WBLA is on the air, presenting the live music, the sudsy dramas and the sell-sell-sell of commercial interludes that keep consumers buying and sponsors smiling. But one sponsor, a producer of plumbing supplies, isn't happy.
WBLA is on the air, presenting the live music, the sudsy dramas and the sell-sell-sell of commercial interludes that keep consumers buying and sponsors smiling. But one sponsor, a producer of plumbing supplies, isn't happy. So WBLA scriptwriter Bill Grimes is bounced from his job, setting in motion this movie's turn from comedic to darkly tragic. William Haines, two years removed from being Tinseltown's top male star, plays Grimes in a melodrama noted for its glimpses of live radio production and for a Depression-era ethos that includes peroxide cuties eager to land a job, a sugar daddy or both. The cast includes Hattie McDaniel in a bit role. Are You Listening? Don't touch that dial.
"Are you listening'" was the catchphrase of early-1930s radio personality Tony Wons. Though Wons does not appear in the 1932 MGM programmer ARE YOU LISTENING', the film is concerned with the burgeoning broadcast industry. William Haines plays a wise-cracking radio writer who is tricked into confessing on the air that he murdered his wife. Whenever an actor normally associated with comedy roles plays a murderer (either actual or implied) in a film, it's usually a sign that his studio contract has come to an end. Such was the case of ARE YOU LISTENING', which proved to be William Haines' swan song at MGM, where he'd been employed since 1925. Perhaps as a going-away present, J.P. McEvoy's script contrives to give Haines three leading ladies: Madge Evans, Anita Page and Karen Morley (nobody outside the industry knew that Haines was in fact a homosexual, and MGM was determined to keep it that way).
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