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She's Working Her Way Through College (1952)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Musical | 12 July 1952 (USA)
A burlesque dancer goes to college, where she romances a professor and helps put on a musical show.


H. Bruce Humberstone (as Bruce Humberstone)


Peter Milne (screenplay), James Thurber (play) | 1 more credit »

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Complete credited cast:
Virginia Mayo ... Angela Gardner / 'Hot Garters Gertie'
Ronald Reagan ... Professor John Palmer
Gene Nelson ... Don Weston
Don DeFore ... Shep Slade
Phyllis Thaxter ... Helen Palmer
Patrice Wymore ... 'Poison' Ivy Williams
Roland Winters ... Fred Copeland
Raymond Greenleaf ... Dean Rogers
Ginger Crowley Ginger Crowley ... Lonnie - Ivy's Friend
Norman Bartold ... 'Tiny' Gordon
Ramon Blackburn Ramon Blackburn ... Specialty Dancer (as The Blackburn Twins)
Royce Blackburn Royce Blackburn ... Specialty Dancer (as The Blackburn Twins)


Shapely burlesque dancer Hot Garters Gertie aka Angela Gardner meets her former teacher John Palmer, now a professor at Midwest State... where she decides to begin her new college career. She rents a room; her new landlady proves to be the professor's wife. Among romantic complications, Angela helps the downtrodden dramatic arts department put on a potentially popular musical show...but someone's discovered her secret past. Does she have an ace up her garter? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She's the Burlesque Bombshell who becomes a Campus Queen! See more »


Comedy | Musical


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

12 July 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

We're Working Our Way Through College See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Ronald Reagan's character gets intoxicated twice in the movie. In one scene with booze, another with a cold remedy filled with codeine. See more »


Prof. John Palmer: As you all probably know, Angela Gardner contributed an idea for the play. She's been working very diligently with some of the other students. Have you accomplished anything, Miss Gardner?
Angela Gardner: Quite a lot! There's one thing we want to show you right now. Would you like to see it? Come on, Don. What we've really done, Professor, is to take our school song and jive it up!
See more »


Version of The Male Animal (1942) See more »


As Time Goes By
Written by Herman Hupfeld
Sung on record by Bonnie Lou Williams
Sung in part by Phyllis Thaxter
See more »

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User Reviews

Great entertainment!
5 January 2018 | by Ed-ShullivanSee all my reviews

Virginia Mayo, (Pre) President Ronald Reagan, Gene Nelson, Don DeFore as well as some other excellent supporting performances made this a fantastic musical filled with romance, a bitter jealousy and rivalry, a dirty old chairman of the university board, and a song and dance/gymnastic performance in the latter half of the film by Gene Nelson that was worth the price of admission alone.

Let's face it folks, a 32 year old Virginia Mayo is not hard on the eyes. For the ladies, Gene Nelson as the dancing Don Juan or more appropriately named football star Don Weston is absolutely charming in his scenes with or without his leading lady Angela Gardner aka "Hot Garters Gertie" (Virginia Mayo).

The Professor John Palmer (Ronald Reagan) dearly loves his wife Helen Palmer (Phyllis Thaxter) who is being wooed by her college boyfriend Shep Slade (Don DeFore) that makes Professor Palmer more than just a bit jealous. So for one evening he drinks to get drunk and even as a bad drunk, he still maintains a classy exterior as he jibber jabbers to the blonde student Angela Gardner (Virginia Mayo) and her charming boyfriend Don Weston until such time that his wife Helen shows up at their front door with her old beau Shep Slade now a successful businessman still trying to woo Helen. This is not a dramatic film so the confrontation that takes place between the drunk Professor Palmer and the amorous Shep Slade is quite comical.

There is a musical at the college that must be performed, and the role for the lead female singer/dancer that will partner with the handsome Don Weston on stage is a rivalry between the gorgeous and talented Angela Gardner (Virginia Mayo) and another beautiful lass coyly nicknamed 'Poison' Ivy Williams (Patrice Wymore). A little blackmail is involved, but all works out in the end because as we in Hollywood have come to know..."the show must go on!"

This is a jewel of a film on many fronts, excellent cinematography and colorization, a humorous storyline that involved a weak attempt at blackmail, some fantastic dance sequences (especially Gene Nelson's over the top acrobatic song and dance number in the school gymnasium) a superb cast that made me laugh and quite simply forget the world we live in for the next 104 minutes.

I give the film an excellent 9 out of 10 rating!

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