Magic Town (1947) Movie Script

Morning, Joe. Another one? In or out?
Out. Rip Smith, Institute of Public Opinion.
Going bust.
Rip Smith. 18th floor, inside office.
Tall man, brown shoes, dark polished
three times a week. 25 cents tip.
Too bad. Nice man.
No wonder he's going bust. Getting public
opinions is a screwy way to make living.
It's not screwy.
Lots of guys clean up. Look at Gallup.
Big corporations pay money
to find out what we think.
- They do?
- Sure. Take this cigar.
People stop buying it. Sales fall.
Manufacturer wants to know why.
I can tell him why in one word.
George, is it true about Rip Smith?
Yes. I saw them moving the furniture out.
Isn't it swell?
Did you hear about Rip?
Mac cancelled his contract.
- Morning.
- They're moving the furniture.
He talked to me about jobs
for some of his people.
What about himself?
Let's grab him before Gallup.
- We've been discussing it.
- What's to discuss?
Henry think we'd be foolish.
- He's the hottest piece of manpower...
- Yes, he's brilliant.
But too much of a dreamer to suit me.
To hear him talk, we're all idiots.
Our method of polling public opinion
is ridiculous.
We're wasting money polling people
all over the country.
- He can do polls at a tenth of the cost.
- Maybe he can.
He's working on a new scheme -
his mathematical miracle -
how to question 50-100 people
perhaps in one town
and find out how
the whole country's thinking.
- If it could be done, he'd make a fortune.
- Lf? He's out of business.
- Because he operated on a shoestring.
- Poppycock.
What makes you think he'd come with us?
He's determined to go it alone.
We'll get him, don't worry.
In his present condition, he's a cinch.
Yes, sir.
Like I said to my wife,
asking too many questions don't pay off.
"When I got your letter, I tested public
opinion on the subject you suggested
"and here's the result - in favour, 69.1,
not in favour, 22.6, don't knows, 8.3..."
We just laid one egg, what are
you hatching now? What are they about?
- Who's that from, Mr Twiddle?
- You're awake?
Frederick Hoopendecker. A schoolteacher.
Shall I go on?
Sergeant Hoopendecker. What a man.
- Handled a bazooka like a toy pistol.
- Shall I go on?
Getting a bunch of ex-doughfeet
to canvas their home towns!
What for?
I'm still hunting for that short cut, Ike.
- Mathematical miracle.
- Shall I go on?
No. I thought I had an idea. File that
with the rest of them, Mr Twiddle.
- Everybody get paid off?
- Uh-huh.
Why don't you give up?
Stop chasing rainbows.
- Go to work for somebody.
- We could put a bowling alley in here.
A lot of good guys got kicked around.
They're not out to capture the world.
A dancing academy maybe. May I?
- Stop it. This is no time to...
- It's good for the soul.
- What do you think you're doing?
- Mr Stringer.
- Thank you.
- Thank you.
I've got a proposition, Rip. There might
be an opening in our outfit for you
if you'll accept a reasonable salary
and 10% of the profits.
- You can bring Ike and Mr... er...
- Twiddle.
- Twiddle.
- Thanks, Charlie. I'll think about it.
Think about it?
Rip, you're in no position to be fussy.
You and your mathematical miracles.
Look at the job you did for Mac.
No wonder he cancelled.
We released our figures today.
Look at it. You weren't even close.
You can't do polls without national
coverage and that takes a lot of money.
There are no short cuts.
Why are you grinning?
Charlie, I love you.
With all my heart, I love you!
But the answer's no.
Yup, it's no. See you around.
Give me that.
- Get off that desk!
- What?
Lock that door.
If I can just find this letter.
Here it is. This might be it, Ike.
My short cut. Look at Hoopendecker's
letter and Stringer's figures.
Stringer canvassed thousands of people,
Hoopendecker only a handful in one town.
Look at the results. 69.1... 69.1.
They're identical!
This might be it. One small town
that thinks exactly the way the nation does.
- You're talking about Utopia.
- Maybe. We'll find out now.
Get me the almanac... No, I'll get it.
Call up the Census Bureau
and get Hoopendecker.
No, no. I can get the national figures
from the almanac, I want Grandview.
How about the sex ratio?
Males to females?
- Prohibition?
- About 1,400. I got it.
OK. Democrats? Republicans?
I knew it! I knew
there was a town like this.
Even the population breaks down
like the country.
The same percentage of males, females,
Democrats, Republicans, everything!
Hello? Yeah, I'm still here.
We'll have to poll the same people
over and over.
It'll be good for years, but sooner or later
they'll get self-conscious.
They can't know what we're doing there.
We need a cover.
We're three insurance salesmen
from Hartford.
Insurance? Oh, my. Talking to a man
about when he's going to die.
Hello? That's what I said, Mac.
I can deliver too.
Stringer's been doing a poll for you
on progressive education for months.
Suppose I start now
and finish ahead of him?
It IS possible!
I'll come within one per cent.
I'm not going to tell you how.
No other outfit is gonna find out.
I can make a million bucks on this.
What? Yeah.
Let me understand this. If this thing goes
over, you'll renew my contract, right?
That's all I want to know. OK, Mac. Thanks.
Grandview, you good old mathematical
miracle, here we come!
Hi, Grandview.
The moment Columbus sighted land
must have been like this.
- Would you mind moving?
- Excuse me.
Bus for Moody's Mansion House
leaving right away!
- Moody's Mansion House?
- The hotel.
That's a perfect name for the hotel.
Maybe it is and maybe it ain't.
You wanna go there?
Yeah. See that fellow over there with the
bags, looks like he popped out of Dickens?
- Can you tell him to check in for us?
- Yes, sir.
Moody's Mansion House. Wonderful.
Moody's Mansion House.
How do you do?
It's wonderful to be around a town
that you know like an old family album.
Look at that fellow. I know all about him.
He's married. He has 1.7 children.
Out of his income, 11.2 is rent, 23.5 food,
17.2 for clothing...
Poor guy is a series of fractions. He
ought to stop acting like a human being.
- Glad to see you again.
- Glad to see you!
- How have you been?
