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The Jackpot (1950)

Passed | | Comedy | 1 November 1950 (USA)
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.



(New Yorker article), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
William J. 'Bill' Lawrence
Amy Lawrence
Harry Summers
Mr. Andrew J. Woodruff
Hildegarde Jonet / Hilda Jones
Phyllis Lawrence
Tommy Lawrence
Robert Gist ...
Pete Spooner
Fred Burns


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 <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He had a wife, two kids, a home of his own, a job with a future and then POOR JIMMY WON THE $24,000 RADIO JACKPOT!




Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 November 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der geheimnisvolle Ehemann  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


William Katt, Barbara Hale's son said in a 2007 interview that she was pregnant with him during the filming of this movie as well as Lorna Doone (1951). See more »


The shadows of trees and other objects on the street in front of the Lawrence home face the same direction in both the opening-shot of the movie, which is set in the morning, and in the scene late that afternoon when Bill comes home from work. See more »


Lawyer: "They might detatch your salary."
William: "Then I'll quit my job and live on soup."
Lawyer: "They might detach this house."
William: "Then I'll burn down the house!"
See more »


Ain't We Got Fun
Music by Richard A. Whiting
Lyrics by Ray Egan and Gus Kahn
Sung by an off-screen chorus during the opening credits
See more »

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User Reviews

Now, Just This Once, Sit Back, Relax, Forget About Any "Serious Matters", Try Not To Think and ENJOY THE LAUGHS!
22 May 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Where did this movie come from and who has been hiding it for all these years? Was it you, Ruppert Murdoch? This was on Fox Movie Channel today and what a surprise it is! When you view a film which has been up until "the moment" unheard of, it's like viewing a New Jimmy Stewart starring vehicle.

THERE is also a distinction between a "Movie" and a "Film". Sure, the two terms are interchangeable and virtually synonymous; yet there seems to be a definite distinction in usage. To us regular old fun, adventure, action and strictly escapist entertainment type of Motion Pictures are "Movies"; whereas any production which is of a Grand Scale, represents an Accurate Historical Portrayal, is highly Cinematic in Style or is otherwise considered to be a "Major Motion Picture" is considered a "Film". (This includes most Biopics and Musical Adaptations from the Legitimate Broadway Stage.)

OUR fondest recollections of Mr. James Stewart's work is mainly (if not totally) made up of celluloid works that would have to be most certainly Film. Starting with a pair of Frank Capra's gems as in MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (Columbia, 1939) and IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (Liberty Pictures/RKO Radio, 1946). First rate productions of Film Biographies were his strong suit, also; with examples aplenty. Jimmy starred as tragic Chicago White Sox Pitcher, Monty Stratton in THE STRATTON STORY (MGM, 1949), the title role in THE GLENN MILLER STORY (Universal, 1953) and as 'Lucky Lindy'(Himself), Charles Lindbergh in THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS (Leland-Wilder Productions/Warner Brothers, 1957).

FURTHERMORE, other typical roles for Mr. Stewart (other than the occasional Comedy or Farce) were usually very strong, heroic types; such as: Chicago Newspaper Man, P.J. McNeal in CALLING NORTHSIDE 777 (20th Century-Fox, 1948), THE STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND (Paramount Pictures Corporation. 1955) and as Tenderfoot 'Pilgrim' Attorney, Ransom Stoddard in John Ford's THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (John Ford Productions/Paramount, 1962).

SMALL wonder then that a lot of moviegoers & film buffs tend to dismiss a Comedy/Farce such as THE JACKPOT (20th Century-Fox, 1950) as being a production that was below Jimmy's talents and stature as a true, Box Office stuffing, Red Blooded, All-American type and Movie Star to boot! JACKPOT is, after all, not really much of a story; being suggested by a story published in The New Yorker Magazine about the Radio Industry and some of the idiosyncrasies of the Game Shows & Giveaways of the period.

With it's simple and straight forward scenario, THE JACKPOT may well have been an old 2 Reel Comedy of the Late Silent or Early Talkie Eras. It could easily be built on starring a young Harold Lloyd, 'Baby-Faced' Harry Langdon or Stan Laurel (in his pre-Laurel & Hardy teaming). The story, as thin as it is, exists for our laughter and enjoyment.

OUR STORY……………………….....In the proverbial Nut Shell, regular old average working American, Bill Lawrence (Mr. Stewart) answers a Radio Quiz Show' Jackpot Question (Hence the title; get it, Schultz?) and wins $24,000.00+ as the prize; well, not exactly! The prize is worth that (retail?), but it comes in the form of Goods and Services, rather than in Cold Ca$h Dollar$, in the Currency of the U$A, it is made up of a Crazy Quilt of disconnected items such as a Quarter Ton of Beef, Hundreds of Cases of Canned Soups, a real Pony, a House Trailer and many items of Jewelry such as multiple wristwatches and a Diamond Ring.

OTHER prize items include a Home Remake by famous Interior Decorator, 'Leslie' (Alan Mowbry) and a Portrait Painting by equally famous Painter, Hilda Jones (Patricia Medina).

THE story unfolds with the Story of Mr. Bill Lawrence's win making Front Page News, especially in this small, Indiana Town. All of the complications and unintended consequences that follow make up the action on the screen. Plain and simple, straightforward occurrences that upset the heretofore happy lives of Bill & Amy Lawrence (Barbara Hale-Woo,woo,woo,woo! Della Street never looked so good!), their kids, Phyllis (a young Natalie Wood-Woo,woo,woo,woo, too!) and an even younger and shorter Tommy (Tommy Rettig, "LASS-IEEE!").

A fine supporting cast is present and includes James Gleason, Fred Clark, Lyle Talbot, Billy Nelson, Phillip Van Zandt, John Qualen, Robert Gist, Frances Budd, Dulcie Day, Fritz Feld, Ann Doran, Estelle Etterre, June Evans, Walter Baldwin and many more faces we know. (…. But the names?) THE JACKPOT is meant to let us sit back, let our hair down and enjoy the laughter; even if some of them are kinda obvious and we can see 'um a comin'.



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