Ben and Me (1953) Movie Script

Benjamin Franklin was one of the most
extraordinary men of the 18th century.
Philosopher, inventor and patriot,
he rose from obscurity
to become one of the greatest figures
in American history.
In our struggle for freedom, much credit
must be given to this illustrious...
Mouse. For it was Amos
who was really responsible
for the great deeds
attributed to Benjamin Franklin.
And here's the proof
in his own words.
I was born and raised
in Philadelphia,
in the old church
on Second Street.
Our home was in the vestry,
behind the paneling.
There were 26 children in the family,
and with that many mouths to feed,
we were naturally quite poor.
In fact, as poor as church mice.
And since I was the oldest,
I determined to set out into the world
and make my own way.
If I was successful,
I could help the others.
But, in any case,
there'd be one less mouse to feed.
It was the winter of 1745
and these were desperate times.
Jobs were scarce,
especially for a mouse,
for we were a downtrodden race.
Good morning, madam.
Could you use a handy mouse?
By nightfall
I was becoming desperate.
If I didn't find shelter soon,
I'd be done for.
My last hope was an old
run-down shop near the edge of town.
A sign over the door read:
"Benjamin Franklin,
printer and bookbinder. "
Perhaps I could find shelter here,
just for the night.
Upon entering a strange place, I always
took one good sniff as a precaution.
Hmm. Printers' ink.
Fresh paper. Old books.
And no cats.
And just about as cold
as it was outside.
The place was full
of strange contraptions,
tangles of wire...
... and a little round-faced man
trying to write by candlelight.
Good day, Mr. Franklin.
Could you use a...
Oh, dear, don't tell me.
My last pair.
Oh, what will I do?
Now I'll never get my paper out.
- I'm tired of his excuses.
- He better open up.
Sufferin' hot coals,
here they come again.
- Settle up. Open up.
- Open up. We know you're there.
- Pay the rent or get out.
- We want our money.
In 24 hours
I'm taking your press.
We're taking everything.
- It's your last chance, Franklin.
- Remember, 24 hours.
You can come out now, Mr. Franklin.
- They've gone.
- Twenty-four hours.
Oh, what's the use?
But you can't give up.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained,
Mr. Franklin.
My name's Ben.
Plain Ben.
Just what would you do, uh,
whatever your name is?
My name's Amos, one of the church mice
from over on Second Street.
The first thing I'd do
is figure a way to heat this place.
- All your heat's going up the chimney.
- What would you propose?
Put the fire in the middle
of the room.
You want to burn the place down?
Make something
out of iron to put it in.
Say, that might be an idea.
Fixing Ben's glasses
was quite a problem.
He'd broken his outdoor pair,
as well as his reading glasses.
Well, there was
only one thing left.
Try to make one pair
out of the two.
Let me see now.
Do I put...?
Perhaps if I...?
There we are.
Amos, Amos.
What will I do with the smoke?
Use a pipe. Run it
over to the chimney.
I must admit,
the stove wasn't much to look at.
- But at least...
- It works, Amos. It works!
Say, I wonder if we couldn't
make these things and sell 'em.
Call it the Franklin stove.
- Maybe someday...
- Yeah, maybe someday.
But right now, Ben,
would you mind trying these?
- We have work to do.
- Oh, mmm.
Well, well, well.
- Will they do?
- Will they!
Why, Amos, this is a great idea.
Two-way glasses.
By George.
Say, Ben, this your paper?
That's it, Amos,
Poor Richard's Almanac.
"Sunrise 6:22. Sunset 7:43.
High tide 4:20.
A cat in gloves catches no mice."
Ha! Poor Richard's Almanac.
Poor, indeed.
But consider all the information...
Ben, when the sun's up, it's up.
Why read about it?
Oh, well,
what would you suggest?
First, I'd give it a new name.
Something snappy, like The Gazette.
- The Pennsylvania Gazette.
- Well...
- Sounds all right.
- Then tell 'em what's going on.
Give 'em some news, real news.
- Wake 'em up.
- Where will I get news at this hour?
I'll get it for you.
Hold everything, Ben, till I get back.
# Which nobody can deny #
The night watch. Disgraceful.
But what about the judge?
- A few pounds took care of him.
- Good.
Now to fill our pockets,
eh, Jonathan?
And due to our inadequate
fire department,
the building was a total loss.
Damage estimated at 490 pounds,
12 shillings, sixpence.
- Got that, Ben?
- Right, Amos.
Then let's go to press!
Lower case T.
Upper case S.
Upper case A.
Lower case T.
Upper case S.
Space, space.
Semicolon, another space.
Upper case R, lower case O.
Upper case C,
lower case T.
Space, space.
Upper E, lower R.
Say, this fellow Franklin
comes right out with it, don't he?
- Sure does.
- Look at this.
- The baker's wife.
- Triplets.
Did you read this?
More taxes in '46.
I see there was a fire
on Chestnut Street.
- He's got everything in here.
- People.
- You seen Franklin's new paper?
- Yeah.
The Pennsylvania Gazette.
By evening, everyone
in Philadelphia was reading the Gazette.
Well, Amos, we're a success.
What a day.
- What a day!
- Yes, Ben.
What a day.
Now I can pay my bills
and you can have cheese.
Good night, Ben.
Good night, Amos.
Whenever Ben appeared
in public, he kept me under his hat.
There was a small door in the front
so I could step out on the brim.
Thus, I was able to observe and offer
advice without being seen by others.