- Fine. And you?
- Can't complain. You're looking well.
- Thanks. You seem fit yourself.
Not bad for an old man.
- How have you been?
- Can't complain. And you?
Fine, fine.
- Glad to have seen you again.
- Glad to have seen you.
Who was that?
- Who's that?
- I don't know.
- Sure you don't know him?
- No, I don't.
- If he knows who you are, we're sunk.
- He was just being friendly.
- Where's Professor Hoopendecker?
- I don't know. He ain't down here.
- Wise guy!
- Thanks.
- Wow!
- Did you see that?
- All the way from there.
- That was really something.
Company, atten-shun! Hit the dirt!
Rip! Rip Smith!
Good old Sergeant Hoopendecker.
Hi, dirty face.
Mon capitaine, je vous aime!
It took me years to build up dignity.
Rip Smith? So that's who he is.
Sorry I couldn't meet you.
We're having exams.
The survey I did was good, huh?
- Right on the nose for the nation.
- You don't say?
- What about this insurance thing?
- We can sell insurance if we have to.
- Is that him, Mr Hoopendecker?
- Sure. That's he.
- Jeepers. Rip Smith.
- Mr Hoopendecker said you were coming.
We read about you
in the basketball guide.
I'm coaching them. Here's my assistant.
The mascot of the team.
- Hi.
- Hi, Rip.
What's going on down there?
It's a nickel a look.
- That's the bell. Move along, boys.
- Bye, Rip.
- Bye.
- Have you seen anyone yet?
- No. I'm seeing the mayor now.
Meet me after school.
I'll introduce you to folks.
OK. So long, dirty face.
How do you do?
- The very idea!
- Imagine doing such a thing!
- Wait here, please.
- Thank you.
Where'd you go to?
Dropped in on my pal Hoopendecker.
Why, what goes on here?
His Honour the Mayor's in conference.
Ah. What a town. We put the decimal
points in the right place and we're home.
Yes. Let's pray these good people
stay average and don't change.
They haven't changed in 50 years.
Forget it.
These changes will make this town.
The park and playground will be here.
The hospital and the nursery here.
The library here and the high school here.
As mayor I'm neutral - a servant of
the people - but this plan's preposterous.
- Isn't it preposterous, Richard?
- I'm tired of it.
She's been coming before the council
for years.
It's like a filibuster.
There ought to be a law against...
Now, Lou, the girl has a right
to speak her piece.
All right.
Thanks, Mr Nickleby. And I'll exercise
that right at every council meeting
until you realise Grandview
needs a new civic centre.
- It's all right, Mr Mayor. You're excused.
- Excuse me.
What is it? You said it was important.
My name's Lawrence Smith.
This is Mr Sloan.
- We thought you could help us out...
- Just a moment.
Notes for visitors' diary.
At 9.46, a gentleman by the name
of Lawrence Smith came in.
"Visitors are welcome," I said.
"What can I do for you?"
What can I do for you?
Speak up, young man, speak up.
We want to open an insurance office.
We thought you could recommend
a real estate agent.
Mr Smith requested that I recommend
a real estate agent.
"You place me in a difficult position,"
I said. "A mayor cannot show partiality."
Just a minute. I'll get Lou Dickens
out here. Best real estate man in town.
Rest of them aren't worth a hoot.
What about the upkeep?
That means more watchacallit... taxes.
Excuse me.
Why not approve the plan
and let the voters decide?
Mr Nickleby's being very unselfish about this.
As the leading contractor, he'd benefit.
- We can't afford anything so ambitious.
- Improvements will attract new people,
new wealth, so we could afford it.
Glad to be of watchacallit... service.
Like a fella says... thank you.
Change this, change that.
How big a town do you want?
Of course I want changes. It's about time
we made it a decent place to live in.
There goes your mathematical miracle.
- This is a very fine community!
- It's a beautiful community!
I beg your pardon. I didn't mean to butt in.
That's all right. Come in.
What do you think of Grandview?
Think of it?! I've been searching
for a town like this for years.
You like it? Speak up, young man.
When I got off that train,
I said to myself, "This is it."
I've just walked through your town
with its shade trees and lovely parks.
I stood before your impressive buildings
and thought, "Here's a challenge
to the evils of the modern era."
I watched your people on the street
and felt their vitality and sense of security.
- All in less than one hour.
- Hmm?
Your children are happy. Happy.
You can see it in their dear faces
and hear it in their wholesome talk.
Oh, there's beauty here.
It's almost indescribable.
You're used to it. You take it for granted.
To me, it's a hope and a dream
of a lifetime.
I too want to become a part of it.
Please don't change it.
I'm very sorry. I didn't mean to intrude.
He's right. Absolutely right.
That makes me proud.
- That's the kind of man this town needs.
- I move to forget this nonsense.
- All those in favour?
- Aye!
- Meeting adjourned.
- A stranger made us see sense.
Let's hear no more about this civic centre.
You fascinate me.
We nearly fell for that scheme of Mary's.
Ed Schwarz, I want you to meet
Laurence Smith.
- How do you do?
- Mel Hanley.
How do you do?
Hey, fellas. I want you to meet my friend
Laurence Smith. Insurance.
- Welcome to Grandview.
- Any friend of Hoopendecker's welcome.
Thank you.
Everything takes place here -
political rallies, concerts, dances.
Hey, there it is.
Great American institution -
the pot-bellied stove.
That one's been there for over 100 years.
Folks wouldn't throw it away.
Sit round it and find out
what Grandview's thinking.
- And what the country's thinking.
- Yeah.
If you want to find our Senator...
Yup. I'm right. Senator Wilton,
meet my friend Laurence Smith.
- Glad to see you.
- Glad to see you.
Oh, yes!
This is Senator Wilton.
United States Senator Wilton.
No wonder your face was familiar!
The Senator was brought up in Grandview.
Comes back to visit.
Pressure in Washington gets strong,
easy to lose your perspective.
- Issues become very simple in this room.
- I imagine so.
There's something in the paper about you.
Here, Senator.
They don't seem to like you.
- Here, under Town Tidbits.
- Here?
"The incident at the council meeting
indicates a complete lack of grace."
