Chicken Every Sunday (1949)

93-94 mins | Comedy-drama | February 1949

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HISTORY

A condensation of Rosemary Taylor's novel was published in Reader's Digest in Sep 1943. In a letter in studio files, author Taylor noted, "Don't let the public know, please, but most of 'Chicken' was either fiction or facts so scrambled as to be unrecognizable. Only our family names are real." However in a NYT article dated 2 Apr 1944, Taylor noted that the book was "a story about my family." According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, Warner Bros. bought the motion picture rights in Aug 1944; in Aug 1945, Fox paid Warners $275,000 for the rights. During the period in which Warner Bros. owned the rights, Julius J. and Philip G. Epstein, who wrote the play based on the novel, wrote a screenplay based on the play and novel and Mervyn LeRoy was slated to direct it. It is not known if the Epstein screenplay was later used by the Fox writers. Mary C. McCall, Jr. wrote a screenplay and revisions for Fox, but the extent of her contribution to the final film has not been determined.
       HR news items indicate that John Payne was considered for a top role in the film. According to publicity for the film in the AMPAS production files, Maureen O'Hara and Henry Fonda were scheduled to play the leads, and Vanessa Brown was listed in the cast in Sep 1946. Jeanne Crain was scheduled for the role of the daughter when production was to begin on 4 Nov 1946, and later HR news items indicate ... More Less

A condensation of Rosemary Taylor's novel was published in Reader's Digest in Sep 1943. In a letter in studio files, author Taylor noted, "Don't let the public know, please, but most of 'Chicken' was either fiction or facts so scrambled as to be unrecognizable. Only our family names are real." However in a NYT article dated 2 Apr 1944, Taylor noted that the book was "a story about my family." According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, Warner Bros. bought the motion picture rights in Aug 1944; in Aug 1945, Fox paid Warners $275,000 for the rights. During the period in which Warner Bros. owned the rights, Julius J. and Philip G. Epstein, who wrote the play based on the novel, wrote a screenplay based on the play and novel and Mervyn LeRoy was slated to direct it. It is not known if the Epstein screenplay was later used by the Fox writers. Mary C. McCall, Jr. wrote a screenplay and revisions for Fox, but the extent of her contribution to the final film has not been determined.
       HR news items indicate that John Payne was considered for a top role in the film. According to publicity for the film in the AMPAS production files, Maureen O'Hara and Henry Fonda were scheduled to play the leads, and Vanessa Brown was listed in the cast in Sep 1946. Jeanne Crain was scheduled for the role of the daughter when production was to begin on 4 Nov 1946, and later HR news items indicate Betty Ann Lynn was cast as her replacement. Studio legal files note that Veda Ann Borg replaced Martha Stewart in the role of "Rita Kirby." According to information in the studio's Produced Script Collection, also at UCLA, the studio planned to test Florence Bates for the role of "Minnie Moon." The film was postponed a number of times due to actors' scheduling conflicts. The Tucson Mountains area was used for backgrounds. Other location shooting was done in the Nevada towns of Gardnerville, Minden, Carson City, Virginia City and Silver City, according to publicity and the legal records.
       On 13 Jun 1956, The Hefferen Family , also based on the Taylor story, was broadcast on television as part of the Twentieth Century-Fox Hour . It was produced by Samuel Marx, directed by Jules Bricken and starred Paul Douglas and Alexis Smith. According to a DV news item in 1960, Julius J. Epstein, the estate of his late brother Philip, and author Taylor initiated a copyright infringement--breach of contract suit against the studio in 1959, contending that Fox did not own the television rights. The studio settled out of court for $100,000. A musical, entitled East Street, West , with book by Julius J. Epstein, and music and lyrics by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, based on the Epsteins' play, was to be tried out in 1966 or 1967, but no information on its production has been located. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
18 Dec 1948.
---
Daily Variety
8 Aug 1945.
---
Daily Variety
8 Dec 48
p. 3.
Daily Variety
26 Oct 1960.
---
Film Daily
9 Dec 48
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Aug 1945.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Aug 46
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Aug 46
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Apr 47
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jul 47
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Feb 48
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
20 May 48
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jun 48
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jun 48
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Aug 48
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Dec 48
p. 3, 9
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jan 49
p. 6, 10
Hollywood Reporter
14 Feb 49
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Apr 49
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
11 Dec 48
p. 4418.
New York Times
2 Apr 1944.
---
New York Times
19 Jan 49
p. 34.
Variety
8 Dec 48
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Wrt for the screen by
Wrt for the screen by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward dir
MUSIC
Orch arr
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
Unit mgr
Loc mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Chicken Every Sunday by Rosemary Taylor (New York, 1943) and the play of the same name by Julius J. and Philip G. Epstein (New York, 6 Apr 1944).
SONGS
"When You Wore a Tulip and I Wore a Big Red Rose," words by Jack Mahoney, music by Percy Wenrich
"By the Light of the Silvery Moon," words by Ed Madden, music by Gus Edwards
"Annie Lisle," words and music by H. S. Thompson, with special words entitled "Tucson High School Alma Mater" by Charles Henderson
+
SONGS
"When You Wore a Tulip and I Wore a Big Red Rose," words by Jack Mahoney, music by Percy Wenrich
"By the Light of the Silvery Moon," words by Ed Madden, music by Gus Edwards
"Annie Lisle," words and music by H. S. Thompson, with special words entitled "Tucson High School Alma Mater" by Charles Henderson
"In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree," words by Harry Williams, music by Egbert Van Alstyne.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
February 1949
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 18 January 1949
Production Date:
14 June--mid August 1948
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
19 January 1949
Copyright Number:
LP2193
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
93-94
Length(in feet):
8,460
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
12492
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Tucson, Arizona, in 1910, Emily Hefferen visits attorney Charley Blaine to get a divorce. When Charley objects, saying that her husband Jim is one of his oldest friends, she angrily enters the office of Robert Hart, a lawyer new to town. Emily cites "non-support" as grounds, and Hart is incredulous, as he has seen the Hefferen name on the hotel, laundry and creamery, and assumed that he practically owned the town. Emily then tells him her story: On their wedding day twenty years earlier, when there is not much else in the town other than the church, she learns that Jim, the vice-president of the bank, has given away and lost all his money on bad investments. However, she is not surprised by the news and when they arrive at their new home in the desert on the outskirts of town, Jim finds, to his dismay, that Emily has taken in another honeymoon couple, the Lawsons, as boarders in order to make the mortgage payment. As each of Jim's new ventures fail, Emily takes in additional boarders. When the construction of the town's hospital, which Jim had started in order to accomodate Emily, who is due soon to have a baby, is halted, Jim volunteers the necessary funds to complete it, and at the dedication ceremony, Emily becomes the hospital's first customer, as she gives birth to their daughter Rosemary. Jim then gets an idea to start a laundry, but he is not satisfied with its modest profit, and a few years later, sells it to build a store. He then sells the store to start a creamery, which pays for ... +


