Traveling Saleslady (1935)


Ray Enright

Cinematography by

George Barnes

Angela Twitchell is the daughter of a tooth-paste manufacturer, Rufus K. Twitchell, who has monopolized the business for many years that he has grown conservative, and his rivals have begin to cut into his sales. Angela wants to enter the business but he thinks women have no place in a man’s world. Inventor, Elmer Niles, tries to interest Mr. Twitchell in his line of toothpaste with various cocktail flavors, but is shown the door. Angela sees the possibilities in the idea; while retaining ownership she licenses it to one of her father’s business rivals under the stipulation she will go on the road for a year and sell the product. She steals her father’s customers right out from under the nose of her father’s best salesman, Pat O,Connor, whom she falls in love with. It’s whoopee at night and all-business during the day. Claudette Ruggles, a drug-store owner, also has designs on O’Connor.


fun, fast script. great cast.

4 September 2016 | by ksf-2 (southwest US)

Quick, snappy script. Joan Blondell is “Angela”, the daughter of the toothpaste king. Her dad refuses to let her work at the company, so she goes to work for the competitor. She and Glenda Farrell had both been in the biz for some years, along with Grant Mitchell (he has hair in this one!) and muttering, stuttering Hugh Herbert. Quite a coincidence with a writer and one of the actors – a writer is F. Hugh Herbert, and one of the actors is Hugh Herbert… not sure where that fits in; according to IMDb, they have different but close dates of birth. This plot seems to have been re-used in Carol Channing’s first credited film role “First Traveling Sales Lady” in 1956, about 20 years later! That one is also a fun film. Watch for Hattie McDaniel here, in a quick 30 second bit part.


The girls scheme and run end games around the men. They also mention that the Secretary of Labor is also a female, which was actually true. Frances Perkins actually WAS the secretary of labor from 1933 – 1945, under FDR and Harry Truman. the credits, the story, and the script has the feel of a pre-code film, but this was made in 1935. Bert Roach is in here in a small part – he had been around during the silents. Directed by Ray Enright, who had ALSO been around during the silents with Mack Sennett studios, so he was in Hollywood right from the beginning of the film industry. Check it out… it’s a fun one! kind of an abrupt, quick end, but its still fun to watch.


Two Stars Shine In Depression Era Comedy

Author: Ron Oliver ( from Forest Ranch, CA
16 May 2001

A TRAVELING SALESLADY & a drugstore queen vie for the affection of a handsome toothpaste salesman.

This was the sort of ephemeral comic frippery which the studios produced almost effortlessly during the 1930’s. Well made & highly enjoyable, Depression audiences couldn’t seem to get enough of these popular, funny photo dramas.

Sassy & sweet, Joan Blondell & Glenda Farrell make perfect romantic rivals. This is really Blondell’s picture – Farrell’s part gets off to a slow start – but they are great together or apart and make the film zing.

William Gargan gives a good performance as the fellow in the enviable position of being desired by both Blondell & Farrell. Wonderful, wacky Hugh Herbert, as the inventor of cocktail flavored toothpaste, leads a parade of character actors – Grant Mitchell, Al Shean, Ruth Donnelly, Johnny Arthur, Bert Roach, Mary Treen & Harry Holman – who all excel at milking laughs from every line.


Movie mavens will recognize the marvelous Hattie McDaniel, uncredited in a tiny, hilarious, scene.

While never stars of the first rank, Joan Blondell (1906-1979) & Glenda Farrell (1904-1971) enlivened scores of films at Warner Bros. throughout the 1930’s, especially the eight in which they appeared together. Whether playing gold diggers or working girls, reporters or secretaries, these blonde & brassy ladies were very nearly always a match for whatever leading man was lucky enough to share equal billing alongside them. With a wisecrack or a glance, their characters showed they were ready to take on the world – and any man in it. Never as wickedly brazen as Paramount’s Mae West, you always had the feeling that, tough as they were, Blondell & Farrell used their toughness to defend vulnerable hearts ready to break over the right guy. While many performances from seven decades ago can look campy or contrived today, these two lovely ladies are still spirited & sassy.


Light and enjoyable….and a blow for feminism!

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
9 September 2011
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Angela Twitchell (Joan Blondell) is the daughter of a rich owner of the country’s biggest-selling toothpaste. Her father, unfortunately, is a bit of a blow-hard and refuses to let her have any involvement with the company because ‘it’s men’s work’! When a goofy inventor (Hugh Herbert) also finds himself frustrated with her father because he won’t even talk to him about his invention, he shows it to Blondell and she is VERY impressed. You see, instead of antiseptic tasting paste, he’s come up with flavors that taste like booze. She sees a great future for the products but since her father won’t talk business with her at all, she takes the idea to one of his competitors and she is hired as a saleslady on the spot.


During the course of her cross-country travels, she is VERY successful and soon the tiny company she works for is putting her Dad’s out of business. But, because she’s using a false name, he has no idea she’s the brains behind this turnaround. Along the way, she meets a salesman for Twitchell’s (William Gargan) and although they are bitter rivals, their is a romantic spark between them. Can Blondell manage to make everyone happy AND get the guy? The film is quite charming and enjoyable. Sure, it’s not especially deep, but the excellent writing and acting make this one to see. Clever.

Oh, and by the way, though the scene on the telephone is very short, that’s Hattie McDaniel in this cameo.



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