"On his first day here, Mr Smith managed
to poke his unwelcome proboscis
"into local affairs." That's pretty cute.
"If you're here to sell insurance, Mr Smith,
"you'd do well to start building goodwill
and confidence."
Where's the slaughterhouse
that does this?
- Down the street. I'll go with you.
- I'll handle it. Excuse me.
- Take it easy. They're a tough crew.
- I can be tough myself.
I want to see the editor
of this imitation newspaper!
Please say that again.
- I want to know...
- No. The same words in the same way.
You can bang the counter if you wish.
I want to see the editor
of this imitation newspaper!
Thank you.
What's this all about?
Your voice. It's the spitting image of his.
- Never heard the likes of it.
- Never did.
- Spitting image of who?
- He said the same thing.
- And bang on the counter too.
- Every morning.
- That was his little joke.
- Whose joke?
- Who's he?
- Lou Peterman.
- Her husband.
- The editor.
That's the fella I want. Where's he?
Lou got a little tired about ten years ago,
almost 11.
- Just about.
- The year I got my new uppers.
Went out on the porch to take a nap...
- He was more tired than he thought.
- It was a wonderful funeral.
- Everybody in town came.
- And from out of town.
- Lem Simpson was a pallbearer.
- Stayed sober all day.
Just out of respect.
Your voice is the spitting image.
Well, young man, what is it?
You came in to make a complaint.
This story about me. Have you seen it?
- Yes.
- What's the idea?
- Are the facts incorrect?
- No.
- Is your name spelt wrong?
- No.
- Then what's your complaint?
- It's snide.
Taking advantage of an innocent stranger.
What kind of hospitality is that?
Those nasty little digs.
No decent newspaper...
If you want to attack our policy,
write us a letter and we'll print it.
In the meantime, you can complain
to the acting editor who wrote the story.
OK. I'll talk to the acting acting editor.
I've got it! A three-position signal.
Ouch and McOuch.
Jiggle it. Try jiggling it.
Sometimes they start
when you jiggle them.
- Nice?
- Very nice.
- Lovely.
- Beautiful.
Pass me Panther.
You wished to see me?
Yes. I wanted to thank you
for that nice story you wrote.
- I thought you came in to complain.
- Me? Not at all.
There's one thing worse
than being talked about...
(BOTH) And that's not being talked about.
- Then you won't mind my second story.
- Not at all.
Not at all...
No use looking. This isn't it.
As a matter of fact, I was just admiring
how your hair sweeps up from your neck.
My, my, a real sharpie.
Now, look. Look at this story
you wrote about me.
Look, it says here...
Quote - "If you're really here
to sell insurance, Mr Smith,
"you'd do well..." And so on. Why that?
That creates suspicion.
Grandview is already overcrowded
with insurance agents.
A clever man like you would stay away.
A clever man like me doesn't mind
competition. He has ideas.
He sees insurance as long range.
He doesn't care if he never sells
a policy... for six months or a year.
Would you like to write a little retraction?
Say you were a bit hasty and Smith's
a charming fellow. Would you do that?
No, I guess you wouldn't.
I'm going to get a soda. You take Panther.
Sis, I got a scoop. Who do you think's in town?
I met him too. Rip Smith.
He was over at school...
- Hi, Bob.
- Hello, Mr Smith.
We were just going to the hotel to see you.
Mr Hoopendecker said it was all right. He
says you're the greatest guy in the world.
- I think he exaggerates.
- He said you'd do it.
- Do what?
- Coach the basketball team.
- Would you, Mr Smith?
- I'll leave you two.
- Would you?
- Sure. I want to talk to your sister first.
Make that two, will you?
- I ordered a headache powder.
- Just what I need.
Don't go. I expect to be around here for
quite a spell. You have to get used to me.
Perhaps you're right. I've got used to
the other weird goblins in this town.
Goblin, huh? How does that go?
"You better mind your parents
and your teachers fond and dear
"And cherish them that loves you
and dry the orphan's tear
"Help the poor and needy ones
clustered all about
"Or the goblins will get you
if you don't watch out."
That's "The Goblins Will Get You
If You Don't Watch Out."
That's "Little Orphan Annie."
By golly, that's right.
Oh, headache powder. Chocolate flavour.
- Tell me about this civic centre of yours.
- Why?
I'm just interested.
After the way you shot your big mouth off?
Not knowing anything about it either.
I hope it didn't do any harm.
- Only set progress back a few years.
- It did?
I'm sorry. Maybe I can make up for it.
Help in some way.
Tell me about it.
- Why did you do it?
- What?
Butt into the meeting.
I was just busting with good spirits.
The town looked perfect
so why would you change it?
Sure there wasn't some other reason?
If there was, it escapes me at the moment.
Some of the fellas have got to go home
and we thought maybe for a starter
you could explain the back pass dilemma.
- It says Rip Smith used it to perfection.
- It does?
- The what dilemma?
- Quiet, please. This is technical talk.
Sure. I can show you. It's very simple.
Anybody got a pencil?
Get up around here.
We're on the attacking team.
I have the ball.
Here I am. Here's my guard. Here you are.
There's your guard.
I pass to you and move in your direction.
My guard crosses to cover me.
Then I fall in behind you like that. That
brings the two guards close together.
You back pass to me and cut like that.
Your guard crosses, bumps into his
own man and you've got an easy layout.
There's nothing to it.
Give me the ball. I'll demonstrate.
That's the best part.
You be his guard, you be my guard.
Follow me, men. All out here.
We'll use that tree for a basket.
We'll line up a defence right here.
You be his guard
and you be his guard, right?
Remember what I told you.
Pass, follow the pass,
back pass, loop pass, boomeroom.
You check on this.
- Over here, Shorty.
- Pass it!
Come on, Bob. Let me have it.
That wasn't bad. All but the boomeroom.
Let's try some baskets.
Someone's gonna have to climb a tree.
Shorty, come here.
Can you reach it?
It's easy, Ike.
You start gabbing about insurance
and then very gradually,
you sneak up on your subjects.
Talk about his life expectancy, but find out
what he thinks of progressive education.
