42nd Street is a 1933 musical film focusing on the struggles to put on a Broadway musical with such complications as an ailing director and a last minute substitution of a chorus girl for the leading lady. The film features the line "You're going out a youngster, but you've got to come back a star!" which has often been paraphrased or misquoted in other showbiz scenarios.
The film was turned into an actual Broadway musical in 1984.
- When Valerie Harper auditions for Kermit the Frog in The Muppet Show episode 120, Kermit says "You're going out on that stage a star, but you're gonna be coming back a chorus girl," reversing the line.
- At the end of episode 519, in regards to Chris Langham, being portrayed as a messenger who filled in for the guest star at the last minute, Waldorf remarked, "It's a classic show business story: Chris Langham walked into this theater a nobody.", and Statler adds, "And he's walking out a has-been."
- Oscar the Grouch casts Linda as Dirt in his play in Sesame Street Episode 1879. He tells her, "I'm gonna send you out there a mess, but you're gonna come back a star!"
- The title song was performed in a medley in the Walt Disney World live show Muppets on Location: Days of Swine and Roses.