The head of a flagging opinion-poll company discovers a town which accurately reflects the average American's opinions, and immediately recognises its money-making potential.
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Morning, Joe. Another one, huh?
In or out?
Out. Rip Smith.
Institute of Public Opinion. Going out of business.
Rip Smith...18th floor, inside office,
tall man, brown shoes,
dark polish three times a week,
25 cent tip.
Too bad. Nice man.
No wonder he's going out of business,
getting opinions from the public.
That's a screwy way to make a living.
There's nothing screwy about it.
Look at Gallup.
Big corporations pay a lot of money
to find out what you and I think.
Now, you take this cigar, for instance.
People stop buying it, sales fall off,
manufacturer wants to know why.
I can tell them why in one word.
Hey, George, is it true about Rip Smith?
Yes. I saw them moving the furniture out.
Isn't that swell?
Did you hear about Rip?
Mack cancelled his contract.
They're moving the furniture out of his office.
He talked to me about jobs
for some of his people.
What about himself? Let's grab him.
We've been discussing it.
What is there to discuss?
Henry thinks we'd be foolish.
Why, Henry, that's the hottest piece of manpower...
Yes, I know. Brilliant.
But too much of a dreamer for me.
To hear him talk, we're all idiots.
Our method of polling public opinion
is apparently ridiculous.
Thinks we're wasting money
questioning people all over the country.
He's going to find
some miraculous shortcut.
Maybe he can.
It's called his mathematical miracle -
how to question 50 or 100 people
and find out how the whole country's thinking.
If it could be done, he'd make a fortune.
If, if, if. He was forced out of business.
Henry, that's because he operated on a shoestring.
What makes you think he'll come with us?
Rip's burning with ambition. He'll go it alone.
We'll get him. Don't worry.
In his present condition,
he's a cinch.
Like I said to my wife,
sometimes asking too many questions don't pay off.
"When I got your letter,
"I tested public opinion in my hometown
"on the subject you suggested,
"and here's the result.
"In favour, 69.1 Not in favour, 22.6
We just laid one egg.
What are you hatching now?
What are those letters about?
Who's that one from, Mr Twiddle?
You're awake. It's from Frederick Hoopendecker.
He's a schoolteacher. Shall I go on?
Sergeant Hoopendecker. What a man.
He could handle a bazooka like a toy pistol.
Shall I go on?
Getting a bunch of ex-dullfeet
to canvass their hometowns.
Well, I'm still hunting for that shortcut, Ike.
My goodness, shall I go on?
No. No. No.
I thought I had an idea.
Just file that with the rest of them, Mr Twiddle.
Everybody get paid off?
Why don't you give up, Rip?
Stop chasing rainbows. Go to work for somebody.
I could put a bowling alley in here.
A lot of good guys got kicked around.
They're not out to capture the world.
Dancing academy, maybe.
Stop it, Rip! This is no time...
It's good for the soul!
RIP WHISTLES A TUNE
What do you think you're doing?
It's Mr Stringer.
HE WHISTLES AGAIN
I've got a proposition, Rip.
We might have an opening.
If you'll accept a reasonable salary
against 10% of the profits,
you can take Ike and Mr What's-his-name?
Thanks, Charlie. I'll think about it.
Don't be a fool, Rip. You can't be fussy.
You and your mathematical miracles.
No wonder Mack cancelled your contract.
We released our figures today on the same subject.
Look at it.
You weren't even close.
You can't do polls without national coverage.
And that takes lots of money.
Make up your mind, there are no shortcuts.
What are you grinning about?
Charlie, I love you.
With all my heart, I love you!
The answer's no. See you around. Come here.
Give me that.
Get off that desk!
What hit you?
Lock that door!
Now if I can just find this letter.
There it is.
This might be it, Ike!
The shortcut I've been searching for.
Now, look at Hoopendecker's letter!
Look at Stringer's figures!
Stringer canvassed thousands of people.
Hoopendecker canvassed a handful in a small town!
Look at the results!
69.1, 69... They're just the same!
I tell you, this might be it!
One small town that thinks exactly the way the nation does.
You're talking about Utopia.
Utopia. We'll find out right now.
Mr Twiddle, get the almanac.
Call the Census Bureau,
and get Hoopendecker on the phone!
Never mind that!
I'll get the national figures out of the almanac.
What about the last election?
I want the figures, the percentages.
What about the last time?
All right. Republicans?
I knew someplace somewhere there was a town like this!
Even the population breaks down right!
Just like the country!
The same percentage of males, females,
farmers, labour, Democrats, Republicans, everything!
Hello. Yeah, I'm still here.
Look, here's the setup.
We'll have to poll the same people repeatedly.