Right. Here we go.
What did I tell you? Isn't this beautiful?
You can see the whole town from here.
If I get to New York,
I'll show you the sights.
I brought the kids up here.
Good for their legs.
I don't expect to make the basketball team.
Don't be such an old whiney worm.
- A what?
- Whiney worm. Always whining.
Just relax. When you come face to face
with sheer beauty, just...
...let go.
- Whose idea was it? Yours?
- What?
The plan. The civic centre.
That was a legacy from my father.
He worked on it for years.
Never could put it over.
- But you will.
- You bet.
You set me back a bit, but I'll put it over.
It's the only thing my father left
when he died.
"It's my one possession," he said.
"A worthwhile job to do. It's yours.
"Consider yourself rich."
I thought he left you the newspaper.
No. We just work there.
Ben Moody owns it.
Oh. Moody's Mansion House.
You call yourself acting editor.
Who's the editor? Mr Moody?
No. Papa. There can only be
one editor for that paper.
He still runs it, sort of.
- I like that.
- You sound like him.
Sometimes you even look like him.
But you're not like him at all.
Papa wasn't so desperate. What
are you desperate for? Money? Power?
You been reading the bumps on my head?
The air becomes charged with electricity
around desperate men.
I always feel it when I'm near Nickleby.
I feel it now. Strong.
- Having fun?
- Mm. Do you mind?
What is that? Let me see it.
MT14 rheostat.
Controls the speed of that train
in the window.
Was your childhood terribly ugly?
That model train is a very professional job.
- Girl mechanic.
- Was it?
It was cloistered - Swiss governess,
Lord Fauntleroy suits, that type of thing.
There's one thing that doesn't add up.
Electric currents
and selling insurance in Grandview.
- Maybe you need a new crystal ball.
- My old one's all right.
Want to know what I see in it?
Before you're through,
you'll run for mayor of this town.
The awful part is
I'll probably vote for you.
He and his brother were river rats.
People would throw coins
and they'd dive for them.
It meant food for the family.
He wants security, sure, in his fist.
Yes, of course.
- Hey, sis, gonna watch us practise?
- No, darling. I have a meeting.
So long.
- What else, Hoop?
- That's all I know.
I've gotta go. I've got papers to mark.
Night, Mary. Thanks for dinner.
- Ladies' meeting over yet?
- Just about.
Yup. Just about.
- Goodnight, Mary. Wonderful meeting.
- Goodnight.
The basketball dance will be held a week
Saturday at the Town Meeting Hall.
That's plush.
That's the night of the Waverley game.
- We'll pin their ears back.
- Goodnight.
- Hi.
- Hi.
- How did it go tonight?
- Good.
Good, good, good.
Did you go to school here?
- Mmm.
- These are graduation pictures?
I'll be darned. Look at that.
Wonderful. Are you here?
- Yeah.
- Wait a minute. Don't show me.
There. I knew you right off.
Go on. I showed you.
No, you didn't. It's simple.
You got the same...
Same this.
Same firecracker eyes.
You were pretty then too.
- Think so?
- Yeah.
Very pretty.
Well, that's Helen Kleinspiegel.
This is me over here.
Wise guy, huh?
That's amazing. That grew up to be you?
What an age we're living in.
There's a smell about a classroom
that always gets me.
You went to school here, huh?
What do you know?
- In this very classroom?
- Uh-huh.
I'll be darned.
- Where did you sit?
- Over there.
In the front row?
You had to stay awake all the time.
I always had trouble
with these legs of mine.
Always stuck out in the aisle like this.
People kept tripping over them.
One day, the teacher was walking
down the aisle and went kerplunk.
- Oh-oh.
- She accused me of doing it deliberately.
- You didn't, of course?
- I might have helped a little.
- And you sat there?
- This seat had an awful squeak...
Yup. This is where I sat.
- Did you have pigtails?
- Mmm.
Anybody special to pull them?
Bertie. Senator Wilton's son.
He was a terror.
They moved to Washington
and I was heartbroken.
You were?
- For how long?
- Ages.
Almost a week.
Oh, look. "Hiawatha."
"By the shores of Gitche Gumee, by the..."
- Always thought it was Gitche Gooey.
- It is gooey.
I was always exclusively
a "Charge Of The Light Brigade" fella.
- I love Hiawatha.
- Charge of the Light Brigade.
- Half a league, half a league...
- By the shores of Gitche Gumee...
"Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!" he said!
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
"Forward the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Some one had blunder'd.
Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's was to do and die!
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them...
- Volley'd and thunder'd...
- "Ewa-yeah! My little owlet!"
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell!
"Ewa-yeah! My little owlet."
Rode the six hundred!
Flash'd all their sabres bare,
Flash'd as they turn'd in air...
Many things Nokomis taught him
Of the stars that shine in heaven,
Showed him Ishkoodah the comet,
Ishkoodah with fiery tresses...
Right thro' the line they broke,
Cossacks and Russian
Reeling from the sabre stroke,
Shatter'd and sunder'd...
In the frost nights of Winter,
Showed the broad white road in heaven,
Crowded with the ghosts, the shadows,
At the door sat the little Hiawatha...
"Forward the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
some one had blunder'd.
Their's not to make reply,
But, soft, what light
through yonder window breaks?
It is the east and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon
who is already pale and sick with grief...
Open up, Twiddle. It's me.
Not in yet, huh?
- Did you get them?
- Yeah.
Three "Yes" and one "Don't know".
Good. That completes the list.
He needs to make that plane. He told
Mac he'd have the results tomorrow.
They're playing Preston tonight.
A very important game.
It's me.
Hi, boys. Sorry I'm late.
- How does it look?
- It's all blocked out.
- Just give me the basic figures.
- It'll take one second. Who won?
Who won?! Don't be comical. 46 to 12.
We slaughtered them.
- That's peachy!
- It'll be peachy if you get it finished.
- Come on, Mr Twiddle. Stop stalling.
- Stalling? I said one second.
I hope these figures
are close to Stringer's.
- All you have to do...
- I know!
Put the decimal points
in their proper places.
- There. I've done it.
- Give me that. There she is, boys.
