Ruth Etting was a star...just not in Hollywood, where she made just a few appearances. Instead, her songs were huge hits and she sold tons of records. She's best remembered today as the subject of a very fictionalized biopic, "Love Me or Leave Me". Here in "The Song of Fame" you have a rare chance to see her on film and she sings several of her big hits. Unfortunately, this short film also features the first appearance by Judy Canova and her family...and they are just godawful and I have no idea how she ever became famous. Infamous....now THAT I can understand.
The story begins with Ruth working as a singing cigarette girl in a nightclub. She hopes to be discovered and her agent swears that some big talent scout will come see her act. But to speed up the process, she and her agent plan on auditioning for the guy...whether he likes it or not!
Every time Etting was on the screen, I enjoyed it. She had a lovely voice and my assumption is that she didn't become a screen star because she was a bit old here--nearly 40. It's a shame, but 38 was considered old for leading ladies back in the day...and perhaps things haven't changed that much.
On the other hand, I have no idea why they put the Canova family in this short. Their style is the complete opposite of Etting's. Ruth was classy and smooth...and Judy was anything but either! Unless you've heard her sing, you probably think I am exaggerating but I think she's about the most annoying singer of the 1930s and 40s....and a terrible complement to Etting.
Overall, worth seeing...just do the dishes or take a bathroom break when the Canovas come on screen. They are THAT bad....but the rest is quite lovely.