This might be good for years.
Eventually they'll get self-conscious.
Those townspeople can't know what we're doing.
We got to have a cover.
We're three insurance salesmen from Hartford.
Insurance? Oh, my goodness.
To talk to a man about when he's going to die...
Yeah, that's what I said, Mack,
and I can deliver, too.
Stringer's been doing a poll for you for months
on progressive education in the public schools.
Suppose I start now and finish before him?
I tell you, it is possible!
Within one percent, that's how close!
I won't tell you how I do it.
No other polling outfit will find out about this.
I'm going to make a million bucks on this!
What? Yeah. Let me understand this.
You'll put me on trial, huh?
If this goes over, you'll renew my contract?
That's all I want to know.
OK, Mack. Thanks.
Grandview, you good old mathematical miracle,
here we come!
Thank you, Grandview.
Gee, the moment Columbus first sighted land
must have been just like this.
Would you mind moving, please?
< Moody's Mansion House!
Bus for Moody's Mansion House leaving right away!
Moody's Mansion House?
That's the name of the hotel.
That's a perfect name for the hotel.
Maybe it is, and maybe it ain't.
You want to go there?
Yeah, and see that fellow
who looks like he popped out of Dickens?
Tell him to check us in. We're going for a walk.
"Moody's Mansion House."
How do you do?
Ike, it's wonderful to be around a town
you know like you know an old family album.
Look at that fellow.
He's married. He has 1.7 children.
Out of his income, he spends 11.2 for rent,
23.5 for food, and 17.2 for clothing...
Poor guy. He's just a series of fractions.
He ought to stop acting like a human being.
Glad to see you again.
Well, glad to see you.
How have you been?
Fine. How have you been?
Can't complain. You're looking well.
You seem fit yourself.
Not bad for an old man.
Well... How have you been?
Can't complain. And you?
Fine. Fine. Ha, ha.
Glad to have seen you again.
I'm very glad to have seen you.
Who's that man? I don't know.
Sure you don't know him?
No, I don't know him.
If he knows you, we're sunk.
He was just being friendly.
Get it higher! > Higher!
Hey, where can I find Professor Hoopendecker?
I don't know. He ain't down here.
< Did you see that?
All the way from there to there.
That was really something.
< Pass it here!
Hide me. Hide me.
Hit the dirt!
Good old Sergeant Hoopendecker.
Hiya, dirty face.
Mon capitaine. Je vous aime.
You rat. It took me years to build dignity.
Rip Smith! That's who it is.
Sorry I couldn't meet you at the train.
How's it going?
The survey I did was good, huh?
Right on the nose for the whole nation.
Isn't this insurance thing risky?
We'll sell some insurance if we have to.
Is that him, Mr Hoopendecker?
That's he, all right.
Rip Smith. That's plush.
Mr Hoopendecker said you were coming.
We read about you in the basketball guide.
I'm coaching. Here's my assistant.
Mascot of the team.
What's going on?
That's a nickel a look.
SCHOOL BELL RINGS
Boys, move along.
Have you seen anybody yet?
No. I'm going to see the mayor now.
Meet me after school at the town meeting hall.
I'll introduce you to folks.
How do you do?
Why, the very idea!
Imagine a grown man doing such a thing.
No, I can't.
Wait right here, please.
Thank you. Thank you.
Where did you disappear to?
Dropped in on my old pal Hoopendecker.
What's this? What goes on here?
His Honour the mayor is in conference.
We just have to put the decimal points in the right place,
and we're home.
Let's pray these good people stay average,
that they don't change.
They haven't changed in 50 years. Forget it.
Yes, these changes will make this town.
The park and the playground
will be placed right here,
the hospital and the nursery here,
the library here, the high school here.
As mayor, I'm neutral, a servant of the people,
but I still insist this plan is preposterous.
Richard, isn't it preposterous?
I'm tired of hearing about it.
She's been coming before this council for years.
It's like a filibuster.
There ought to be a law...
Now, now, Lou. This is a free country.
All right. All right.
Thank you, Mr Nickleby.
I'll continue to exercise that right
until you're convinced that Grandview needs
this new civic centre.
It's all right, Mr Mayor. You're excused.
Yes. Excuse me. Of course.
What is it?
You said it was important.
I'm Lawrence Smith.
This is my associate Mr Sloan.
We just arrived in town and thought you could help us.
Just a moment.
Notes for visitors' diary.
At, er, 9.46,
a gentleman named Lawrence Smith came in.
"Visitors are always welcome", I said.
"What can I do for you?"
Visitors are welcome. What can I do for you?
We want to open an insurance office.
We thought you could recommend a real estate agent.
Mr Smith requested that I recommend a real estate agent.
