An orphan finds happiness helping herself and others in Little Miss Broadway by writers Harry Tugend and Jack Yellen; producers David Hempstead and Darryl F Zanuck; and director Irving Cummings. Arthur C. Miller; Walter Thompson; and Harold Spina handle cinematography, editing, and music. Filming showcases California’s Movietone City.
The musical lasts 70 minutes. Its distributor was 20th Century-Fox. Its NYC-premiere and USA-release dates were July 22 and 29, 1938.
The movie begins with Madrey Orphanage’s matron (Jane Darwell) announcing Betsy Brown’s (Shirley Temple) adoption. Betsy’s parents’ friend William J. Shea (Edward Ellis) manages NYC’s Hotel Variety with daughter Barbara (Phyllis Brooks). The theatrical boardinghouse’s landlady Sarah Wendling (Edna May Oliver) lives across the street.
“Old Pumpkin” gives Pop five days to pay past-due rent. Sarah’s orphaned nephew Roger (George Murphy) joins Betsy at Sarah’s. Sarah rejects:
Barbara rejects Roger’s $2,500 loan.
Betsy and Roger attend Sarah’s brother Willoughby’s “Hot and Happy Four” practice sessions. City Club’s secretary (Harry C. Bradley) criticizes Willoughby’s barbershop quartet. Pop collects $2,500 with:
Pop does not need Jazz Bandits bandleader Jimmy Clayton’s (Jimmy Durante) $25.00 from pawned objects.
Barbara and Roger date. Sarah enchants Roger with:
“Auld Lang Syne”;
“Be Optimistic” with Brewster Twins Barbara and Gloria;
“How Can I Thank You?”;
“If All the World Were Paper”;
“Little Miss Broadway” and “We Should Be Together” (with him);
“Swing Me an Old-fashioned Song”;
“Thank You for the Use of the Hall”.
Betsy and Roger hide at Sarah’s. Roger organizes Betsy’s surprise birthday party. Sarah returns early from vacation.
Jimmy claims that Betsy visits Flossie’s (Patricia Wilder) relatives in Dixie. Sarah’s detective (Robert Gleckler) removes Betsy to Madrey. Roger sues estate executor/trustee Sarah for:
Judge Hart (Claude Gillingwater) must rule on the soundness of Roger’s plans. Perry (Russell Hicks) observes that a Broadway show with Variety performers undoubtedly will flop. Betsy shows up to suggest that any ruling must follow witnessing what Variety’s troupe can do.
The movie ends with:
Everyone applauding Variety’s courtroom performance;
A viewer asking to engage Variety’s troupe for $2,500/week at International Follies;
Sarah finalizing the offer at $5,000/week;
Betsy requesting a marriage license for adoptive parents Barbara and Roger.