The Happy Years (1950)

109-110 mins | Comedy-drama | 7 July 1950

Director:

William A. Wellman

Writer:

Harry Ruskin

Producer:

Carey Wilson

Cinematographer:

Paul C. Vogel

Editor:

John Dunning

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Daniel B. Cathcart

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Dink Stover and You're Only Young Twice. Owen Johnson's book, The Lawrenceville School Stories, consists of three distinct sections: "The Prodigious Hickey," "The Varmint" and "The Tennessee Shad." "The Prodigious Hickey" and "The Tennessee Shad" are made up of short stories, while "The Varmint" is a single, novelette-length piece. Many of the short stories were published in Century magazine in 1908. The picture marked the film debut of actor Robert Wagner. An addenda to the film's CBCS sheet indicates that actor Charles B. Smith played a character named "Sock Mazula," and that the character was eliminated from the picture before its release. Some filming took place on location in Lawrenceville, NJ. An Oct 1949 DV news item noted that John Pershing, III, the grandson of General John J. Pershing, was set for a part in this film, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. The Happy Years was re-released as The Adventures of Dink Stover. ...

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The working titles of this film were Dink Stover and You're Only Young Twice. Owen Johnson's book, The Lawrenceville School Stories, consists of three distinct sections: "The Prodigious Hickey," "The Varmint" and "The Tennessee Shad." "The Prodigious Hickey" and "The Tennessee Shad" are made up of short stories, while "The Varmint" is a single, novelette-length piece. Many of the short stories were published in Century magazine in 1908. The picture marked the film debut of actor Robert Wagner. An addenda to the film's CBCS sheet indicates that actor Charles B. Smith played a character named "Sock Mazula," and that the character was eliminated from the picture before its release. Some filming took place on location in Lawrenceville, NJ. An Oct 1949 DV news item noted that John Pershing, III, the grandson of General John J. Pershing, was set for a part in this film, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. The Happy Years was re-released as The Adventures of Dink Stover.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
27 May 1950
---
Daily Variety
6 Sep 1949
p. 11
Daily Variety
13 Sep 1949
p. 11
Daily Variety
10 Oct 1949
p. 2
Daily Variety
25 May 1950
p. 3
Film Daily
25 May 1950
p. 7
Hollywood Reporter
9 Sep 1949
p. 12
Hollywood Reporter
18 Nov 1949
p. 8
Hollywood Reporter
25 May 1950
p. 4
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 May 1950
p. 313
Variety
31 May 1950
p. 6
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
James B. Harper
Cam op
Jerome Hester
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
SOUND
Rec supv
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Hairstyles des by
Makeup created by
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Bill Hole
Scr supv
Henry Forrester
Grip
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book The Lawrenceville School Stories by Owen Johnson (New York, 1910).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Dink Stover
Youre Only Young Twice
Release Date:
7 July 1950
Production Date:
12 Sep--late Nov 1949
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Loew's Inc.
24 May 1950
LP133
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
109-110
Length(in feet):
9,887
Country:
United States
PCA No:
14319
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In 1896, in a small city in New Jersey, John Humperdink Stover, a precocious young boy with a penchant for causing trouble, is expelled from a public school and sent to Miss Wandell's Select Academy for Young Ladies and Gentlemen. John's father Samuel, an upstanding newspaper publisher and editor, hopes that the private school will reform his son, but his hopes are soon dashed when John causes an explosion in his chemistry class and is expelled from his new school. Samuel decides to give John one last chance to reform himself by enrolling him at Lawrenceville, a distinguished preparatory school near Princeton, where John's brother Sambo received his early education. En route to Lawrenceville, John shares a carriage with Mr. Hopkins, the school's headmaster, whose stodginess has earned him the title of "The Old Roman." Unaware that Mr. Hopkins is the school's headmaster, John spins wild tales about his family history, and then grabs the horse reigns and takes the carriage on a wild ride. When John arrives at the school, he is assigned to the Green House, a residence hall filled with an assortment of oddly nicknamed boys. After Tough McCarty, the intimidating elder classman leader of the house, changes John's name to "Dink," he introduces him to Coffee Colored Angel, White Mountain Canary, Cheyenne Baxter, Poler Beekstein, and his new roommate, Butsey White. Dink's initiation begins when White Mountain Canary chases him through the campus and engages him in a fistfight. Dink wins the fight, and later trounces another challenger, Coffee Colored Angel. Though he loses a fight with Tough McCarty, Dink refuses to make peace with the boys and is ostracized for his stubbornness. ...

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In 1896, in a small city in New Jersey, John Humperdink Stover, a precocious young boy with a penchant for causing trouble, is expelled from a public school and sent to Miss Wandell's Select Academy for Young Ladies and Gentlemen. John's father Samuel, an upstanding newspaper publisher and editor, hopes that the private school will reform his son, but his hopes are soon dashed when John causes an explosion in his chemistry class and is expelled from his new school. Samuel decides to give John one last chance to reform himself by enrolling him at Lawrenceville, a distinguished preparatory school near Princeton, where John's brother Sambo received his early education. En route to Lawrenceville, John shares a carriage with Mr. Hopkins, the school's headmaster, whose stodginess has earned him the title of "The Old Roman." Unaware that Mr. Hopkins is the school's headmaster, John spins wild tales about his family history, and then grabs the horse reigns and takes the carriage on a wild ride. When John arrives at the school, he is assigned to the Green House, a residence hall filled with an assortment of oddly nicknamed boys. After Tough McCarty, the intimidating elder classman leader of the house, changes John's name to "Dink," he introduces him to Coffee Colored Angel, White Mountain Canary, Cheyenne Baxter, Poler Beekstein, and his new roommate, Butsey White. Dink's initiation begins when White Mountain Canary chases him through the campus and engages him in a fistfight. Dink wins the fight, and later trounces another challenger, Coffee Colored Angel. Though he loses a fight with Tough McCarty, Dink refuses to make peace with the boys and is ostracized for his stubbornness. When summer arrives, Dink joins his family at a beach house and vows never to return to Lawrenceville. At the beach, Dink befriends a group of boys who join him in a number of pranks, including one designed to embarrass a young girl named Connie Brown. The boys, posing as sophisticated and cultured suitors, arrive at Connie's house one by one and pretend to vie for her attentions. The stunt drives Connie to tears, and the boys decide to play the same trick on other girls. At summer's end, Dink decides to return to Lawrenceville for another opportunity to fight Tough. When he arrives at the school, Dink is surprised to learn that he has been reassigned to a new residence hall, the Kennedy House, which is supervised by Mr. Hopkins. At the house, Dink becomes fast friends with the wiry, straight-laced Joshua Montgomery Smeed, known also as "The Big Man," who helps Dink with his studies. McCarty and Dink continue their feud on the football field, where they tackle each other mercilessly until Hopkins suspends Dink from the team. Dink and McCarty put aside their differences during an important football game and eventually forge a close friendship. Dink later gains the respect of Mr. Hopkins when Mr. Hopkins discovers that Dink decided not to cheat, as he had planned to, on an important examination. Dink later apologizes to Mr. Hopkins for misunderstanding him, and Mr. Hopkins realizes that Dink has matured. At the end of the school year, Dink returns to his parents' beach house, and they are pleased to see that their son has finally reformed.

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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.