"I'm in a difficult position", I said.
"The mayor cannot show partiality".
Just a moment. I'll get Lou Dicketts.
Best real estate man in town.
Rest of them ain't worth a hoot and a holler.
What about the whoosis - the upkeep?
That means more what-you-call-it...
Why not let the voters decide?
Mr Nickleby's being very unselfish about this.
As the leading contractor, he'd naturally benefit.
We can't afford it.
Did it occur to you, Richard Nickleby,
social improvements would attract new people, new wealth,
so we could afford it?
Glad to be of... what-you-call-it...service.
Like a fella says, thank you.
FEMALE VOICE: All you want is changes! >
Change this. Change that. >
Of course I want changes. >
It's about time we grew up >
and made it a decent place. >
Changes. There goes your mathematical miracle.
< When it comes to community planning,
< I'll trust Mr Nickleby.
This is a very fine community!
It's a beautiful community!
I'm sorry. I didn't mean to butt in.
That's all right. Come in.
What do you think of Grandview?
Think of it? I've been searching
for a town like this for years!
You like it, do you? Speak up!
When I got off that train,
I said, "This is it".
I've just walked through your town,
with its shade trees and its lovely parks.
I stood before your impressive buildings
and said, "Here's a sturdy challenge
"to the evils of the modern era."
I felt your people's vitality and security...
All in less than one hour.
Your children are happy...happy.
You can see it in their dear little faces
and hear it in their wholesome talk.
There's beauty here.
It's almost indescribable.
You're used to it. You're all a part of it.
You take it for granted.
But to me,
it's a hope and a dream of a lifetime.
I, too, want to become a part of it.
Please don't change it.
Well, I-I'm very sorry.
I didn't mean to intrude.
That makes me what-you-call-it?
That's the kind > of young man
this town needs. >
Let's forget this nonsense about high schools! >
All those in favour? >
Meeting's adjourned. >
It took a stranger to pound sense into us. >
You fascinate me.
I nearly fell for that scheme of Mary's.
..Get to know him better.
Ed Schwartz, meet my friend Lawrence Smith.
How do you do?
Pleased to know you.
I want you to meet my friend Lawrence Smith...
Mr Hoopendecker's friends are welcome here.
Thank you very much, gentlemen.
Everything takes place here...
political rallies, concerts, dances.
Hey, there it is.
Look at it.
The great American institution -
the potbellied stove.
That one's been there for over 100 years.
Sit around that stove,
and you'll find out what Grandview's thinking.
Find out what the country's thinking, too.
If you want to find out where our senators hide...
Senator Wilton, I want you to meet
my friend Lawrence Smith.
Glad to see you.
Glad to see you.
Well, this is Senator Wilton.
You're United States Senator Wilton!
Well, of course!
No wonder your face was familiar.
The Senator was brought up here in Grandview.
He comes back to visit.
The pressure in Washington gets pretty strong sometimes.
Easy to lose your perspective.
Issues become very simple in this room.
I imagine so.
There's something in the local paper about you.
I have it here, Senator.
Oh, thanks. They don't...
they don't seem to like you.
There, under "Town Titbits".
"The incident at the council meeting
"that was reported to this paper
"indicates a complete lack of grace."
"This is his first day in town,
"yet Mr Smith managed to poke
"his unwelcome proboscis
"into local affairs." Um, pretty cute.
"If you are really here
"to sell insurance, Mr Smith,
"you would do well to start building
"good will and confidence."
Where's the slaughterhouse that turns this out?
Down the street. I'll go with you.
I'll handle it. Excuse me, Senator.
They're a tough crew.
I can be tough myself!
I want to see the editor
of this imitation newspaper!
Please say that again.
I want to know...
No. The same words, in the same way.
You can bang the counter if you wish.
Where's the editor?
I want to see the editor
of this imitation newspaper!
Hey, what is this?
What's this all about?
Your voice, it's the spitting image of his.
Never heard the likes of it.
Spitting image of who?
He used to say the same thing
and bang on the counter.
That was his little joke.
OK. Where's he?
Lou got a little tired about 10 years ago...
almost 11 now.
The year I got my new office.
Went out the porch to take a nap...
Guess he was more tired than he thought.
Never saw such a wonderful funeral.
Everybody in town came.
Lem Simpson was a pallbearer.
Stayed sober all day.
Just out of respect.
Yes, sir. Your voice is the spitting image.
Well, young man, what is it?
You came to make a complaint, I believe.
Well, it's this story about me!
What's the idea?
Are the facts incorrect?
Is your name spelled wrong?
Well, it's snide. That's what it is.
Taking advantage of an innocent stranger.
What kind of hospitality is that?
