When My Baby Smiles at Me (film)

When My Baby Smiles at Me is a 1948 musical film directed by Walter Lang and starring Betty Grable and Dan Dailey. Released by 20th Century Fox, it is the third film based on the popular Broadway play Burlesque, the others being The Dance of Life (1929) and Swing High, Swing Low (1937). When My Baby Smiles at Me is the first (and to date, the only) full Technicolor film version of that play; The Dance of Life had several Technicolor sequences, but they are no longer extant.

When My Baby Smiles at Me
Directed byWalter Lang
Produced byGeorge Jessel
Written byElizabeth Reinhardt
Lamar Trotti
George Manker Watters (play)
Arthur Hopkins (play)
StarringBetty Grable
Dan Dailey
Music byAlfred Newman
CinematographyHarry Jackson
Edited byBarbara McLean
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • November 10, 1948 (1948-11-10)
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$3.4 million (US rentals)[1]

Dan Dailey received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his performance, but lost to Laurence Olivier for Hamlet.


Bonny Kane and "Skid" Johnson are vaudeville performers in the 1920s. The two of them suffer marital difficulties when Skid gets an offer to appear on Broadway, while Bonny gets left behind on the road. Things get worse with Skid's increasing drinking problem, and the fact that the press has reported him to be spending a lot of time with his pretty co-star.



When My Baby Smiles at Me was 20th Century Fox's highest grossing film of 1948. Grable had been reigning the box office since the beginning of the 1940s, and scored her biggest triumph with Mother Wore Tights the previous year. Dailey received an Academy Award nomination for his performance in this film, while Grable did not. In fact many thought she should have at least received an Oscar nomination for Mother Wore Tights.


When My Baby Smiles at Me was presented on Screen Directors Playhouse May 5, 1950, with Grable reprising her role from the motion picture.[2]

The film was parodied as "When My Baby Laughs at Me", on The Carol Burnett Show (1975 - Episode 8.18), with Carol as "Bunny" (Bonnie), Rock Hudson as "Skip" (Skid), and Vickie Lawrence as "Gussie".

It was also referenced in commercials for Peter Paul's No Jelly candy bar (1972).


  1. "Top Grossers of 1948", Variety 5 January 1949 p 46
  2. "Those Were the Days". Nostalgia Digest. 38 (3): 32–39. Summer 2012.
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