A group of professors have lived together, isolated for years in an urban residence, compiling an encyclopedia of all human knowledge. The youngest, Professor Bertram Potts (Cooper), is a scholar of grammar and language who is researching modern American slang. They are accustomed to working in relative seclusion at a leisurely pace, but their impatient financial backer suddenly demands that they finish their work soon.
Venturing out to do some independent research, Bertram becomes interested in the slang vocabulary of saucy burlesque performer "Sugarpuss" O'Shea (Stanwyck). She is reluctant to assist him in his research until she needs a place to hide from the police, who want to question her about her boyfriend, gangster Joe Lilac (Andrews). Sugarpuss takes refuge in the house where the professors live and work, despite Bertram's objections.
The professors soon become enamored of her insouciance, and she unexpectedly begins to become quite fond of them. She teaches them to conga and demonstrates to Bertram the meaning of the phrase "yum yum" (kisses). She becomes attracted to Bertram, who reciprocates with a vengeance by awkwardly (and inadvertently) proposing to her. She accepts, but is promptly taken away by Lilac's henchmen: Lilac also wants to marry her, but only so she cannot testify against him.
The professors eventually outwit Lilac and his henchmen and rescue Sugarpuss. She decides she isn't good enough for Bertram, but his forceful application of "yum, yum" convinces her to change her mind.
Wilder reveled in poking fun at those who took politics too seriously. At one point, 'Sugarpuss' points to her sore throat and complains "Slight rosiness? It's as red as the Daily Worker and just as sore." Later, she gives the overbearing and unsmiling housekeeper the name 'Franco'.
BIOGRAPHY; RED ALERT! `Ball of Fire,' Stefan Kanfer's book on Lucille Ball, is so packed with biographical goodies that at times it feels like the chocolates on the conveyor belt are coming at you too fast.(ENTERTAINMENT)
Aug 17, 2003; Byline: Colleen Kruse Special to the Star Tribune There are a handful of people in public life who are so famous that they...