Those nasty little digs. No decent newspaper...
If you want to attack the policy of this newspaper,
write a letter.
Meantime, you can do your complaining
to the acting editor
who wrote the story.
I'll talk to the acting editor!
I've got a three-position signal!
Jiggle it. Try jiggling it.
Sometimes they start when you jiggle them.
TRAIN WHISTLE BLOWS
See. What did I tell you?
Pass me Panther.
Come on, sweetie.
You wish to see me?
I want to thank you
for that nice story you wrote about me.
I thought you came to complain.
Me. Not at all!
There's just one thing worse
than being talked about, and that's...
Not being talked about at all.
In that case, you won't mind
the second story I'm writing about you.
Not at all. Not at all.
No use looking over my shoulder.
This isn't it.
As a matter of fact, I was just admiring
how your hair sweeps up from your neck.
My, my. Real sharpy.
Hey, now, look.
Look at this story you wrote about me.
Now, look, it says here...
"If you're really here to sell insurance,
"you'd do well..." And so on.
Why that? That creates suspicion.
Mr Smith, Grandview is already overcrowded
with insurance agents, most of them starving.
A clever man like you would stay away.
A clever man doesn't mind competition.
He has ideas.
He sees insurance as a long-range community service.
He doesn't care about policies
for six months or a year.
Now, wouldn't you like to write
a little retraction of that?
"On further examination,
"this fellow Smith is very charming"?
Wouldn't you like to do that?
No, I guess you wouldn't.
Getting sticky in here.
I think I'll get a soda.
Hey, Sis, I got a great scoop.
Who do you think is in town?
Oh, hello, Mr Smith.
The committee was just going over to see you.
said you're the greatest.
Well, he exaggerates a little.
He said you'd do it.
Coach the basketball team.
I'll leave you two to discuss business.
Would you, Mr Smith? Sure.
I want to straighten out some things first.
Make that two, will you?
I ordered a headache powder.
That's just what I need.
Oh, no, don't go.
I expect to be around for quite a spell.
You'll have to get used to me.
Perhaps you're right.
I've gotten used to other weird goblins.
Let me see. How's that go?
"Well, you better mind your parents
"and your teachers, fond and dear.
"Cherish them that loves you.
"Dry the orphan's tear.
"Help the poor and needy ones
"that's clustered all about,
"or the goblins will get you
"if you don't watch out."
That's from a poem... "Goblins Will Get You".
That's from Little Orphan Annie.
By golly, that's right.
Oh, headache powder - chocolate flavour, huh?
Say, tell me about this new civic centre of yours.
Well, I'm just interested.
After the way you shot your mouth off?
Wasn't that stupid?
And not knowing anything, either.
I hope it didn't do any harm.
Only set progress back a few years.
It did? I'm sorry.
Maybe I can make up for it,
help in some way.
Go on. Tell me about it.
Why did you do it?
Butt into the meeting.
Well, I was just busting with good spirits.
The town looked perfect to me.
I couldn't imagine changing it.
Sure there wasn't some other reason?
If there was, it escapes me at the moment.
Some of the fellas have got to go,
and we figured you could explain
the "back-pass dilemma".
It says that Rip Smith used it to perfection.
It does, huh?
The what dilemma?
Quiet, please. This is technical talk.
Sure, I can show you.
Anybody got a pencil?
There we are.
Get up around here, now.
We're on the attacking team. I have the ball.
Here I am, right there.
There's my guard. Here you are.
There's your guard over there.
I pass to you and move at you.
My guard crosses.
Then I suddenly fall in behind you.
That brings the two guards close together.
You back-pass to me and cut,
and your guard crosses and bumps his own man.
I feed you a loop pass. You got an easy lay-up.
Well, look, there's nothing to it.
Give me the ball. I'll demonstrate.
That's the best part, I think.
You be his guard.
Follow me, men,
right out here.
Now, we'll use that tree for a basket.
Line up for an offensive spread.
You be his guard, see?
You be his guard, right?
Now, remember - pass, follow the pass,
back pass, loop pass, boomeroo!
You check on this. See there's no mistake.
Over here, Shorty.
Come on. Pass it.
Pass it. Let me have it.
That wasn't bad, all but the boomeroo.
OK, let's try some baskets.
Looks like somebody has to climb a tree.
Shorty, come here.
Can you reach it?
It's easy, Ike.
You start gabbing about insurance.
Then you sneak up on your subject, see?
Yeah. Talk to a man about his life expectancy,
but find out what he thinks of progressive education.
Right. Here we go.
Here we go.
Well, here it is. What did I tell you?
Isn't this beautiful?
If I ever get to New York, I'll show YOU the sights(!)
I brought the kids up here yesterday.
