The Jackpot (1950)

87 mins | Comedy | November 1950

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HISTORY

According to documents in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, the studio purchased all rights to the John McNulty article, which appeared under The New Yorker's "A Reporter at Large" column, for $12,500. A radio version of the screenplay was broadcast by Screen Directors' Playhouse on 26 Apr 1951. That version starred James Stewart and Margaret Truman. ...

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According to documents in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, the studio purchased all rights to the John McNulty article, which appeared under The New Yorker's "A Reporter at Large" column, for $12,500. A radio version of the screenplay was broadcast by Screen Directors' Playhouse on 26 Apr 1951. That version starred James Stewart and Margaret Truman.

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
7 Oct 1950
---
Daily Variety
2 Oct 1950
p. 3
Film Daily
2 Oct 1950
p. 4
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jun 1950
p. 11
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jul 1950
p. 13
Hollywood Reporter
2 Oct 1950
p. 3
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
7 Oct 1950
p. 509
New York Times
23 Nov 1950
p. 55
Variety
4 Oct 1950
p. 6
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Dulce Daye
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Erich Von Stroheim Jr.
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Tech adv
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward dir
Cost des
MUSIC
Earle Hagen
Orch
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the article "The Jackpot" by John McNulty in The New Yorker (19 Feb 1949).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
MUSIC
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 by Franz Liszt.
SONGS
"Ain't We Got Fun?" music by Richard A. Whiting, lyrics by Gus Kahn and Raymond B. Egan.
SONGWRITERS/COMPOSERS
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
November 1950
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 8 Nov 1950
Production Date:
19 Jun--28 Jul 1950
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
8 November 1950
LP549
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
87
Length(in feet):
7,830
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
14685
SYNOPSIS

Bill and Amy Lawrence live with their children, Phyllis and Tommy, in Glenville, Indiana, where Bill works at the Woodruff Department Store. Bill is bored by the routine aspects of their life and feels that their future is already programmed. One day at the store, Bill and co-worker Fred Burns are summoned to Woodruff's office. Woodruff is concerned because business is slow and wants them to come up with ideas to improve the situation. He also informs them that he will be going to Europe the following month and that one of them will be selected to run the store in his absence and will receive a promotion. Later, at home, Bill receives a phone call from New York asking him if he will be home that evening to listen to the Federal Broadcasting System's quiz show, Name the Mystery Husband as his number has been selected to be called as part of the $24,000 jackpot contest. Bill assumes the call is a joke being played by one of his friends, who will be present for the regular canasta game that evening, but nevertheless phones his friend, newspaperman Harry Summers, for tips on the mystery husband's identity and learns that it might be either band leader Harry James or writer Charles MacArthur. As the program begins, the card game crowd gathers around the radio, anxious to hear if anyone can guess the identity of the mystery husband, whose disguised voice has been stumping contestants for ten weeks. The program is almost over when Bill's phone finally rings. Bill has to answer a riddle before qualifying to guess the mystery husband and Tommy supplies the answer. Bill then ...

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Bill and Amy Lawrence live with their children, Phyllis and Tommy, in Glenville, Indiana, where Bill works at the Woodruff Department Store. Bill is bored by the routine aspects of their life and feels that their future is already programmed. One day at the store, Bill and co-worker Fred Burns are summoned to Woodruff's office. Woodruff is concerned because business is slow and wants them to come up with ideas to improve the situation. He also informs them that he will be going to Europe the following month and that one of them will be selected to run the store in his absence and will receive a promotion. Later, at home, Bill receives a phone call from New York asking him if he will be home that evening to listen to the Federal Broadcasting System's quiz show, Name the Mystery Husband as his number has been selected to be called as part of the $24,000 jackpot contest. Bill assumes the call is a joke being played by one of his friends, who will be present for the regular canasta game that evening, but nevertheless phones his friend, newspaperman Harry Summers, for tips on the mystery husband's identity and learns that it might be either band leader Harry James or writer Charles MacArthur. As the program begins, the card game crowd gathers around the radio, anxious to hear if anyone can guess the identity of the mystery husband, whose disguised voice has been stumping contestants for ten weeks. The program is almost over when Bill's phone finally rings. Bill has to answer a riddle before qualifying to guess the mystery husband and Tommy supplies the answer. Bill then guesses that Harry James is the mystery husband and wins. Prizes are soon delivered to the Lawrence home, and a Mr. Leslie of Harrington Interiors arrives to make over their house. Crowds gather at the house to watch several trucks unloading various items, including a washing machine and a piano. After Harry arrives with a photographer to do a story for the local paper, a taxi delivers another prize, the glamorous Hilda Jones, who has come to paint Bill's portrait. Suddenly, Bill discovers that he will have to pay income tax on all his prizes and consults a tax expert, who tells him that his liability will be $7,000. As his annual salary is $7,500. Bill and Amy decide to sell off most of the prizes. In the meantime, rumors circulate about Bill posing for Hilda, but she is actually painting a portrait of Amy from a photograph Bill has given to her. When Bill sells one of the watches he has won to a store customer, Woodruff tells him to desist. To counteract Bill's "involvement" with Hilda, Amy goes to dinner with Leslie. Bill then takes Amy to see the portrait at Hilda's hotel room, but when Hilda answers his knock at her door very affectionately, Amy leaves in a huff. Several strange people come to the house to view the numerous items for sale. When Bill finds he has to go to Chicago on business, Harry tells him that a sharp character by the name of Flick Morgan might buy some of the rings and watches from him. Bill goes to see Flick, who runs an illegal bookie operation behind a candy store. As Morgan examines a ring, the place is raided by the police, and he takes off with the ring. The police find other jewelry and watches in Bill's possession and arrest him. Meanwhile, the man who bought the watch from Bill has brought it back to Woodruff complaining that it doesn't work and consequently, when Woodruff receives a call from the Chicago police asking to verify Bill's employment, he denies knowing him. After Bill spends a night in jail, Harry comes to clear him and they drive back to Glenville. Along the way, they stop for a drink and Bill has one too many. Harry then phones one of Bill's friends to arrange a surprise wedding anniversary party for that evening. However, Bill and Amy have a fight, and when the party guests arrive, they find Bill leaving, suitcase in hand. The next day, Hilda delivers the portrait and Amy is surprised that it is of her. Hilda tells her that there was nothing between Bill and her and that Amy should hold onto him. When a lawyer, Pritchett, later arrives at the house saying that Bill is on his way, both Bill and Amy assume that Pritchett is there to negotiate divorce terms. Pritchett, in fact, represents Flick Morgan, who has lost the ring he was examining when the raid started. Pritchett tells Bill that Morgan is very grateful to him for not implicating him in the raid and wishes to pay Bill the full amount he asked for the ring, $5,000. After Bill realizes he can use this money to pay his tax liability, he and Amy reunite. Woodruff then drops by to say that his statement to the police was intended only as a joke. Although Bill socks him, Woodruff later promotes him to vice-president.

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

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