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J. Lee Thompson
The Skipper is a charming old man loved by all his neighbors. What they don't know is that he is also Mr. 880, an amateurish counterfeiter who has amazingly managed to elude the Secret Service for 20 years. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <email@example.com>
[to the Chief as he looks through files]
So far he's realize more than $50 a month. Can't say the man's been greedy. I guess that's why he's been tough to catch. Of course, what's tougher is the $1 bill. We'll never educate people to examine $1 bills.
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Opening credits appear on dollar bills. See more »
Secret Service agent Steve Buchanan (Burt Lancaster) and the entire New York Field Office of the Secret Service have been trying for many years to track down an elusive counterfeiter who has been making poor imitations of $1 bills. The counterfeiter, called "Mister 880" by the Secret Service after the file number assigned to the case, has been passing the counterfeit $1's all over New York City for many years. Agent Buchanan notices a pattern of passing activity that follows a subway line from Manhattan to Brooklyn. He and his fellow agents "stake out" Coney Island (the next stop on the subway line) and soon develop "The Skipper" (Edmund Gwynn) as a suspect. He is a kindly old gentleman who prints only enough counterfeit money to survive. Agent Buchanan has a big heart and feels terrible about arresting The Skipper. He asks the U.S. Attorney and the Federal Judge to go easy on The Skipper. The movie is based on the true story written by St. Clair McKelway. Ironically, in real life, the Secret Service never identified the suspect, who was a "junk dealer", until a fire started in his apartment. The New York Fire Department responded and "threw out" of the apartment window all sorts of "junk" while putting out the fire. Among the items tossed out the window was a small hand operated printing press and plates for the counterfeit $1 bills. The press and the plates were found by the NYPD who called the Secret Service. But, as we know, the real story wouldn't have made such a good movie, and Lancaster and Gwynn (Oscar winner for this role) are terrific.
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