I don't expect to make the basketball team.
Don't be such an old whiny-worm.
You're always whining about something.
Come face to face with sheer beauty.
Whose idea was it. Yours?
The plan. You know, the civic centre.
Oh, that was a legacy from my father.
He worked on it for years.
Never could put it over.
But YOU will, won't you?
You set me back a bit,
but I'll put it over.
It's the only thing my father left when he died.
"It's my one possession", he said.
"A worthwhile job to do.
"It's yours. Consider yourself rich."
I thought he left you the newspaper.
No. We just work there.
Ben Moody owns it.
Oh, Moody's Mansion House, huh?
Well, you call yourself acting editor.
What's the...who's the editor? Mr Moody?
There can only be one editor for that paper.
He still runs it, sort of.
I like that.
You sound like him.
Sometimes, you even look like him...
But you're not like him at all.
Papa wasn't so desperate.
What are you desperate for?
Are you reading the bumps on my head?
The air becomes charged with electricity
around desperate men.
I always feel it when I'm near Nickleby.
I feel it now...
Are you having fun?
Mm-hmm. Do you mind?
No. No. No.
What is that? What's that?
Let me see it.
MT14 rheostat, controls the speed
of that little train you saw in the window.
Was your childhood terribly ugly?
You know, that little model train you have,
it's a very professional job.
A girl mechanic, huh?
Well, it was cloistered,
Swiss governess, Lord Fauntleroy suits,
that type of thing.
There's only one thing that doesn't add up -
the electric currents,
and selling insurance in Grandview.
Well, maybe you need a new crystal ball.
My old one's all right.
Want to know what I see in it?
Before you're through,
you'll run for mayor of this town...
..and the awful part of it is
I'll probably vote for you.
They were river rats, he and his brother.
People on excursion boats would throw coins,
and the kids would dive for them.
It meant food for the family.
He wants security, sure, in his fist.
Yes, of course.
Sis, are you going to watch us practice?
No, darling. I have a meeting.
What else, Hoop?
That's all I know.
I've got to get home and mark papers.
Good night, Mary. Thanks for dinner.
Is the ladies' meeting over?
Yep. Just about.
Good night, Mary...
The basketball dance will be held
a week from Saturday night
at the town meeting hall.
That's sure plush.
That's the night we play the Waverly game.
So long, Rip.
How did it go tonight?
Good. Good. Good.
Did you go to school here?
These are graduation pictures, aren't they?
I'll be darned. Look there.
Isn't that wonderful? Are you here?
Wait a minute. Don't show me.
There. There you are. I knew you right off.
Oh, go on. I showed you.
No. I picked it out myself.
It's simple. You've got the same...
the same this,
the same firecracker eyes.
You were pretty then, too, huh?
You think so?
You're very pretty.
Well, that's Helen Kleinspiegel.
That's me over here.
Wise guy, huh?
Hey, that's amazing.
That grew up to be you, hmm?
What an age we're living in.
There's something about the smell of a classroom
that kind of gets me.
You went to school here, huh?
Well, what do you know?
In this very classroom?
I'll be darned.
Where'd you sit?
Oh, in the front row?
You had to stay awake all the time.
You know, I always had trouble with these legs of mine.
I always stuck out in the aisle, like this.
People kept tripping over them.
One day the teacher was walking by,
and she and I - kerplunk!
She accused me
of doing it deliberately, too.
I might have helped some.
And you sat there, huh?
This seat had an awful squeak.
This is where I sat.
Did you have any pigtails?
Anybody special to pull them?
Birdy, Senator Wilton's son.
He was a terror.
Then they moved to Washington,
and I was heartbroken.
Oh, you were, huh?
Well, for how long?
Almost a week.
Oh, look, Hiawatha.
"By the shores of gitche gumee..."
Always thought it was "gitche gooey".
Well, it is gooey.
Me, I was always exclusively
a Charge Of The Light Brigade fella.
Oh, I loved Hiawatha.
"Half a league, half a league,
"half a league onward, SHE READS OUT LOUD
"all in the valley of death
"rode the 600.
"Forward the light brigade!
"Charge for the guns, he said,
"into the valley of death..."
"Rose the black and gloomy pine trees,
"rose the firs with cones upon them.
"Before them beat the water,
"beat the clear and sunny water,
"beat the shining big sea water..."
"..Theirs was to do or die.
"Into the valley of death rode the 600.
"Cannon to the right of them,
"cannon to the left of them..."
"..Hush! The naked bear will hear thee!
"Ewa-yea! My little owlet.
"Who is it that lights the wigwam..."
"Into the jaws of death!
"Into the mouth of hell!"
"Ewa-yea! My little owlet..."