In Tucson, Arizona, in 1910, Emily Hefferen visits attorney Charley Blaine to get a divorce. When Charley objects, saying that her husband Jim is one of his oldest friends, she angrily enters the office of Robert Hart, a lawyer new to town. Emily cites "non-support" as grounds, and Hart is incredulous, as he has seen the Hefferen name on the hotel, laundry and creamery, and assumed that he practically owned the town. Emily then tells him her story: On their wedding day twenty years earlier, when there is not much else in the town other than the church, she learns that Jim, the vice-president of the bank, has given away and lost all his money on bad investments. However, she is not surprised by the news and when they arrive at their new home in the desert on the outskirts of town, Jim finds, to his dismay, that Emily has taken in another honeymoon couple, the Lawsons, as boarders in order to make the mortgage payment. As each of Jim's new ventures fail, Emily takes in additional boarders. When the construction of the town's hospital, which Jim had started in order to accomodate Emily, who is due soon to have a baby, is halted, Jim volunteers the necessary funds to complete it, and at the dedication ceremony, Emily becomes the hospital's first customer, as she gives birth to their daughter Rosemary. Jim then gets an idea to start a laundry, but he is not satisfied with its modest profit, and a few years later, sells it to build a store. He then sells the store to start a creamery, which pays for an opera house, which, in turn, provides money to build a hotel. Meanwhile, Jim and Emily have two more children, and every time Jim starts a new business, Emily adds a new room to the house and takes in more boarders. At Rosemary's high school commencement ceremonies, Jim receives a summons, and the bank takes over the hotel, but Emily, who is successfully running the boardinghouse, is now resigned to her fate. She then relates to Hart that two months before, Jim took out a thirty-day option on an arroyo that he hopes to mine for copper. When Rita Kirby, an attractive, but cheaply attired woman, who is hiding from her husband, arrives looking for a room, Jim, despite Emily's disapproval, insists that she stay because he thinks her husband George, who owns a construction company in New Jersey, might invest in the copper mine. Without Rita's knowledge, Jim sends Kirby a wire from her asking him to come. Jim starts the mining operation and gets Mrs. Lawson's son Geoffrey, who is cajoled by his overly protective mother to build up his body by working for him. After getting waltz lessons from Emily, who encourages him to date Rosemary, Geoffrey summons up enough courage to ask her to the annual Pioneer Ball. When the band plays an upbeat "Texas Tommy," Geoffrey, not knowing what to do, allows Rosemary's other suitor, Harold Crandall, to cut in, to Rosemary's dismay. Crandall, who brags about his distinguished Boston pedigree, annoys Emily, as she is proud of her Southern roots. When Kirby arrives, he refuses to talk business until he straightens out his personal affairs, and dumps his drunken mother-in-law, Minnie Moon, an ex-vaudevillian, whom Rita also left, at the Hefferen's house. Although Emily objects, the $250 check Kirby writes gives her enough money to pay off the mortgage, and she plans to burn it the next day at a party. Jim encourages Rita to make up with her husband by telling her that Kirby plans to give her expensive presents for Christmas. When the man owning the arroyo threatens to rip out the mine unless Jim buys it that day, he secretly takes out a new mortgage just after Emily buys the old one, hoping to buy it back after Kirby invests. However, during Emily's party, Kirby learns that the miners have found water, not copper, and puts away his checkbook. Afterward, banker Sam Howell begins to repossess the Hefferen furniture. Back in Hart's office, Emily concludes her tale in tears, then returns home and finds the furniture being returned. She learns that Jim's friends chipped in to pay off the loan. Jim, ashamed for not realizing that "easy street" has always been right there, packs to leave. On his way out, he overhears Rosemary tell her mother that he is not a failure as a human being, and Emily admit that his failed ventures have been responsible for giving the town a hospital, creamery, laundry, restaurant and hotel. She says she now realizes that security is two people loving each other and going through everything together. When Rosemary reveals that she and Geoffrey, who the previous evening knocked out Harold, are engaged, Emily says she hopes they will be as happy as she and Jim have been. Jim then sneaks up the backstairs, and when Emily hears his footsteps, she joyously runs to his embrace. +

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

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