The Fuller Brush Man (1948)

93 mins | Mystery, Comedy | June 1948

Director:

S. Sylvan Simon

Producer:

S. Sylvan Simon

Cinematographer:

Lester White

Editor:

Al Clark

Production Designers:

Stephen Goosson, Carl Anderson

Production Company:

Edward Small Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

According to an Apr 1948 HR news item, Columbia chose Hartford, Connecticut, as the site for the film's premiere because it was the home of the Fuller Brush Company. The Fuller Brush Company and its door-to-door salesmen gained in popularity after World War II. An Oct 1947 NYT article indicates that S. Sylvan Simon, his wife, and writer Cyrus Rice collaborated on the development of the screen story, and that Simon and actor Red Skelton, who had both been under contract with M-G-M, took their story idea to Columbia after they failed to interest their home studio in the picture. The contribution of Mrs. Simon and Cyrus Rice to the completed film has not been confirmed. The article also indicates that Roy Huggins' short story was not incorporated into the Fuller Brush story until after Edward Small agreed to do the picture. The film marked Skelton's first film away from M-G-M since signing as a contract player many years earlier. According to a pre-production news item in LADN , Skelton prepared for his role by spending an afternoon selling Fuller Brushes door-to-door.
       Although the first HR production chart listing for the film lists Hal Fisher as the film's art director, subsequent production charts list Carl Anderson. Fisher's contribution to the final film has not been confirmed. A Nov 1947 HR news item indicated that A. Howard Fuller, the son of the president of The Fuller Brush Co., was to play himself in the picture, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. In Jun 1948, according to HR , actress Janet Blair filed ... More Less

According to an Apr 1948 HR news item, Columbia chose Hartford, Connecticut, as the site for the film's premiere because it was the home of the Fuller Brush Company. The Fuller Brush Company and its door-to-door salesmen gained in popularity after World War II. An Oct 1947 NYT article indicates that S. Sylvan Simon, his wife, and writer Cyrus Rice collaborated on the development of the screen story, and that Simon and actor Red Skelton, who had both been under contract with M-G-M, took their story idea to Columbia after they failed to interest their home studio in the picture. The contribution of Mrs. Simon and Cyrus Rice to the completed film has not been confirmed. The article also indicates that Roy Huggins' short story was not incorporated into the Fuller Brush story until after Edward Small agreed to do the picture. The film marked Skelton's first film away from M-G-M since signing as a contract player many years earlier. According to a pre-production news item in LADN , Skelton prepared for his role by spending an afternoon selling Fuller Brushes door-to-door.
       Although the first HR production chart listing for the film lists Hal Fisher as the film's art director, subsequent production charts list Carl Anderson. Fisher's contribution to the final film has not been confirmed. A Nov 1947 HR news item indicated that A. Howard Fuller, the son of the president of The Fuller Brush Co., was to play himself in the picture, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. In Jun 1948, according to HR , actress Janet Blair filed a lawsuit against Edward Small Productions seeking $250,000 in damages for omitting her credit and then placing it in improper type size in some of the film's advertisements and stills. Soon after the suit was filed, a federal judge issued a restraining order preventing Edward Small Productions from issuing any further advertising that did not include Blair's name in the same type size as Skelton's. In 1950, Columbia released a follow-up film to The Fuller Brush Man entitled The Fuller Brush Girl (see above). More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
15 May 1948.
---
Daily Variety
7 May 48
p. 4.
Film Daily
3 Jun 48
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Oct 47
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Oct 47
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Oct 47
p. 6, 10
Hollywood Reporter
24 Oct 47
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Nov 47
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 48
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
7 May 48
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
24 May 48
p. 6.
Los Angeles Daily News
26 Sep 1947.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
24 Apr 48
p. 4139.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
8 May 48
p. 4154.
New York Times
5 Oct 1947.
---
New York Times
15 May 48
p. 18.
Variety
12 May 48
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d unit dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Sd eng
PRODUCTION MISC
Dial coach
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Now You See It" by Roy Huggins in The Saturday Evening Post (25 May 1946).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
June 1948
Premiere Information:
Hartford, CT premiere: 12 May 1948
Production Date:
15 October--29 November 1947
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
20 May 1948
Copyright Number:
LP1614
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
93
Country:
United States
PCA No:
12881
SYNOPSIS

