Everybody Sing
Theatrical release poster
Directed byEdwin L. Marin
Written byAdd'l dialogue:
James Gruen
Milton Merlin (uncredited)
Bert Kalmar (uncredited)
Harry Ruby (uncredited)
Dalton Trumbo (uncredited)
Screenplay byFlorence Ryerson
Edgar Allan Woolf
Story byFlorence Ryerson
Edgar Allan Woolf
Produced byHarry Rapf
StarringAllan Jones
Judy Garland
Fanny Brice
CinematographyJoseph Ruttenberg
Edited byWilliam S. Gray
Music by{see article}
Distributed byLoew's Inc.
Release date
  • February 4, 1938 (1938-02-04)
Running time
80 or 91 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,003,000[2]

Everybody Sing is a 1938 American musical comedy film starring Allan Jones, Judy Garland, and Fanny Brice, and featuring Reginald Owen and Billie Burke. The film was a significant step in Garland's career.


Young Judy Bellaire (Judy Garland) has trouble fitting in at school, causing trouble by introducing her jazzy style into music class and being expelled as a result. Returning home to her dysfunctional and financially challenged family, where her frustrated playwright-father (Reginald Owen), ditzy actress-mother (Billie Burke), and beautiful elder sister, Sylvia (Lynne Carver) compete for attention along with the funny Russian maid, Olga (Fanny Brice) and the hunky singing cook, Ricky (Allan Jones), who is not-so-secretly in love with Sylvia. Judy foils her father's attempt to ship her off to Europe by escaping from the ship and then trying out for a musical show as a blackface singer, taking advantage of her love of jazz to enchant the show's producer, who hires her and makes her a star of his new show. Meanwhile, Ricky cuts a record, musically expressing his love for Sylvia. Nevertheless, Sylvia is forced into engagement with another man.

When the distraught parents discover their younger daughter is appearing in a musical show, Sylvia rejoins her love, who is also appearing in the show. Finally, all the cast members are reunited, including Olga, who finds her lost love, Boris. The film's happy ending includes an extravagant stage piece with gorgeously attired chorus girls, happily reunited parents and child, and the happy kiss between Sylvia and Ricky, who is now the producer of a successful musical show.


Cast notes


In Everybody Sing, Allan Jones introduces the pop standard "The One I Love", with lyrics by Gus Kahn and music by Bronisław Kaper and Walter Jurmann. The film also includes three other songs from the same composing team: "(Down On) Melody Farm," "Swing Mr. Mendelssohn," and "The Show Must Go On". Jones also sings part of Kaper and Jurmann's hit song "Cosi-Cosa", which he introduced in the MGM film A Night at the Opera (1935). The music and lyrics for "Quainty, Dainty Me" and "Snooks (Why? Because!)" are by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby.[1] The "Snooks" number is based on the character "Baby Snooks" played on Broadway and on the radio by Brice.[3] The St. Brendan's Boys Choir, directed by Robert Mitchell, provided the singing voices for the schoolgirl chorus that backs Judy on her numbers.[4]

The musical numbers were staged by Dave Gould, except for "Quainty, Dainty Me", which was staged by Seymour Felix; the dance director was Val Raset. Fanny Brice's dancing was doubled by Iola Cochran.[1]


Working titles for the film were "The Ugly Ducking" – a reference to Garland's character[5] – and "Swing Fever".[3][1] Principal photography took place from September 2–3, and then late September to December 21, 1937. Retakes took place January 8–10, 1938.[1]

After a stalled career, this was one of the films marking the picking up of momentum in Judy Garland's ascent to stardom. Following the sensational audience reaction to her singing "You Made Me Love You" to a picture of Clark Gable in Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937), she was rushed into shooting two films back to back, Thoroughbreds Don't Cry (1937) and this film, which was held for later release.[6]

According to TCM.com:

As important as the film itself in the development of Garland's career was a seven-week, seven-city promotional tour that started in Miami Beach and included stops in New York and Chicago. With Garland mentor Roger Edens accompanying her on the piano, she stepped alone for the first time onto huge stages to sing in front of adoring crowds and began to establish the audience rapport that would, in time, make her one [of] the world's greatest live entertainers.[5]


The reviewer for Film Weekly wrote that Garland's singing put the film into the "excellent" class, and that "Anyone who stands up to Miss Brice at her own comedy game is very good indeed."[5]

According to MGM's records the film earned $655,000 in the US and Canada and $348,000 elsewhere, resulting in an overall loss of $174,000.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e Everybody Sing at the American Film Institute Catalog
  2. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  3. ^ a b c "Notes" TCM.com
  4. ^ "Music" TCM.com
  5. ^ a b c Fristoe, Roger. "Article: Everybody Sing (1937)" TCM.com
  6. ^ Hirschhorn, Clive (1991) [1981]. The Hollywood Musical (2nd ed.). New York: Portland House. p. 139. ISBN 0-517-06035-3.