This was done in two weeks.
We can do them in 24 hours if necessary.
Wait till Mac sees this. Here you are, Ike.
If you hurry, you'll catch that plane.
If Mac starts asking you questions,
just turn your baby blues on.
I'd like to see his face.
You can accomplish that with alacrity.
Why don't you go and see him yourself?
- I can't. We play Waverley tomorrow.
- Oh?
- There's a dance after.
- Oh.
My handling this team
has worked beautifully.
It'll look awful funny if I just disappear.
Here you are.
That was a beautiful job, Mr Twiddle.
How would you like to kick this deal over?
- Kick it over?
- It'll be all right with me and Mr Twiddle.
- What?
- Yes.
- Don't keep going on our account...
- Save it!
Kick it over? What's the matter with you?
What are you talking about?
I've been working all my life for this.
Kick it over? What for?
What kind of a lame brain
do you think I am?
- OK. OK. I guess I was way off the beam.
- I guess you were!
Well... I gotta go now.
Ike, tell Mac that we can take
three or four jobs at one time.
Maybe more than that.
Call me as soon as you've finished.
Ike? You call me.
Did you ever do the Samba, Mr Quincy?
- No. I can't say I did.
- I just had a two-hour demonstration.
- Know what a back pass dilemma is?
- No.
I'm going to get a demonstration of that.
Back pass dilemma.
This I gotta see.
OK. I'm gonna pass to you.
Throw the ball! Don't make love to it.
That's no way to throw a ball.
It's more of a snap forward like that.
No, no. Suppose there's a wolf
on the make. What do you do?
You mean like this?
Yeah. Like that.
Let's try something else, shall we?
We'll try the lay up shot.
No rough stuff now.
The principle of this shot is to stretch
yourself out as far as you can
and lay the ball in the basket.
So stretch up and lay the ball in there.
OK. You try.
Get over there. Remember,
you've got to stretch yourself way up.
Just lay the ball up there. I'll help you.
Look. It got stuck up there.
Back pass dilemma, eh?
Ever asked yourself why they call me Rip?
Is it something to do with Rip Van Winkle?
I fall asleep at the drop of an eyelid.
I think I'll drop an eyelid on that lovely
shoulder of yours and never leave.
- Ooh!
- Oh, I'm sorry.
I'm so sorry.
You live and learn.
- Sorry to cut in. You promised.
- Certainly. This is your night.
- Mind, Rip?
- No, no.
Watch it.
She's carrying concealed weapons.
Good work, son. You licked those kids
into a fighting machine.
It's the first time we beat Waverley
in ten years.
Hi, Sergeant.
- Are you tussling with your conscience?
- Don't worry about my conscience.
Hey, Bob. Remember,
stay far away from her.
Difficult to drop that girl in a bracket.
She won't stay there.
(CHOIR) # I keep a book within my heart
Our school song.
# Where all my fondest memories art
# The temple bells on Christmas Eve
# The wishes on a falling star
# The lonely sound across the night
# The trains that always hurry through
# The patterns on the frosted pane
# The magic lands they took me to
# These are not only idle dreams
# That time will some day dim for me
# They're pages that I've put away
# Here into my book of memory
# The fun around the swimming hole
# The gang around the campus green
# The laughter of an April Fool
# The ghost that walks on Halloween
# The little hand I held in mine
# While walking through a secret lane
# The rainbow on a neighbour's lawn
# That sparkles after summer rain
# These are not only idle dreams
# That time will some day dim for me
# They're pages that I've put away
# Here into my book of memory #
Attention, please! Thank you.
Folks, Mrs Peterman
wishes to say a few words.
The "Dispatch", you know,
rarely retracts a story.
Obviously because the "Dispatch"
rarely makes mistakes.
Tomorrow, however, you will read the
retraction of an item that appeared recently
about Mr Lawrence Smith.
The "Dispatch" wishes to erase any doubt
it created as to Mr Smith's integrity.
Mary and I have seen a lot of Rip.
It's only been a short time,
yet already he seems an old friend,
and that's a good sign.
He's taken an interest in our civic affairs
and his devotion to the basketball team...
Everybody must admit
he performed a miracle!
it took hard work at all hours
and I'm sure he neglected
his own business to do it.
We're very lucky
to acquire such a fine citizen,
and I thought this was the occasion to
apologise and to tell him how we feel.
Rip, we're all very happy and grateful
that in your search
for a permanent anchorage,
you chose to throw in your lot with us
and to grow with Grandview.
- Speech! Speech!
I... er...
I wish Mrs Peterman hadn't said
all those nice things about me.
I doubt whether I can live up to them.
I prefer that you reserve judgment
until you... Well...
...until you got to know me better.
Much better. Thank you.
How can people go around
making speeches?
I remember once in Italy, a bunch of us
got to talking about home and Ma.
The pipsqueak started, then the other
fellas. They were all from small towns.
You were the only city slicker there.
You let your guard down that night, Rip.
You envy those guys. You said that.
You never knew what it was to have
neighbours, to have a sense of belonging.
What Ma said goes for all of them.
Just give me one year.
Just one year.
You've made a lot of friends here.
That's security, Rip. The surest kind.
No. No! Look up there.
That light's in my office.
It's there for the calls coming in.
It may be a rat race, but I'm out in front!
He hasn't come back yet?
- I can't imagine that anything I said...
- Ma.
When Papa acted like a goon,
you didn't let him hide in the corner
and lick his wounds, did you?
Of course I didn't.
I promised Ben Moody I'd dance with him.
I hope he's in the groove. I'm not.
- It's the perfect job.
- What did I tell you? How close was it?
- What?
- How close was it to Stringer?
- Right on the nose.
- No kidding?
What did old Mac say?
Said he was flabbergasted.
This is it, Ike.
Henrichs? Yeah.
Tell him we'll take that Henrichs deal.
And Keeley sounds pretty good.
- We're home, Ike.
- If that Peterman girl doesn't grab it.
- She won't grab anything.
- She's hooked on changing the town.
- If she ever puts that civic centre over.
- I'll handle the Peterman girl.
- Guess you will. You're an artist, my boy.