When accident-prone street cleaner Red Jones proposes marriage to Ann Elliot, a secretary at the Fuller Brush company, she refuses his engagement ring and tells him that she will not marry him until he makes a success of himself. Ann also tells Red that he should be more like her friend Keenan Wallick, a successful Fuller Brush salesman. Later, Red accidentally causes a trash can fire and is dismissed from his job by Sanitation Commissioner Gordon Trist. To help Red find a new job, Ann arranges to have him tested as a door-to-door Fuller Brush salesman and teams him up with Keenan on one of his runs. Keenan, hoping to get Red out of his way so that he can pursue a romance with Ann, has the inexperienced salesman try out his technique on an "impossible" block. Red fails at his early attempts to sell the brushes, and Keenan, hoping to get rid of Red conclusively, makes a wager, using Ann as the prize, that Red will not be able to sell one single household on a brush. Red next attempts to sell brushes at the home of Commissioner Trist, but he is forcefully ejected from Trist's home when the commissioner realizes that Red is the man whom he fired. Mrs. Trist, however, buys ten brushes from Red. Later, while reporting his sales success to Ann and Keenan, Red realizes that in his excitement he forgot to collect Mrs. Trist's money. When he returns to the Trist estate, Red overhears the commissioner, his business partner, Gregory Cruckston, and others discussing their involvement in a war surplus racket. During the conversation, Sara Franzen, the fiancée of Gordon's son ... +


When accident-prone street cleaner Red Jones proposes marriage to Ann Elliot, a secretary at the Fuller Brush company, she refuses his engagement ring and tells him that she will not marry him until he makes a success of himself. Ann also tells Red that he should be more like her friend Keenan Wallick, a successful Fuller Brush salesman. Later, Red accidentally causes a trash can fire and is dismissed from his job by Sanitation Commissioner Gordon Trist. To help Red find a new job, Ann arranges to have him tested as a door-to-door Fuller Brush salesman and teams him up with Keenan on one of his runs. Keenan, hoping to get Red out of his way so that he can pursue a romance with Ann, has the inexperienced salesman try out his technique on an "impossible" block. Red fails at his early attempts to sell the brushes, and Keenan, hoping to get rid of Red conclusively, makes a wager, using Ann as the prize, that Red will not be able to sell one single household on a brush. Red next attempts to sell brushes at the home of Commissioner Trist, but he is forcefully ejected from Trist's home when the commissioner realizes that Red is the man whom he fired. Mrs. Trist, however, buys ten brushes from Red. Later, while reporting his sales success to Ann and Keenan, Red realizes that in his excitement he forgot to collect Mrs. Trist's money. When he returns to the Trist estate, Red overhears the commissioner, his business partner, Gregory Cruckston, and others discussing their involvement in a war surplus racket. During the conversation, Sara Franzen, the fiancée of Gordon's son Freddie, tearfully confesses that she is in love with Gordon. Red is caught spying on the family from the garden, and moments after he is brought indoors, the lights go out and Gordon is found stabbed to death. As police lieutenant Quint searches the house for the murder weapon, all those present in the house, including Red, are arrested on suspicion of murder. Though the police initially believe Red to be the killer, he is eventually released for lack of evidence. When Red returns home, he finds Mrs. Trist waiting there. Chaos ensues when Ann arrives, followed by Freddie and two mysterious armed thugs. As the gunmen hold everyone in Red's apartment hostage and search the apartment looking for the murder weapon, Red and Ann discover that the weapon was one of the brushes from the Fuller Brush line, which had been melted and molded into a knife-like object. Before Red and Ann can take their theory to Quint, however, they are trapped by Cruckston, who reveals himself as the murderer. Ann and Red are taken prisoner by Cruckston and his cohorts, but they manage to escape to safety with the help of the police and firemen. With the murderer arrested, Red finally wins Ann's respect, and they embrace and kiss. +

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

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