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HISTORY

Playing "Audrey" in the film was actress Elaine Davis, also known as Elaine Mahnken, who was Mickey Rooney’s wife from 1952 through 1959. Maurice Duke, who served as associate producer for the film, was Rooney’s manager, according to modern sources. According to a HR production chart, filming was suspended in late Jul 1954, but no information about when production resumed has been ... More Less

Playing "Audrey" in the film was actress Elaine Davis, also known as Elaine Mahnken, who was Mickey Rooney’s wife from 1952 through 1959. Maurice Duke, who served as associate producer for the film, was Rooney’s manager, according to modern sources. According to a HR production chart, filming was suspended in late Jul 1954, but no information about when production resumed has been found.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
18 Dec 1954.
---
Daily Variety
9 Dec 54
p. 3.
Film Daily
7 Dec 54
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 1954
p. 2, 6.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jun 1954
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jul 1954
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Dec 54
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
18 Dec 54
pp. 250-51.
New York Times
4 Dec 54
p. 14.
Variety
8 Dec 54
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A MIckey Rooney Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
DETAILS
Release Date:
8 December 1954
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 3 December 1954
Production Date:
14 June--late July 1954
Copyright Claimant:
Republic Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
5 November 1954
Copyright Number:
LP4349
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
86
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17145
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Hoping to become famous and rich by discovering a large uranium deposit, Barnaby "Blix" Waterberry and Stan Cooper search the remote Nevada desert and become lost. After several long, hot and hungry days, they see an isolated house. Nearby is a tower, which they presume is an aircraft warning light for a privately owned runway, but as they pass it, their Geiger counter ticks. Believing that uranium is underground, they scheme to trick the owners into selling the land to them. However, at the house, no one answers their knock. After entering through an unlocked window, they are at first frightened by the sight of store mannequins arranged around a dinner table. Then, upon finding a car in the carport, Stan decides to drive to town to stake their "claim," and leaves Blix to search the pantry for food. Meanwhile, Dr. Rodell and physicist Edgar Pangborn, with the assistance of Gen. Lawler and his soldiers, prepare to detonate an experimental atomic bomb, to research the nature and extent of damage caused by the blast. The bomb is in the tower and the mannequins have been placed inside the house to simulate a family. Just before the bomb explodes, soldiers see Stan driving toward them and drag him into their trench for safety. Later, the soldiers proceed to the house to assess damage and find a disoriented and radioactive Blix emerging from the wreckage, eating a peanut butter sandwich. He is rushed to the hospital and guarded by soldiers and FBI agents. Despite his top secret status, word about Blix’s miraculous survival reaches the press, who proclaim him a national hero. The isolated and seriously ill Blix now has ... +


Hoping to become famous and rich by discovering a large uranium deposit, Barnaby "Blix" Waterberry and Stan Cooper search the remote Nevada desert and become lost. After several long, hot and hungry days, they see an isolated house. Nearby is a tower, which they presume is an aircraft warning light for a privately owned runway, but as they pass it, their Geiger counter ticks. Believing that uranium is underground, they scheme to trick the owners into selling the land to them. However, at the house, no one answers their knock. After entering through an unlocked window, they are at first frightened by the sight of store mannequins arranged around a dinner table. Then, upon finding a car in the carport, Stan decides to drive to town to stake their "claim," and leaves Blix to search the pantry for food. Meanwhile, Dr. Rodell and physicist Edgar Pangborn, with the assistance of Gen. Lawler and his soldiers, prepare to detonate an experimental atomic bomb, to research the nature and extent of damage caused by the blast. The bomb is in the tower and the mannequins have been placed inside the house to simulate a family. Just before the bomb explodes, soldiers see Stan driving toward them and drag him into their trench for safety. Later, the soldiers proceed to the house to assess damage and find a disoriented and radioactive Blix emerging from the wreckage, eating a peanut butter sandwich. He is rushed to the hospital and guarded by soldiers and FBI agents. Despite his top secret status, word about Blix’s miraculous survival reaches the press, who proclaim him a national hero. The isolated and seriously ill Blix now has fame, but must suffer uncomfortable treatments administered by robotic hands, as he is too radioactive to be touched by humans. During his convalescence, he is subjected to numerous tests for the good of the country. His one consolation is nurse Audrey Nelson, although her presence causes his radioactive neutrons to "hyperact" dangerously. Meanwhile, Stan declares himself Blix’s manager and negotiates the many movie, book, product endorsement and marital proposals that his friend is receiving. In particular, Stan listens to representatives of a peanut butter company, who will pay a fortune for Blix to say he was eating their brand during the explosion. Even better is the offer from Mr. Reynolds, who pitches a million dollar package deal involving a ghostwritten biography about Blix, for which Stan will provide the "facts." Although perplexed by Reynolds’ habit of calling him "Conrad," Stan agrees to wear a special lapel camera and take pictures of Blix inside the hospital. The cooped-up Blix, upon learning that Stan has been seeing Audrey, gets depressed, and Rodell sympathetically stands by when his patient decides to makes a bungling escape. Jim, an FBI boss, orders agents Ray and Bill secretly to assist the catastrophe-prone Blix and then tail him for his own protection. Blix meets Audrey in Las Vegas at the Golden Nugget Casino, where his lingering radioactivity causes the machines to award jackpots. Later, at Audrey’s home, they admit to mutual admiration and kiss, but Blix’s heightened emotions cause the fireplace and electrical appliances to flash dangerously. Feeling that their love is doomed, Blix, glowing with radiation, returns to the hospital. Meanwhile, Jim realizes that Stan has been unwittingly working with a Communist spy, but, other than sabotaging Stan’s attempts to provide the spies with photographs, has not interfered, believing that Stan’s bumbling may provide an opportunity to uncover the spy’s leader. After months of hospital care, Blix’s health is restored and, as research has been fruitless, he is told he is no longer needed. Learning that he will be secretly released from the hospital, Blix admits he will miss the attention, even though he found fame burdensome. Before Blix leaves, Pangborn jokingly warns him to stay clear of another experimental explosion scheduled for five o’clock. At his apartment, Stan realizes that Reynolds has been calling him "comrade," not "Conrad," when the spy orders him at gunpoint to help capture Blix. Claiming that Blix is too heavily guarded, Stan refuses, but then Blix walks in. After realizing that the Communists want him for gruesome experiments, Blix scares Reynolds into giving up his gun, by pretending that the five o’clock test blast was caused by his sneeze. Blix orders that the spy leader, Mosley, be summoned and then tries to deliver both spies to the FBI. However, Mosley escapes, so Blix resorts to calling out the window for help. While Blix and Stan struggle with Reynolds, Blix falls out the window onto Mosley, and Ray and Bill, who have responded to Blix’s call, capture both spies. Later, Stan goes to Hollywood to arrange a film about his life. Audrey and Blix marry, but while driving to their San Francisco honeymoon, lose their way and must stop at a house to ask for directions. Seeing mannequins inside, Blix drives away as fast as possible.

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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.