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Inventor Thomas Edison's boyhood is chronicled and shows him as a lad whose early inventions and scientific experiments usually end up causing disastrous results. As a result, the towns folk all think Tom is crazy, and creating a strained relationship between Tom and his father. Toms only solace is his understanding mother who believes he's headed to do great things. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <email@example.com>
When young Tom jumps on the train to sell his maple candy, he tells the first customer the price is "a nickel". The scene takes place in the late 1850s. The first US nickel five cent coin wasn't issued until 1866. (At the time, the only 5¢ coin was a half-dime, a tiny silver coin but not called "a nickel".) See more »
After "The End" title page, a portrait of Tom Edison is displayed and, after some of the inventor's many accomplishments are noted, then the camera pans back to show Spencer Tracy admiring the painting while the narrator announces the forthcoming "Edison, The Man (1940)" biography (featuring Tracy in the title role). See more »
Written by George Cooper and Henry Tucker
Played by Fay Bainter on the organ
Sung by Virginia Weidler, Mickey Rooney and George Bancroft
Variations played throughout as part of the score See more »
MGM opens the first film in the studio's Edison biography project by promising, "This is a story of courage. The courage and triumph of a typical American boy. In all its essential facts, it is a true story. The boy actually did experience the adventures - the joys and sorrows portrayed here. His name might have been John Jones or Bill Smith. It happened to be Thomas A. Edison."
Mickey Rooney plays "Young Tom Edison", and the movie ends with a cameo appearance by Spencer Tracy, star of "Edison, the Man" (released shortly). They weren't much like Thomas Edison or each other, but Mr. Rooney and Mr. Tracy were the #1 and #2 "Box Office" stars of 1940, according to Quigley Publications - so, these films were both very well-produced.
"Young Tom Edison" focuses on the Edison family (who disappear for the Tracy film): likewise precocious little sister Virginia Weidler (as Tannie), misunderstanding father George Bancroft (as Sam), and mysteriously ailing mother Fay Bainter (as Nancy). Rooney's adversary is "Dead End Kid" Bobby Jordan (as Joseph "Joe" Dingle), who gets repeatedly gets kicked in the shins.
In the strangest scene, Ms. Bainter pretends to take over the beating of her sixteen-year-old son while his proud father listens to Rooney's painful cries. Later, gravel-voiced train conductor Eugene Palette (as Nelson) smacks Rooney so hard he develops an earache. Doctor Lloyd Corrigan says, "Sometimes there's nothing like a good box in the ears to sharpen a boy's senses."
Edison subsequently suffered from deafness.
***** Young Tom Edison (2/10/40) Norman Taurog ~ Mickey Rooney, Virginia Weidler, Fay Bainter, George Bancroft
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