"Rode the 600!
"Flashed all their sabres bare,
"flashed as they turned in air..."
"Many things Nokomis taught him
"of the stars that shine in heaven,
"showed him Ishkoodah, the comet..."
"..Plunged in the battery smoke,
"..right through the line they broke,
"Cossacks and Russians reeling from the sabre's stroke.
"Shattered and sundered..."
"In the frosty nights of winter,
"showed the broad white road in heaven,
"crowded with the ghosts, the shadows,
"at the door on summer evenings
"sat the little Hiawatha..."
"Forward, the light brigade!
"Was there a man dismayed?
"Not, though the soldier knew
"someone had blundered.
"Theirs not to make reply,
"theirs not to reason why..."
"But soft. What light through yonder window breaks?
"It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
"Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
"who is already pale and sick with grief..."
Open up, Twiddle.
Not in yet, huh?
Did you get them?
Three yeses and one don't-know.
Good. That completes the list.
If he figures to make that plane,
he'll have to be here soon.
He told Mack he'd have the results tomorrow.
They're playing Preston tonight.
Very important game. Some soda?
KNOCK ON DOOR
Hi, boys. How's it going?
Sorry I'm late.
What's it look like, Mr Twiddle?
Just give me the basic figures.
It'll take one second. Who won?
Who won? Don't be comical.
46 to 12.
We slaughtered them.
It would also be peachy
if you'd get that finished.
Yeah, Mr Twiddle. Stop stalling.
Stalling! I said one second.
I only hope these figures
will be close to Stringer's.
Don't worry. All you have to do is...
Put the decimal points in their proper places.
There. I've done it.
Give me that. There she is, boys.
You realise what this means?
This was done in two weeks.
From now on, we can do them in 24 hours.
All right, Ike. Here you are.
If old Mack starts asking you questions,
you just turn your baby-blues.
I'd like to see his face.
You can accomplish that with alacrity and dispatch.
Why don't you go yourself?
Don't be silly. We play Waverly tomorrow.
Got sort of a dance after it.
My handling this team
has just worked beautifully for us.
It would look funny if I disappeared.
You lucky stiff.
Beautiful job, Mr Twiddle.
Rip, how'd you like to kick this whole deal over?
Kick it over?
It's all right with us.
What are you talking about?
You don't have to keep going on our account.
Oh, save it, will you?
"Kick it over." Yackety-yackety-yak.
What are you talking about?
I've been working all my life for this.
It's all wrapped up. Kick it over. What for?
What kind of a lame-brain do you think I am?
OK. OK. I guess I was way off the beam.
I guess you certainly were!
Well, I've got to go.
Ike, you tell Mack
we can take three or four jobs,
maybe more than that.
Call me tomorrow night, huh?
Ike, you call me.
You ever do the samba?
No. I can't say I did.
Don't ever. I had a two-hour demonstration.
Know what a "back-pass dilemma" is?
Well, I'm getting a demonstration.
This I got to see.
OK. Cut over quick. I'll pass to you.
Well, throw it.
Go on. Throw the ball.
Don't make love to it.
That's no way to throw a ball.
It's more of a snap forward.
No. Suppose there's a wolf on the make for you.
What do you...
You mean, like this?
Yeah, like that.
Let's try something else, shall we?
We'll try the lay-up shot.
Stand over here. No rough stuff, now.
The principle of this shot
is you try and stretch yourself out
and just lay the ball up in the basket.
Just lay the ball right in there.
You try. Get over there.
Remember, you got to stretch yourself.
Just lay the ball right up there.
I'll help you.
Look. It got stuck.
"Back-pass dilemma", huh?
< CROWD APPLAUDS
You ever ask yourself why they call me Rip?
It has something to do with Rip van Winkle.
I fall asleep at the drop of an eyelid,
and I think I'm going to drop an eyelid
on that lovely shoulder of yours and never leave.
Oh, no, Rip.
Oh, I'm sorry.
I'm so sorry.
Well, I guess you live and learn.
Sorry to cut in, but you promised.
Certainly, darling. You mind, Rip?
You're making a mistake, Bob.
She's carrying a concealed weapon.
Good work, son.
You whipped those kids into a fighting machine.
It's the first time we've beat Waverly in 10 years.
You must be having an awful tussle
with that conscience of yours.
Don't worry about my conscience.
stay far away from her.
It'll be hard to drop her in a bracket.
She won't stay there.
# I keep... #
Our school song.
