-triangle, public-relations, romance, stars [celebrities]