Former baseball player Bill Johnson, portrayed by William Bendix, failing at many jobs when his ball-playing days are over, reluctantly takes the advice of his father-in-law, Jonah Evans (... See full summary »
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Former baseball player Bill Johnson, portrayed by William Bendix, failing at many jobs when his ball-playing days are over, reluctantly takes the advice of his father-in-law, Jonah Evans (Ray Collins), a retired umpire, and enters an umpire-training school. Assigned to the Texas League, he does fine until the championship play-offs when a riot develops over one of his calls. The involved player is knocked unconscious in the proceedings and cannot verify that Bill made the correct call. Despite lynch mob plans to at least tar-and-feather him, Bill's family - his daughters Lucy (Gloria Henry and Susan (Connie Marshall ) and his wife Betty (Una Merkel) - help Bill reach the ballpark safely the next day through a series of hair-raising encounters. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Another Lloyd Bacon Winner With An Early Look At Bendix As "Riley"-type Character
This is a really a funny movie, something Director Lloyd Bacon produced by the carload back in "the classic era." Bacon's movies were fast-moving and entertaining, and this was no exception. If you liked William Bendix in his mid-1950s TV show, "Life Of Riley," you'll like this film.
Bacon had an especially good year in comedies in 1950 with this movie, "The Fuller Brush Girl" with Lucille Ball, and "The Good Humor Man" with Jack Carson. The director must have been a baseball fan because the year before (1949), he directed Ray Milland in another absurd-but-hilarious movie called "It Happens Every Spring." Whether you enjoy baseball or, you'll get a lot of laughs out of it, too. It's just simply a goofy and likable comedy, filled with the kind of characters you'd see in a late '40s/early '50s comedy. What's nice about the older films, too, is that you actually see whole families: dad, mom and a couple of kids.
Actually, you more you know about baseball, the more you'll just shake your in disbelief at some of the things you'll see in this story because they could never happen today, or even back in 1950. (i.e. a fan coming out of the stands and punching an umpire several times over the course of a minute, and then ump slugging him....and nobody arrested?) Anyway, Bendix is very good and the supporting case, led by underrated actor Tom D'Andrea, is fun to watch, too. D'Andrea and Bendix reminded me almost of Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in "Some Like It Hot." They worked well as a team and must have known that because they paired up in the aforementioned TV series, too, later in the decade.
This film also will remind older film buffs of silent movie comedies with a wild scene at the end you have to see to believe. (Hint: Bendix winds up "water skiing down city streets, being pulled by an ambulance).
It's sheer lunacy.
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