# Where all my fondest memories are
# The chapel bells on Christmas Eve
# The wishes on a falling star
# The lonely sound across the night
# Our friends that always hurry through
# The patterns on the frosted pane
# The magic lands they took me to
# These are not only idle dreams
# That time will someday dim for me
# They are pages that I put away
# Into my book of memories
# The crowd around the swimming hole
# The gang around the campus green
# The laughter of an April Fool
# The ghost that walks on Hallowe'en
# The timid hand I held in mine
# While walking through a secret lane
# The rainbow on a neighbour's lawn
# That sparkles after summer rain
# These are not only idle dreams
# That time will someday dim for me
# They're pages that I put away
# Into my book of memories. #
< Attention, please.
Folks, Mrs Peterman
wishes to say a few words.
The Dispatch, you know, rarely retracts a story.
Well, that's obviously
because The Dispatch rarely makes mistakes.
you will read the retraction of a recent item
about Mr Lawrence Smith.
The Dispatch wants to erase any doubt it created
as to Mr Smith's integrity.
Mary and I have seen a lot of Rip since he came here.
It's only been a short time,
yet already he seems an old friend,
and that's a good sign.
He's taken an interest in our civic affairs,
and his devotion to the basketball team...
Everybody must admit he performed a miracle.
Now, it took hard work
at all hours,
and I'm sure he must have neglected
his own business to do it.
We're lucky to acquire such a fine citizen.
I thought this a good occasion
to apologise and tell him how we feel.
We're all very happy and grateful
that in your search for a permanent anchorage,
you chose to throw in your lot with us
and to grow with Grandview.
< Speech! Speech! >
I wish Mrs Peterman hadn't said
all those nice things about me.
I doubt whether I can live up to them.
I'd prefer that you...
reserve judgment until you, well...
until you got to know me better...
People going around making speeches.
I remember once in Italy,
a bunch of us got to talking.
Funny place to be talking about home and ma.
The pip-squeak started.
Then the other fellas got going.
It turned out they were all from small towns.
You were the only city slicker there.
You let your guard down that night, Rip.
< DISTANT APPLAUSE
You envy those guys. You said that yourself.
You never knew what it was to have neighbours,
to have a sense of belonging.
What Ma said goes for all of them.
Just...just give me one year.
Just one year.
You've made a lot of friends here.
That's security, Rip - the surest kind.
No. Look up there!
That light's in MY office
because a call's coming in telling me
I got the world by the tail!
It's a rat race, but I'm out in front!
He hasn't come back yet?
I can't imagine anything I said could have...
When Papa acted like a ghoul,
you didn't let him go hide in a corner
and lick his wounds, did you?
Of course I didn't.
I promised Ben Moody I'd dance with him.
I hope he's in the groove. I'm not.
'It was a perfect job.'
What did I tell you? How close was it?
How close to the Stringer poll?
'On the nose.'
What did old Mack say?
'Said he was flabbergasted - plain flabbergasted.'
Well, this is it, Ike.
Yeah, tell him we'll take that Henricks deal.
And Keely sounds pretty good.
'We're home, Ike.'
'Yeah, if that Peterman gal doesn't crab it.'
'She's not going to crab anything.'
'She's hepped on changing the town.
'If she puts that civic centre over...'
'I'll handle the Peterman girl.'
'I guess you will. You're an artist.'
'Cut it out! We came to do a job,
'and nothing's going to interfere!
'I'll see you in a couple of days.'
We came here to do a job.
Anything else is just a blind alley.
The trouble with having a newspaper background -
it develops an instinct for snooping.
You must have found Ma's speech tonight very funny.
We had to work secretly.
Nobody's been hurt by it, have they?
What are you going to do?
You couldn't stand any changes...
By all means, hold back progress.
Mr Smith has to make an extra dollar for himself.
I certainly think that's stooping very low.
I want to make a deal with you.
Kill that story you're writing,
I'll never show my face around here again.
This isn't for myself, Mary.
It's for the people here.
I wouldn't like to see them get confused.
What I was doing couldn't do them any harm,
but they read that, and they...
I don't know. They're human.
You can't go around telling people they're special -
not even these people. That's deadly.
If you love them, Mary, don't do it.
If you'd stop pounding that machine
and listen to me...
I suppose you think
I got some sort of angle.
I don't know how to convince you, Mary.
You just have to take my word.
Set this story up, Mr Dingle.
Say, this looks hot.
Send Harry down.
Cover this - make a swell picture layout.
So that's it!
What a guy!
We want sound.
Find out what the typical American woman wears.
We want daily sidewalk interviews.
According to Smith, it's the barometer of national opinion.
This story was given to the world
by Mary Peterman of the Grandview Dispatch.
In one week's time,
I wouldn't give the wart off my nose
for anybody's opinion in this town.
LOUDSPEAKER: 'OK, now.
'You're the typical American.
'Act like it.'
We've opened a keg of dynamite.
