The Arkansas Traveler (1938)

83 or 85 mins | Drama | 14 October 1938

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HISTORY

This film was a "Movie Quiz $250,000.00 Contest" picture; no further information on the contest has been found. The film is dedicated to William Allen White, an editor from Emporia, Kansas. The film opens with a quotation from Life : "To the small-town man who envies the glamour of the city, he is living assurance that small-town life may still be profitable...to the city man who looks back with longing on a small-town youth, he is a living example of simplicity, kindliness and common sense." According to files in the AMPAS Library, early writing credits dated 22 Jul 1938 included Mary C. McCall, Jr. as a third screenwriter, but revised credits resulting from final rewriting dated 23 Aug 1938, eliminated her from the screen. Records dated 21 Sep 1938 list Walter DeLeon as a contributing writer, but he receives no credit on the screen. MPH states that Jeff Davis was "famed as 'King of the ... More Less

This film was a "Movie Quiz $250,000.00 Contest" picture; no further information on the contest has been found. The film is dedicated to William Allen White, an editor from Emporia, Kansas. The film opens with a quotation from Life : "To the small-town man who envies the glamour of the city, he is living assurance that small-town life may still be profitable...to the city man who looks back with longing on a small-town youth, he is a living example of simplicity, kindliness and common sense." According to files in the AMPAS Library, early writing credits dated 22 Jul 1938 included Mary C. McCall, Jr. as a third screenwriter, but revised credits resulting from final rewriting dated 23 Aug 1938, eliminated her from the screen. Records dated 21 Sep 1938 list Walter DeLeon as a contributing writer, but he receives no credit on the screen. MPH states that Jeff Davis was "famed as 'King of the Hoboes.'" More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
29 Sep 38
p. 3.
Film Daily
4 Oct 38
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jul 38
p. 22.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Aug 38
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Sep 38
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
5 Oct 38
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald
10 Sep 38
p. 72.
Motion Picture Herald
8 Oct 38
p. 38.
New York Times
17 Nov 38
p. 29.
Variety
5 Oct 38
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Int dec
MUSIC
Mus dir
DETAILS
Release Date:
14 October 1938
Production Date:
began early July 1938, ended early August 1938
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
14 October 1938
Copyright Number:
LP8349
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
83 or 85
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
4471
SYNOPSIS

The Arkansas Traveler, an itinerant printer, returns to a small town to help save The Daily Record , a newspaper started by Mr. Allen, an old friend who is now deceased. The paper is run by Allen's widow Martha and her son Benny. The day the Traveler arrives, Johnnie Daniels, son of the town's corrupt mayor, returns after a three-year absence and learns his mother died just three days before. Although Johnnie refuses to see his father, the Traveler convinces the friendly constable to arrest Johnnie for stealing his watch in order to get Johnnie to stay. Wealthy Matt Collins, who runs the town's politics, is planning to build a dam with the taxpayers' money to benefit his own electricity business. Collins orders the constable to release Johnnie to save the mayor's reputation, but Johnnie refuses Collins' help and goes to work on the Allens' paper, hoping to use it as a vehicle for exposing Collins' hidden agenda regarding the dam bond issue and the mayoral election. At Collins' orders, local businessmen pull their ads from the paper, and Collins offers to buy the paper from Martha. She refuses to sell and the Traveler and Johnnie write an editorial exposing Collins' corruption. Johnnie's father Homer then visits, asking him to join forces with him and Collins, but Johnnie says he plans to fight them. Collins, meanwhile, befriends Martha's daughter Judy and when the Traveler continues to fight Collins, Judy accuses him of meddling, and he begins packing his bags. Judy apologizes, however, and the Traveler explains he came to town to pay a debt to her father. When Judy reveals to her mother ... +


The Arkansas Traveler, an itinerant printer, returns to a small town to help save The Daily Record , a newspaper started by Mr. Allen, an old friend who is now deceased. The paper is run by Allen's widow Martha and her son Benny. The day the Traveler arrives, Johnnie Daniels, son of the town's corrupt mayor, returns after a three-year absence and learns his mother died just three days before. Although Johnnie refuses to see his father, the Traveler convinces the friendly constable to arrest Johnnie for stealing his watch in order to get Johnnie to stay. Wealthy Matt Collins, who runs the town's politics, is planning to build a dam with the taxpayers' money to benefit his own electricity business. Collins orders the constable to release Johnnie to save the mayor's reputation, but Johnnie refuses Collins' help and goes to work on the Allens' paper, hoping to use it as a vehicle for exposing Collins' hidden agenda regarding the dam bond issue and the mayoral election. At Collins' orders, local businessmen pull their ads from the paper, and Collins offers to buy the paper from Martha. She refuses to sell and the Traveler and Johnnie write an editorial exposing Collins' corruption. Johnnie's father Homer then visits, asking him to join forces with him and Collins, but Johnnie says he plans to fight them. Collins, meanwhile, befriends Martha's daughter Judy and when the Traveler continues to fight Collins, Judy accuses him of meddling, and he begins packing his bags. Judy apologizes, however, and the Traveler explains he came to town to pay a debt to her father. When Judy reveals to her mother her yearning for important city life, Martha explains she, too, had that longing, but stuck with her husband's dream of building a big newspaper. The Traveler becomes a matchmaker for Judy and Johnnie, who love each other silently. Just as the constable tells Martha he must repossess her presses on account of debt, the Traveler finds Allen's old blueprint for a radio station. The Traveler knows the Allens' license for a radio station is not yet expired and that Collins cannot build one until the Allen license runs out. The Traveler convinces Collins he has quit work at the Allens' paper and needs a generator for a cotton gin in another town. The Allens lose their paper and for a while believe the Traveler has betrayed them, but he returns with dozens of unemployed men to build a radio station in time for the mayoral election. The Traveler kidnaps Collins and Daniels and sends them out of town in the back of a van. With Johnnie's electrical engineering talents and the Traveler's receiving tower, the townspeople and the itinerants build a radio station in one night. At dawn the day of the election, the Allens stage their first radio broadcast, which consists of Johnnie's proposal to Judy. When the polls open, Johnnie is elected mayor. The Traveler is about to hop a train out of town when the constable arrests him for stealing Johnnie's watch. +

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.