Movie of the Day

Breakfast in Hollywood

I found this movie when I was digging around on looking for something to watch. I had never heard of this movie or the popular radio program that it was based on, but then I thought there is no reason not to watch a movie featuring gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, Nat King Kole, ZaSu Pitts and lots of other actresses.

In the early ’40s, radio host Tom Breneman was having dinner at Sardi’s restaurant on Hollywood Boulevard and realized that it would make an ideal location for a live radio show. He started the show at Sardi’s, and soon opened his own restaurants, called Tom Breneman. By 1945, Breneman had 10 million listeners nationwide, mostly women.  Housewives, retired women, widows, office girls, and others would vie to get a ticket to attend the morning show while eating breakfast, while many more listened on the radio. Breneman would browse around the dining room while chatting with members of the audience. One of the recurring gags of the show involved Breneman finding the woman with the most outrageous hat in the audience and trying it on. It is not clear why it was so amusing to listen to someone try on a hat on the radio, but I guess it was a simpler time. Gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, who was known for her outre hats, appears in the film as herself, along with the mothers of Gary Copper, Joan Crawford, and Tom Breneman. By 1945, Breneman’s show was a huge success, and he produced this film to further promote the radio program while fanning his own ego. The film opens with the recreation of a broadcast, but then follows the subplots of several women who attended the show, including an elderly lady who has lost the will to live, a girl who is searching for a her GI fiance, and the sailor who knows that he has died in the war, a middle-aged woman who is trying to come to terms with her philandering husband, and a tipsy housewife who only wants Breneman to try on her hat. Breneman plays a kind of guardian angel in the film, pulling strings to fix everyone’s problems. All of the subplots are rather weak and the musical interludes are tedious, but there are one or two funny moments, especially from Billie Burke.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.