- Cut it outl
Nothing interferes with the job.
I told you that. See you in a few days.
Yes, sir.
I came here to do a job.
Anything else is just a blind alley.
Trouble with a newspaper background
is it develops an instinct for snooping.
You must have found Ma's speech
very funny.
We had to work secretly.
Nobody's been hurt by it, have they?
- That's right. Nobody.
- What are you going to do?
You couldn't stand any changes.
Could you?
By all means hold back progress. Mr Smith
has to make an extra dollar for himself.
I certainly think that's stooping very low.
I want to make a deal with you.
You kill that story and I'll never
show my face around here again.
This isn't for myself, Mary,
it's for the people here.
I wouldn't like to see them get confused.
What I was doing couldn't do them
any harm, but if they read that...
I don't know. They're human.
You can't tell people they're special.
That's deadly.
If you love them, Mary, don't do it.
Stop pounding that machine
and listen to me.
I suppose you think I've got an angle.
I don't know how to convince you, Mary.
You'll just have to take my word.
Set this story up, Mr Dingle.
This looks hot. Send Harry down.
- Cover this.
- Right.
So that's it. What a guy!
- We want sound.
- Find out what the typical American wears.
Daily sidewalk interviews.
It's the barometer of national opinion.
This story was given to the world by Mary
Peterman of the Grandview Dispatch.
In a week's time, I wouldn't give the wart
off my nose for anybody's opinion here.
You're typical Americans. Act like it.
Afraid we've opened the cave of dynamite.
I hadn't counted on arousing
the whole world.
Hey, sis, some bigshot reporters
to see you.
- Sorry to barge in on you.
- It's all right.
- We'd like some information.
- How did you find out about the survey?
Mr Smith completed his poll...
He just handed me the story.
Do you know his plans? We can't see him.
- He won't see anyone.
- He's leaving this afternoon.
It's a lie! I don't believe it.
Rip wouldn't walk out on us now.
Not with the Freehole game coming up.
Had 50 calls from families
wanting to move to Grandview.
Mary, we're ready!
- Bob said you wouldn't.
- Not before the Freehole game.
- Nothing more important than that.
- You bet.
Lived here all my life. Never knew we were
so terrific. It's a veritable landslide.
There's Rip, our great discoverer.
Insurance business, huh?
That sure was slick.
Rip's coaching us for the game.
Watch this town grow. We can
take advantage of the opportunity.
You will. It's in the air.
All those electric currents. Come on, Bob.
Electric currents?
What's he talking about? It's a clear day.
- We're known coast to coast.
- People coming in on every train.
By car too and by bus.
Even on watchacallit... on foot.
Who wouldn't want to live
in the perfect town?
I'll have to build another hotel.
Shouldn't we plan?
Things are moving so fast.
Certainly. We want you to handle publicity.
The slogan is "Grow with Grandview."
I have some ideas.
A company wants to build a plant. They
want "Made in a typical American city."
They'll all be looking for building sites.
Where do we find them?
Just watch real estate values go up.
Say, I've got a lunch date. I almost forgot.
- Can you just drop me at the hotel?
- See you later.
I gotta get back to the office.
- Call from Chicago, Mr Mayor.
- Another one?
Leaving in five minutes! See the people!
Get an opinion on any subject!
Typical Tour of the Typical Town!
- Railroad frontage is the stuff to buy.
- 20,000? I offered him 30.
A boom has certainly hit this town
with a boom.
The shoeshine man is making money
hand over fist. That rag's red-hot.
He can also supply a place to live.
Here's something.
Grandview sells its opinions.
They're putting up polling booths.
Maybe I'm crazy.
These are spread around the city.
You'll each occupy one.
A reference library goes with every booth.
We want to make sure folks are thinking right.
- Take plenty of blank forms along...
- Wait a minute.
What's this all about?
Who's the idiot who dreamed this up?
I am... I mean, what's the matter with it?
- It was approved by the board.
- You're conducting your own polls?
Our opinions are our chief export.
We're through giving them away.
- We're selling them.
- I've seen everything.
Everybody will be instructed
not to give opinions to outsiders,
only to our own official poll takers.
Excuse me.
All right. Go to it. May the best man
and woman bring back the best answers.
Bring the microphone over here.
I'll do a few sidewalk interviews.
This couple look as if they've just arrived.
- Why did you come here?
- On account of my wife.
Her sister... Her sister in New York has
always kidded her about being a hick.
Now we can say we live in Grandview.
That'll shut her big mouth.
Yes. I'm sure it will, sir.
Here's a gentleman.
Would you like to say a few?
Yeah, I'll say something.
Give me that microphone. I'll...
The gentleman's too shy.
Here's an attractive lady...
I can talk on the radio.
Come on, Rip. I told Stringer I'd phone
as soon as I have a talk with you.
He said his proposition's still open.
It ain't a bad seat. Ringside!
No use hanging around.
You can't do this town any good. Not now.
Ringside seats for a three-ringed circus.
- Bring on your baboon!
- Take it easy.
Yeah, yeah. Gotta be quiet.
Ike, I helped put on this show here.
You did too!
You helped put on this show. Old Ike.
Mr Ike Sloan, the great insapario...
impresario. Come on, take a bow.
Come on. Take a bow.
Ladies and gentlemen, introducing
Mr Impresario, the famous Ike!
- Take a bow.
- All right. Sit down.
Sit down. Sshh. Why? Sshh!
Give me business property every time.
This is terrific. Made 15,000 this week.
We'll get those new printing presses yet.
- It's all paper profit, Ben. Be careful.
- Don't worry. I wasn't born yesterday.
Let's get some black coffee
and phone Stringer.
Good idea.
Should a man bring his pay envelope
home to his wife or?
- Who do you represent?
- Nobody. I'm just naturally nosy.
Isn't all this just too, too divine?
- That's me, just naturally nosy.
- Sure, I know. Come on.
How do you like your town now?
How do you like your fancy beautiful
circus of a town now, huh?
(MARY) # I keep a book within my heart
# Where all my fondest memories are... #
Mr Twiddle took the earlier train.
All aboard!
But we were not satisfied. We've added
one half million dollars to the project.