I say, isn't that young Franklin?
Why, yes.
Good day, Ben.
Good day, Mr., uh...
Governor Keith
and Dr. Palmer.
Governor Keith, Dr. Palmer.
I read your new paper, my boy.
Keep up the good work, Ben.
Thank you, Excellency.
I shall do my best.
Thank you, Your Excellency.
I shall do my best.
- Bright young chap.
- Yes, indeed. Very alert.
Seems to know what's going on.
Just think,
the governor spoke to you.
See, Ben? People are beginning
to sit up and take notice.
Oh, we're really getting someplace.
Nothing can stop us now.
Post, Ben, post.
How do you do, Mr. Post?
Oh, my goodness.
What have I done?
- Ahem.
- Amos!
As the years passed,
Ben's reputation grew.
Letters poured in
from all over the colonies.
Requests for money,
for information on inventions,
advice in business
and even for advice to the lovelorn.
I spent all my spare time
answering them.
Meanwhile, Ben puttered around
with his experiments.
Amos, you should have seen yourself.
That was the funniest...
Amos, where are you going?
- I'm leaving!
- Leaving?
Oh, Amos,
can't you take a little joke?
Joke! You call this a joke?
I didn't mean it. Please don't go.
I won't do it again.
Well, no more tricks, now.
- Promise?
- I promise.
It was shortly thereafter
that Ben took up kite flying.
To the framework of his largest kite
he fastened a small box.
It was his idea that I become
the world's first flying reporter.
I was so enthralled
with the spectacle spread out below
that I failed to notice
a sharp pointed wire
fixed to the kite
just above my head.
I was the victim of a plot.
Speak to me.
Was it electricity?
"Was it electricity?"
Was it electricity!
Goodbye, and forever!
Please, Amos, wait.
And so I left Ben
and returned to my family,
in the old church, in the vestry,
behind the paneling.
The years that followed
were troubled ones.
There were rumors
of violence and rebellion.
Loud talk against stamp taxes
and other outrages.
How about it, men?
Are we gonna stand for this?
- No!
- No taxation without representation!
During this crisis
Ben was chosen to go to England
to lay our case before the king.
Now, all the colonies
anxiously awaited his return.
Never seen
such a bad sign to lead.
- What happened?
- What about taxes?
Will he lift them?
What did the king say?
Gentlemen, I'm afraid
the mission was a failure.
The king was unreasonable.
He wouldn't listen.
Then we'll fight
for our independence.
- War.
- Right.
War? Gentlemen,
there must be some other way.
- Some other way?
- What way?
- We've got to fight.
- What if we lose?
- We'll hang.
- What will we do?
- What will we do?
- If I only knew.
If I only knew.
Poor Ben.
I couldn't help feeling sorry for him.
It was a heavy responsibility.
I could help him.
I knew I could.
But no.
I couldn't go back.
After all,
a mouse has a little pride.
It was a night
in the summer of 1776
that I was awakened
by a voice calling my name.
Who could it be at this hour?
All right, all right.
- Ben!
- Amos.
Well... what do you want?
Well, I... That is...
I've come to ask if...
Oh, Amos, come back to me.
Would you, please?
- Out of the question.
- Please, Amos.
- Consider your country.
- My country?
Yes, Amos,
there are big decisions to be made.
I know, Ben.
I know all about it.
I need you, Amos.
You've just got to come back.
- On my own terms?
- Yes, Amos, yes.
If I draw an agreement,
will you sign?
I'll sign it.
I'll sign anything.
Very well. You shall have the agreement
first thing in the morning.
"And wherefore."
"And where to."
So many "to's" in it.
Will not tolerate.
"Will not tolerate."
"Yes, under these conditions..."
Absolutely binding.
B- l-N-D-l-N-G.
Good day, Ben.
Come in, Amos, come in.
Let me take your hat and coat.
Nice weather we're having.
Now, could I pour you some tea
and we'll get on to my problems?
If you don't mind,
will you sign this first?
Yes, of course.
Mind if I read it?
If you wish.
Ben, are you there?
It's Tom Jefferson.
- Ben!
- Come in, Red, come in.
- Ben, you've got to help me.
- Of course, Red.
I've been racking my brains,
working day and night.
But it's no use. I'm stuck!
But I thought it was finished.
It is. It is, Ben.
But I don't like the beginning.
It just doesn't sound right.
Uh, listen to this.
The time has come when we,
the people of these colonies...
- Yes, yes?
- No, no, not big enough.
How about this?
Now's the time when we, the people...
- Well, um...
- No, not strong enough.
The time is at hand
when we, the people must...
Oh, you see what I mean, Ben?
If I could only find the words.
Psst. Ben.
How about our contract?
No, Amos, not now.
Yes, now, or I'm leaving.
All right, Amos, all right.
"When in the course of human events,
- it becomes necessary..."
- Ben!
That's it. That's it!
When in the Course of human events
it becomes necessary
for one people to dissolve
the political bands
which have connected them
with another and to assume,
among the powers of the earth
the separate and equal station
to which the Laws of Nature...
...of this Declaration,
with a firm reliance on the protection
of Divine Providence,
we mutually pledge
to each other our Lives,
our Fortunes
and our sacred Honor.
On July 4, 1776,
the Declaration of Independence
was adopted by Congress.
I was very proud
to have had a small part
in the creation
of this great document.
And so,
we are gathered here today
- to pay our respects to...
- Benjamin Franklin.
For he was truly
one of the greatest figures
in American history.