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W.S. Van Dyke
Bill Lawrence wins a slew of prizes on a radio quiz program. His happiness is short-lived when he discovers he'll have to sell the prizes in order to pay the taxes on them. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <email@example.com>
Pete Spooner's suggested answer to the radio show's "tortoise and hare" qualifying question is "Middleground and Your Host". This is a reference to two famous racehorses of the day. Your Host was favored to win the 1950 Kentucky Derby but faded badly and lost to Middleground. See more »
At one point after Bill wins the jackpot, the radio show host refers to him as "Mr. William Glenville of Lawrence, Indiana" instead of "Mr. William Lawrence of Glenville, Indiana". See more »
"They might detatch your salary."
"Then I'll quit my job and live on soup."
"They might detach this house."
"Then I'll burn down the house!"
See more »
The Jackpot features James Stewart in another incarnation of his George Bailey, Mr. Average Man persona. Like Bailey, Jimmy Stewart is the average man with a wife and two kids. Only his Mr. Potter is his boss Fred Clark at the department store where he's a Vice President. But like Bailey he's feeling stuck in a rut in his small town.
That all changes when he gets a call from the Name the Mystery Husband quiz show and with a little help from James Gleason he gets the right answer. He wins $24,000.00+ in prizes, but no one tells him of the complications that go with it.
Barbara Hale steps nicely into Donna Reed's shoes and Natalie Wood and Tommy Rettig are the two children. Best in the supporting cast are Lyle Talbot, the department store's other vice president and one slobbering bootlicker and Alan Mowbray as an officious interior decorator.
Mowbray is playing a part and playing it well that another 20th Century Fox star, Clifton Webb would have eaten for breakfast. I wonder if the part in fact was offered to Webb. Maybe he turned it down because at that point he was a big name box office draw and the part of the obviously gay interior decorator might have been too close to home for those times.
The Jackpot is an enjoyable family comedy. Director Walter Lang got good performances out of his very talented cast.
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