Yes, sir! One half million dollars.
Pretty good for little old Grandview.
I still think we're bats. The size of this
thing! At least Mary's plan made sense.
- We're moving with the tide, Jim.
- This is no time for penny-pinching.
The high school, for instance.
Her plan called for 40 classrooms.
Not enough, we say.
150! 150 is what we'll have!
The bond issue hasn't been underwritten.
What if something goes wrong?
My friend, you're one of our new citizens,
aren't you?
You don't know us.
In 1890, our grandparents built
our city hall with their own hands!
Yes, sir! If it comes to it,
we can do the same thing.
That's the kind of people we are!
Look, Mary. Isn't it wonderful?
- Kill it. Set up a front page with news.
- But, Mary...
I said that none of the madness
should be printed.
I know, darling, but the centre
is something you wanted, Papa wanted.
Yes, I know.
Last day. Cast your opinion today.
Would you vote for a woman
for President of the United States?
Cast your opinion right away.
It's cockeyed.
Where are the "Don't knows"?
Ask people if they beat their grandmothers
and you'll get some "Don't knows".
Please, Mr Stringer...
He'd rather be alone. He's thinking.
You mean sleeping! How long is this
going on? He slept through the conference.
He woke up and said, "I hope they
remember the back pass dilemma"!
- Makes a lot of noise, doesn't he?
- I've been waiting to see you.
The first Grandview poll is out.
Gallup released their results -
almost opposite.
They'll be laughed out of existence.
The radio and newspapers
have been at it all day.
- What are they saying?
- They're getting their teeth kicked in.
What that boy needs is a good dose
of sulphur and molasses.
- Grandview sulphur and molasses!
- Yes.
So this little town that's always been right
turned out to be ridiculously wrong.
They were so out of tune with the country,
people are beginning to wonder
where Grandview is.
It can't be in the United States.
There should be a moral in this.
No one can assume they know it all.
What this little town of Grandview lost
was humility,
and when you've lost that, my friends,
you've lost everything.
Poor Grandview - they're becoming
a subject of ridicule.
Bet you had to study hard
to become a moron.
No. I lived in Grandview!
This is my last broadcast
from this ghost town, and ghost town it is.
The people are ashamed
of their ludicrous behaviour.
No community action is being taken.
Here comes a gentleman.
- Pardon me. May I have your opinion?
- I have no opinion.
- It's kind of deserted, isn't it?
- They don't come here anymore.
Won't even talk to each other anymore.
That's no good.
People ought to talk to each other.
- How's Ma?
- Oh, Ma's the same.
Senator Wilton dropped in on me
the other day from Washington.
He walked out
on the Foreign Affairs Committee.
He seemed restless, kinda lost.
- He used to come here.
- Yeah.
Mary, I had to come back. I had to.
I couldn't work, I couldn't think.
I couldn't...
I love you, Mary.
The nights I lay awake...
hearing you say that.
The hinge on that door's
been broken for years.
Nobody seems to want to fix it.
I love you, Mary.
There was a story...
We ran a news story
the other day - usual one...
a married woman
who fell in love with another man.
Her husband stood in their way,
so they killed him.
They thought they were free.
But their crime created a war between them...
till they destroyed each other.
We murdered a town, Rip - you and I.
Killed an idea my father
devoted a lifetime to.
- Miss Mary! I've looked every place.
Your mama say, go get her.
It's that Mr Birch.
Your mama just heard he got the freehold
to run things here.
I guess that means Grandview is finished.
It's a shame and nobody cares.
Your mama say come right away.
- All right, Helga.
- Glad to see you, Mr Smith.
Goodbye, Rip.
Been all over town talking to everyone,
trying to get 'em together.
Old man Hawkins
slammed the door in his face.
- Morning, Rip.
- Morning.
- How's it going?
- Fine.
Well, snow or rain, boom or bust,
the mail's got to be delivered.
They need a leader, Mr Nickleby.
They've always followed you.
They need something to arouse
the admiration of the country,
to give them that bounce again,
bolster up their confidence.
Why don't you get them
to start building the high school again?
- With what? This town's broke.
- With taxes.
Pay taxes at such a fantastic rate,
it'll be the talk of the country.
Sacrifice everything
for the sake of the community.
- You're crazy.
- It needs something crazy to wake 'em up.
Senator Wilton's in town.
He's willing to do anything to help.
If he and I get a group to do
the initial financing, will you take charge?
Try it and I'll stop it.
Excuse me.
I have my own problems to work out.
I realise your own problems are very
serious, but what about this town?
This was a great team and you were
an important member. You're walking out.
The team's through. Anybody with
any brains would know that. Excuse me.
- But, Mr...
- Do you mind?
No, I don't mind.
Attend to your personal affairs.
So long, Hank.
So long.
Mr Birch, please.
Ben is signing a contract this afternoon.
Mary and I are out of a job.
Have a muffin before you drown
in your own tears. Go on.
- It's my own recipe.
- I know. I think I'll take toast.
- It's Mr Smith, ma'am.
- Come in, Rip.
- Sorry I'm late.
- We didn't wait for you.
- Hello, Ma.
- Hello, Rip. It's good to see you.
- Good to see you.
- We missed you terribly.
Stop that fiddle faddle
and let the boy have his lunch.
Stop that fiddle faddle.
What happened, Rip? Any luck?
Ever find yourself swinging at windmills?
That sums up the senator's career.
Take a muffin. I made them.
- I've heard about your muffins.
- Take one anyway.
Thank you.
Did you talk about the high school?
Yeah. Thought I was crazy.
The high school. I remember
those big statements at the dedication.
"We'll build it with our own hands."
Hah! Inflated with their puny success.
I believed them. Had it on the front page.
- You would.
- Mary killed the story.
Excuse me. It's Mr Nickleby's boy.
He wants to see Mr Smith.
- Let him in, Sarah.
- Excuse me, Mrs Wilton.
- Hello, Hank.
- Is it private, boy?
Private? No, I guess not.
Rip, when you were talking to my father,
he wasn't playing square with you.
He's selling the civic centre.
- He's selling it?
