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The Habit of Happiness (1916)

Sunny Wiggins is convinced that laughter can cure any ailment. He tries his thesis out on a dyspeptic millionaire, to great success. He turns his attention to easing the plight of the ... See full summary »


Allan Dwan




Complete credited cast:
Douglas Fairbanks ... Sunny Wiggins
George Fawcett ... Jonathan Pepper
Macey Harlam Macey Harlam ... Foster (as Macey Harlan)
Dorothy West ... Elsie Pepper
George Backus ... Mr. Wiggins
Grace Rankin Grace Rankin ... Clarice Wiggins
William Jefferson ... Jones


Sunny Wiggins is convinced that laughter can cure any ailment. He tries his thesis out on a dyspeptic millionaire, to great success. He turns his attention to easing the plight of the down-and-out on skid row. In due course, he and the millionaire's daughter become entangled with a gang of ruffians, and Sunny must use more than laughter to save the day. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Comedy


Did You Know?


In the "Skid Row" scene, director Allan Dwan used real indigents who did not respond correctly to Douglas Fairbanks' attempts to make them laugh. Fairbanks thus told extremely off-color stories, which finally got the desired response. When the film was initially released, complaints from lip-readers caused new shots of Fairbanks to be made to replace the profane close-ups. See more »

User Reviews

Don't worry, be happy!
26 August 2014 | by binapiraeusSee all my reviews

Sunny Wiggins is (as his name suggests) a really SUNNY character: all his family are deadly earnest high society snobs - while he dedicates his life, and his money, to making poor people happy: he collects them from the streets and the breadlines and at his home, he gives them 'lessons in laughing'! But, while the tramps really appreciate his efforts, his father considers them a sheer waste of money and time, and, in order to 'wake up' his son to reality, he sends him to live with those 'bums' for a while... Which he does - until he's assigned the job to cheer up old businessman Pepper, who's even more gloomy and grumpy than his own dad; but who's got a lovely young daughter...!

Here we can witness Doug Fairbanks FULLY in his element: optimism, laughter, romance, hope, and humanity! And the movie isn't just a 'plain' movie with actors acting their part: Doug ACTUALLY took those poor, desperate, sad men from shelters for the homeless and from breadlines, and it took him QUITE some effort to REALLY cheer them up - but he finally managed, in reality as well as in the film! He'd show his concern for his fellow men's psychology many times, not only in the equally wonderful "Down to Earth" a year later, but also with a whole series of self-help books, beginning with "Laugh and Live" in 1917, where he always tried to convince the readers in the most wonderful and sincere way that OPTIMISM is the road to happiness - just like he did in this movie, which even (or maybe especially) today can teach us a GOOD lesson on how to learn to LAUGH AND LIVE!

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None | English

Release Date:

12 March 1916 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Laugh and the World Laughs See more »

Filming Locations:

New Jersey, USA


Box Office


$37,800 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Fine Arts Film Company See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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