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Young Tom Edison (1940)

Inventor Thomas Edison's boyhood is chronicled and shows him as a lad whose early inventions and scientific experiments usually end up causing disastrous results. As a result, the towns ... See full summary »

Director:

Norman Taurog

Writers:

Bradbury Foote (original screenplay), Dore Schary (original screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Mickey Rooney ... Thomas Alva 'Tom' Edison
Fay Bainter ... Mrs. Samuel 'Nancy' Edison
George Bancroft ... Samuel 'Sam' Edison
Virginia Weidler ... Tannie Edison
Eugene Pallette ... Mr. Nelson
Victor Kilian Victor Kilian ... Mr. Dingle
Bobby Jordan ... Joe 'Joey' Dingle (as Bobbie Jordan)
J.M. Kerrigan ... Mr. McCarney
Lloyd Corrigan ... Dr. Pender
John Kellogg ... Bill Edison
Clem Bevans ... Mr. Waddell
Eily Malyon ... Miss Lavina Howard, School Teacher
Harry Shannon ... Army Captain Brackett
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Storyline

Inventor Thomas Edison's boyhood is chronicled and shows him as a lad whose early inventions and scientific experiments usually end up causing disastrous results. As a result, the towns folk all think Tom is crazy, and creating a strained relationship between Tom and his father. Toms only solace is his understanding mother who believes he's headed to do great things. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 March 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der junge Edison See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film's earliest documented telecast took place in Phoenix Thursday 2 May 1957 on KPHO (Channel 5); it first aired in Philadelphia 22 June 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6), in New Haven CT 2 July 1957 on WNHC (Channel 8), in Altoona PA 16 July 1957 on WFBG (Channel 10), in Honolulu 21 July 1957 on KHVH (Channel 13), in Lebanon PA 30 July 1957 on WLBR (Channel 15), in Portland OR 16 August 1957 on KGW (Channel 8), in Salt Lake City 19 August 1957 on KTVT (Channel 4), in Hartford CT 23 August 1957 on WHCT (Channel 18), in Miami 14 October 1957 on WCKT (Channel 7), in Nashville 18 October 1957 on WLAC (Channel 5), in Odessa TX 3 November 1957 on KOSA (Channel 7), in Windsor ON (serving Detroit) 6 November 1957 on CKLW (Channel 9), in Spokane 29 November 1957 on KHQ (Channel 6), in Fresno CA 30 November 1957 on KMJ (Channel 24), in Seattle 23 December 1957 on KING (Channel 5), in Chicago 15 January 1958 on WBBM (Channel 2), in New York City 11 February 1958 on WCBS (Channel 2), in San Francisco 19 April 1958 on KGO (Channel 7), and, finally, in Los Angeles 1 July 1958 on KTTV (Channel 11). See more »

Goofs

When young Tom jumps on the train to sell his maple candy, he tells the first customer the price is "a nickel". The scene takes place in the late 1850s. The first US nickel five cent coin wasn't issued until 1866. (At the time, the only 5¢ coin was a half-dime, a tiny silver coin but not called "a nickel".) See more »

Quotes

Samuel 'Sam' Edison: [Standing with family and watching Tom's train depart] Once he was known as Sam Edison's son. But now I'm Tom Edison's father, and I don't mind.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After "The End" title page, a portrait of Tom Edison is displayed and, after some of the inventor's many accomplishments are noted, then the camera pans back to show Spencer Tracy admiring the painting while the narrator announces the forthcoming "Edison, The Man (1940)" biography (featuring Tracy in the title role). See more »


Soundtracks

Sweet Genevieve
Written by George Cooper and Henry Tucker
Played by Fay Bainter on the organ
Sung by Virginia Weidler, Mickey Rooney and George Bancroft
Variations played throughout as part of the score
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Spare the Rod and Spoil the Inventor
18 April 2010 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

MGM opens the first film in the studio's Edison biography project by promising, "This is a story of courage. The courage and triumph of a typical American boy. In all its essential facts, it is a true story. The boy actually did experience the adventures - the joys and sorrows portrayed here. His name might have been John Jones or Bill Smith. It happened to be Thomas A. Edison."

Mickey Rooney plays "Young Tom Edison", and the movie ends with a cameo appearance by Spencer Tracy, star of "Edison, the Man" (released shortly). They weren't much like Thomas Edison or each other, but Mr. Rooney and Mr. Tracy were the #1 and #2 "Box Office" stars of 1940, according to Quigley Publications - so, these films were both very well-produced.

"Young Tom Edison" focuses on the Edison family (who disappear for the Tracy film): likewise precocious little sister Virginia Weidler (as Tannie), misunderstanding father George Bancroft (as Sam), and mysteriously ailing mother Fay Bainter (as Nancy). Rooney's adversary is "Dead End Kid" Bobby Jordan (as Joseph "Joe" Dingle), who gets repeatedly gets kicked in the shins.

In the strangest scene, Ms. Bainter pretends to take over the beating of her sixteen-year-old son while his proud father listens to Rooney's painful cries. Later, gravel-voiced train conductor Eugene Palette (as Nelson) smacks Rooney so hard he develops an earache. Doctor Lloyd Corrigan says, "Sometimes there's nothing like a good box in the ears to sharpen a boy's senses."

Edison subsequently suffered from deafness.

***** Young Tom Edison (2/10/40) Norman Taurog ~ Mickey Rooney, Virginia Weidler, Fay Bainter, George Bancroft


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