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Idol of the Crowds (1937)

Idol of the Crowds


60 minutes.

Directed by Arthur Lubin

Drama / Romance / Sports


John Wayne as Johnny Hanson

Sheila Bromley as Helen Dale

Billy Burrud as Bobby

Russell Hopton as Kelly

Huntley Gordon as Harvey Castle

Charles Brokaw as Jack Irwin

Hal Neiman as Squat Bates

Virginia Brissac as Mrs. Dale

Frank Otto as Joe Garber

Jane Johns as Peggy

Clem Bevans as Andy Moore

In a turn on a classic theme, Johnny Hanson didn’t turn to a pro career in ice hockey to escape the farm -- his passion really is his chicken farm, and he just plays hockey to make money to improve his farm!  He attracts the attention of a pro team in New York from his prowess in the local leagues, and moves there with his young ward, Bobby.  Johnny winds up meeting Helen Dale at a roller rink, who is also associated with an unscrupulous gambler and the owner of the roller skating rink, Jack Irwin.  Jack takes Helen to see an ice hockey game in which Johnny is playing, and Jack smells an opportunity.  Jack encourages Helen to date Johnny and sets them up.  As the relationship develops, so does the Panther’s win record with Johnny at the helm.  Before the championship game, Jake tells Johnny that he has bet a lot of money on the opposing team, and offers Johnny $5,000 to lose the game.  Jack knows that $5,000 is exactly the amount Johnny needs to improve his chicken farm, information he gathered from Helen.  Johnny turns the money down, and when he tells Helen of the deal, she encourages him to do it.  Johnny comes to the conclusion that he has been snookered, and Helen’s interest in him was all part of Jack’s plan and breaks off their relationship.  Realizing that his money is now at risk, Jack has his thug, Spike, go after Johnny to get him out of the way, but in a botched attempt, Spike ends up severely wounding young Bobby.  Johnny stays at the hospital with Bobby while he is undergoing an operation to save his life.  Just when it looks like Johnny will miss the game, he shows up to play and win and afterwards informs the authorities of Jack’s and Spike’s deeds and they are arrested.  Helen and Johnny make up and return to a quiet life of chicken farming with Bobby. 

This is one of 6 films that John Wayne did for Universal Pictures, and is unique in that it is not a western.  It is thought that Universal was trying to broaden the young Wayne’s appeal by casting him in several movies that were not westerns.  Idol of the Crowds is definitely an interesting and unique look into John Wayne’s career as an actor.

Actors: John Wayne
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Matinee Classics - Idol of the Crowds
Matinee Classics - Idol of the Crowds
Matinee Classics - Idol of the Crowds
Matinee Classics - Idol of the Crowds

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