Young Tom Edison (1940)

82 mins | Biography, Drama | 15 March 1940

Director:

Norman Taurog

Cinematographer:

Sidney Wagner

Editor:

Elmo Veron

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

According to the Var review, M-G-M originally planned a picture that would encompass Edison's entire life, but when the studio found that it had too much material, it decided to divide the film into two parts. The second part, Edison the Man, starring Spencer Tracy, dealt with the adult Tom Edison and was also released in 1940 (see entry). According to news items in HR, technical advisor Lewis Miller was Edison's nephew. At the Port Huron, MI, premiere of the film, a wood-burning locomotive pulling a baggage car in which Edison worked as a boy was displayed outside the theater. In Dec 1940, Mickey Rooney starred in a Lux Radio Theatre version of this story. In 1963, M-G-M produced a television movie titled The Wizard of Menlo Park, which was also based on the life of Tom Edison. ...

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According to the Var review, M-G-M originally planned a picture that would encompass Edison's entire life, but when the studio found that it had too much material, it decided to divide the film into two parts. The second part, Edison the Man, starring Spencer Tracy, dealt with the adult Tom Edison and was also released in 1940 (see entry). According to news items in HR, technical advisor Lewis Miller was Edison's nephew. At the Port Huron, MI, premiere of the film, a wood-burning locomotive pulling a baggage car in which Edison worked as a boy was displayed outside the theater. In Dec 1940, Mickey Rooney starred in a Lux Radio Theatre version of this story. In 1963, M-G-M produced a television movie titled The Wizard of Menlo Park, which was also based on the life of Tom Edison.

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
9 Feb 1940
p. 3
Film Daily
13 Feb 1940
p. 4
Hollywood Reporter
11 Nov 1939
pp. 6-7
Hollywood Reporter
5 Feb 1940
p. 4
Hollywood Reporter
9 Feb 1940
p. 3
Motion Picture Daily
9 Feb 1940
pp. 5-8
Motion Picture Daily
14 Feb 1940
p. 6
Motion Picture Herald
13 Jan 1940
p. 42
Motion Picture Herald
17 Feb 1940
p. 38
New York Times
15 Mar 1940
p. 27
Variety
14 Feb 1940
p. 18
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
William Ryan
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Contr to scr const
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Men's cost
Women's cost
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
MAKEUP
Makeup created by
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on material assembled by H. Alan Dunn.
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
15 March 1940
Premiere Information:
Port Huron, MI premiere: 10 Feb 1940
Production Date:
began early Nov 1939
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Loew's Inc.
1 April 1940
LP9573
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
82
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5988
SYNOPSIS

In the early 1860's, in the town of Port Huron, Michigan, young Tom Edison is misunderstood by everyone except his mother Nancy and sister Tannie. When Tom accidentally sets off a smoke bomb in the school house cloakroom, his narrow-minded teacher, Miss Lavina Howard, calls him addled and expels him from school. Although Tom's father Samuel does not understand Tom and is disgusted with his behavior, Tom's mother retains her faith in her son. Soon after, Tom wins the gratitude of Mr. McCarney, the local telegraph operator, when he pulls his little son from the path of an oncoming train. The enterprising Tom gets a job selling concessions to passengers aboard the train, and when the Civil War starts, Tom begins to print a paper aboard the train informing passengers about the progress of the war. When Tom unwittingly carries a bottle of nitroglycerin aboard the train and sets fire to a car when one of his chemical bottles spills, he has his ears soundly boxed and is thrown off the train by Mr. Nelson, the railroad agent. Derided by the townfolk and his father, Tom plans to run away, but decides to stay when his mother falls gravely ill. In a desperate attempt to provide the needed light for an operation to save his mother's life, Tom breaks into the general store and steals a mirror to intensify the lamp light, only to be accused of theft for his ingenuity. Tom's invention helps the doctor save his mother's life, and he finally wins recognition for his heroism when he prevents a train wreck by sending a Morse code distress message on a train whistle. ...

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In the early 1860's, in the town of Port Huron, Michigan, young Tom Edison is misunderstood by everyone except his mother Nancy and sister Tannie. When Tom accidentally sets off a smoke bomb in the school house cloakroom, his narrow-minded teacher, Miss Lavina Howard, calls him addled and expels him from school. Although Tom's father Samuel does not understand Tom and is disgusted with his behavior, Tom's mother retains her faith in her son. Soon after, Tom wins the gratitude of Mr. McCarney, the local telegraph operator, when he pulls his little son from the path of an oncoming train. The enterprising Tom gets a job selling concessions to passengers aboard the train, and when the Civil War starts, Tom begins to print a paper aboard the train informing passengers about the progress of the war. When Tom unwittingly carries a bottle of nitroglycerin aboard the train and sets fire to a car when one of his chemical bottles spills, he has his ears soundly boxed and is thrown off the train by Mr. Nelson, the railroad agent. Derided by the townfolk and his father, Tom plans to run away, but decides to stay when his mother falls gravely ill. In a desperate attempt to provide the needed light for an operation to save his mother's life, Tom breaks into the general store and steals a mirror to intensify the lamp light, only to be accused of theft for his ingenuity. Tom's invention helps the doctor save his mother's life, and he finally wins recognition for his heroism when he prevents a train wreck by sending a Morse code distress message on a train whistle. Tom's inventiveness wins him the admiration of the community and earns him a job as telegraph operator on the railroad. It also earns the respect of his father, who proudly tells his wife that from now on he will be known as the father of Tom Edison.

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

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