BLONDE INSPIRATION is the story of a man who wanted to be a writer. Jonathan Briggs(John Shelton), Johnny to most everybody, had been raised by his aunt and uncle, wealthy folk, who expected him to take up the family business. The aunt wasn’t happy with his desire to be a writer. “Writing is not work!” His uncle was different. After Johnny moved out, his aunt had gave him the give up this nonsense or leave speech, he left. His uncle visited him in his new one room apartment and slips him two thousand to tide him over until he can get his writing career going.
You see, Johnny had spent three years writing his novel, an historical, and realized he needed something to keep him alive until he could get it sold. He’d decided to write westerns for the pulps. DUSTY TRAILS was a weekly that featured stories by a “Dusty” King(Donald Meek). Johnny copied the style and sent them off, only to have them returned unread. His uncle inspires him to go down to their offices and demand they read his stories.
Phil Hendricks(Albert Dekker) and “Bitsy” Conway(Charles Butterworth) were publisher and editor. A fly by night operation about to go broke, they wangled a deal for $15,000 in a few weeks, but needed to put out three new issues or the deal was off. But Dusty King had backed out. he hadn’t been paid for months and refused to write anymore.
Poor Johnny came along at the wrong time. The pair of hucksters had already been told by the printer, “No money, no magazine!” They needed $1400 to satisfy the man. Suddenly Johnny was part owner and chief writer. He had a few stories in hand. All they needed was a couple of more, a question and answer column, cowboy’s corner, and a novel. And they had to be in the next day!
Margie Blake(Virginia Grey) was the magazine’s secretary and the only one with any sympathy for the very earnest young writer and helps him, typing on through the night. They manage to get it done and Johnny is happy at the thought of seeing his name in print. The only problem is that Hendricks and Conway use Dusty King on the stories. He’s upset, but the contract he’d signed was as a ghost writer.
In the meanwhile, the aunt has found out about the two thousand her husband gave him and wants it back. She offers Johnny his old job back, with a five dollar a week deduction until the two grand is paid back.
And the hucksters are pushing him to start on next week’s fiction. Once again Margie helps him and they slave without stop until it’s done. Johnny passes out from exhaustion. Dusty King is angry that they used his name on someone else’s stuff and sneaks into the magazine’s penthouse, drunk. He gets his hands on Johnny’s manuscripts for the magazine and is dancing along the balcony. Johnny and Margie, and the two hucksters arrive just in time to see him toss the pages into the air.
Too tired to do anymore, Johnny is out cold and the two men find his historical novel, stealing it. Margie tries to stop them, can’t, then leaves Johnny a note when she can’t wake him. He’s outraged when he wakes and rushes to the magazine to stop them. He won’t have his novel published in a cheap pulp magazine! He gets into a fight, then heads to the printer, but it’s too late. He tries to break the presses, but only gets arrested.
He’s mad at the two hucksters, mad at Margie, until he learns she got the printer to put his name on the issue. Still not happy about his “baby” being published in a pulp magazine, Johnny gets a rude awakening when he’s bailed out by the new owner of the magazine. Going to monthly publication, he gets hired to write a short movel a month at three cents a word. He’s told his novel is tripe, but perfect for the pulps> The public will buy everything he writes. And he sets down and reads his novel for the first time with a critical eye and realizes they’re right.
But he will write the best pulp stories they’ve seen he vows. And of course, since this would be classed today as a romantic comedy, well you know.
The script was by Marion Parsonnet based on a play by John Cecil Holms and was directed by Busby Berkeley.
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