Perhaps hoping to emulate the Hollywood success of his arch-rival Walter Winchell, New York gossip columnist Ed Sullivan starred in the cheaply produced musical hodgepodge Mr. Broadway. As stiff and unsmiling as he'd be on his much-later TV series, Sullivan appears as himself, taking the viewer on a guided tour of Manhattan's night life. He visits three of the more famous clubs, the Paradise, the Hollywood and the Casino. Among the celebrities seen at work and play in this "rilly big shew" are entertainers Bert Lahr, Hal LeRoy, Joe Frisco, Ruth Etting, Blossom Seeley, Jack Benny, Mary Livingstone, Gus Edwards, Jack Haley, Eddy Duchin and Abe Lyman; and sports figures Jack Dempsey, Primo Carnera, Tony Canzoneri and Maxie Rosenbloom. At the film's three-quarter mark, Ed tells the viewer that there's a broken light for every heart on Broadway, whereupon the film segues into a corny dramatic sketch involving a stolen necklace. In later years, Ed Sullivan did his best to hide the existence of Mr. Broadway, but bootlegged prints continued to surface, providing future audiences with a fascinating (if poorly photographed) encapsulation of a bygone era.
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