- Yes, ma'am.
The council gave him a mortgage.
After you left, he called Mr Birch,
told him to work fast
if he wanted the property.
- Why are you telling me this?
- I figured you could...
I don't know what I figured.
I guess I shouldn't be doing this.
I guess it's all wrong.
I love my father. He's a swell guy, but...
It's not the high school that matters...
A guy shouldn't be walking out on the team.
I don't like to see Pop do it.
I begged him not to.
This certainly turned out to be a dopey town.
(SENATOR) Took a lot
to make that boy do that.
This town better start undoping itself quickly.
(SENATOR) What are we going to do, Rip?
Say, Ma...
That front page with the story about
the high school - the one Mary killed.
- Is there a copy of that around?
- I think so.
- What time do you go to press today?
- About 1.30.
- 1.30. Senator, can I use your telephone?
- There's one right there.
- What are you going to do?
- Get Nickleby back on that team.
Nickleby and everybody else.
We're going to print this story today.
Quote all that big talk and fancy statements.
- Quote them as if they were just made?
- As if they were just made.
But that happened weeks ago, Rip.
Mislaid the story. Let 'em sue us.
That's ramming it down their gullets.
- Miss Peterman, please.
- What will this accomplish?
It'll wake these people up.
It might even get them talking
to each other - arguing, choosing sides.
- This sounds wonderful, Rip!
- That's part of it.
- There's more?
- You bet.
We need national publicity. We'll give it
to the wire services, the radio.
Then they'll have to do something.
- They'll string us to the nearest pole.
- OK. So they string us to the nearest pole.
At least they'll be doing it together.
Mary? Has the paper gone to press yet?
Good. Ma and I will be right over.
Will you wait? I want to try something that...
Mary, this town isn't dead yet.
We have a good chance of saving it.
That's if you're crazy enough
to go along with...
That's swell.
That's all I want to know.
Thank you, Mary. We'll be right over.
- Come on, gorgeous. Thanks for lunch.
- Pray for us, Doris!
Heavens! I'm so excited,
I nearly ate one of my own muffins.
It's your kind of story. This normal town
becomes a laughing stock. Humiliated.
They should fold up, but not these people.
Instead, they hitch up their britches
and start swinging.
Look at this, boss.
You just sold me that property.
Here comes another bunch.
It's working. We'll have the whole town
around that stove.
OK. Do your stuff.
- Where's Mrs Peterman?
- Where's Mary?
- They're not in.
- Playing chequers.
- At the meeting hall.
- Are they crazy?
They can't get away with this.
OK, boys.
- This town can't afford it!
- We demand the story be retracted!
- It's a pack of lies.
- We'll sue for libel.
- Anybody not been properly quoted?
- It was under different circumstances!
What insolence! Somebody get Nickleby.
Yes. Nickleby will know what to do.
These people are cuckoo.
I can't find Rip anywhere.
Here comes Mr Nickleby now.
I thought you were a sensible girl, Mary.
Is this your idea of a joke?
If you're interested in practical jokes,
read some of your own statements.
Very funny. All of us have a case
against you and against that fella Smith.
He's behind this.
These magnificent people have a project
to be envied by every community planner.
- Shut that off!
- Just a moment. I want to hear it.
They're going ahead with a civic centre
even though it may mean sacrifice
by every person in the community.
Before I sign off, I want to say,
more power to you, Grandview.
In your circumstances,
it takes a heap of courage
to tackle a programme of such magnitude.
It certainly does.
Some of you may go crazy, but not me.
No radio commentator
is going to talk me into bankruptcy.
You should all go home and forget this.
We'll deal with these people in court.
It's Rip!
- What's this all about, son?
- We were promised a new high school...
and we want it.
Hank, come home this minute.
- Do you hear me?
- Yes, sir.
We talked it over. We decided if you
quit the team, we're gonna quit too.
We don't want a town we're ashamed of.
They're saying swell things about us now.
If you don't do it, we'll be laughed at.
We don't want a town
that's always being razzed.
Are we going to let
a bunch of brats tell us what to do?
We're not trying to, Pop.
We just want you to stick by the team.
You and everybody else.
Rip says you're all wonderful people,
but you just lost your nerve.
Listen, folks! Why not? Why can't we do it?
Your grandfathers didn't quit if they were
in a jam. They started to fight.
What they did is part of our history.
What's wrong with us?
It takes money! Where's it coming from?
Let me read a statement of yours, Mr Mayor.
"If necessary, we'll build it
with our own two hands." What about that?
Are you suggesting that we do that?
Build it ourselves?
Contribute our services?
- If everybody helped, Ed...
- This is idiotic!
It's been sold. The council approved it.
- Approved it?
- First I heard of it.
(WHISPERS) Hey. Hey, Mike.
Mom, you're on the council.
Rip says you had no right to approve it.
- I don't know, darling. I...
- It's got to be put to the voters.
Of course it's got to be put to the voters.
- That's city property.
- What about that?
We were going to do that. We intended
to go through with the formality.
We assumed you wouldn't care.
- Wouldn't care?
Ed, this is terrible.
Rip Smith is right. We just lost our nerve.
Listen, everybody. I don't know about you,
but I don't like the sound of this.
It's tough to admit you've been a fool,
but look at us.
Mr Nickleby assumed we wouldn't care.
Wouldn't care if we didn't get to vote.
When I get to that point, I'm going to find
a nice comfortable hole and crawl in.
I'm not ready for that yet,
in spite of Mr Nickleby.
Maybe whether a town lives or dies isn't
important to some people, but it is to me.
I feel as if my own family's breaking up.
I don't like it, and if building a high
school can save it, I'm for it at any price.
I'll organise every man in town
that can handle a tool
and guarantee first-class plumbing.
- Good for you, Pop!
- I'm with you. I'll get the carpenters.
- I'll do the lighting.
- You can count on my boys.
- I'll line up the painters.
- I'll close my office to supervise the job!
- That's swell, Pop.
- Is everybody willing to help?
- I can mix mortar.
- Hand me a paintbrush and stand back.
- This will take years.
- So what? What's the hurry?
Hey, that's Senator Wilton!