I hadn't counted on arousing the whole world.
< Hey, Sis.
Big-shot reporters to see you.
Sorry to barge in.
It's all right.
We thought you'd have information.
How did you find out about the survey?
When Mr Smith completed his poll,
he handed me the story.
Do you know > his plans?
He won't talk to anybody.
He left word he's leaving
for New York this afternoon.
BOB: I don't believe it!
Rip wouldn't walk out on us now,
not with the Freehall game coming up!
Must have had 50 calls already -
families want to move to Grandview.
All right, Mary. We're ready.
Bob said if we talked to you, you would.
You wouldn't leave before the Freehall game.
Nothing's more important.
< Lived here all my life...
never knew we were so terrific.
< It's a landslide!
< There's Rip, our great discoverer!
Insurance business, huh? >
That was slick. Sure was slick.
Rip's staying to coach us.
Watch us grow. >
We got to take advantage > of the opportunity.
You will. It's in the air, those electric currents.
Electric currents? What's he talking about?
It looks like a nice, clear day.
We're already known from coast to coast.
People coming on every train!
They're coming by car, bus,
even on foot.
Who wouldn't want to live in the perfect town?
I'll just build another hotel.
Shouldn't we start planning?
Things are moving so fast.
That's why we wanted you to handle publicity.
Spread the slogan "Grow with Grandview".
Another manufacturer wants to build,
so he can advertise, "Made in the typical American city."
They'll be looking for whatcha-call-its...
Just watch real estate values go up!
I've got a lunch date. I almost forgot.
Drop me at the hotel.
See you later.
I'm getting back to the office.
< Call from Chicago, Mr Mayor.
It's travelling like prairie fire.
Leaving in five minutes!
See what the people think!
Get an opinion on any subject!
"The Typical Tour Of The Typical Town."
A first-class look...
ROUSING MUSIC PLAYS
Railroad front's the stuff to buy.
Cost him 20 thousand. > I offered him 30.
'A boom has hit this town with a boom.'
Why, the shoeshine man himself is making money hand-over-fist.
'If you need a home, he'll supply that.
'Uh-oh. Here's something.
'Grandview sells its opinions.'
'They're putting up polling booths.
'Well, maybe I'm crazy.'
20 of these are already spread around the city.
You will each occupy one.
A reference library goes with every booth.
We want to make sure folks are thinking right.
Now, don't forget - take plenty of blank forms.
Wait a minute! >
What's this about? Who's the idiot that dreamed this up?
I am - I mean, er...
What's the matter? It was duly approved by the Board.
You're going to conduct your own polls?
That's our chief export - our opinions.
We're through giving them away.
We're selling them.
I've seen everything.
Everybody is instructed
not to give opinions to outsiders,
only to our official polltakers.
Folks, you all know your station.
May the best man or woman bring back the best answers.
'Let's take our microphone here.
'I'd like to give you some sidewalk interviews.
'Here. This couple just arrived.'
Why did you come here?
Would you tell our audience?
On account of my wife.
Her sister -
her sister in New York
kids her about being a hick.
Now we can say we live in Grandview.
That will shut her mouth.
I'm sure it will, sir.
Here's a gentleman. Would you say a few...
HE SLURS: I'll say something.
Give me that microphone!
The gentleman is too shy.
Here's an attractive little lady...
I want to talk to the radio guy.
Come on, Rip. I told Stringer I'd phone
as soon as I talked with you.
He says his proposition's still open.
Hey, this isn't a bad seat.
No use hanging around.
You can't do this town
any good... Not now.
A couple of ringside seats for a three-ring circus.
Bring on your baboons!
IKE: Take it easy, son!
Yeah. Better be quiet.
You know, Ike, I helped put on this show here.
You did, too, you know!
You helped put on this show.
Old Ike. Ha ha!
Mr Ike Sloan,
the great inseprario - an impresario.
Come on. Take a bow!
Come on. Come on. All right!
Ladies and gentlemen, introducing Mr Impresario,
the famous Ike!
Come on, take a bow.
Cut it! Sit down.
Cut it. Sit down.
Sit down(!) Shh(!)
Business property. >
Give me > business property.
Mary, this is terrific!
Made 15,000. We'll get those new printing presses yet!
It's paper profit. Please be careful.
Don't worry about me.
I wasn't born yesterday, you know.
Let's get some black coffee,
then phone Stringer.
And what do you think?
Should husbands bring pay-envelopes home...
Who do you represent?
Oh, nobody. I'm just naturally nosy.
Isn't all this just too, too divine?
That's me - just naturally nosy.
Sure. I know. Come on, son.
RIP: How do you like your town now?
How do you like your fancy,
beautiful circus of a town now, huh?
# I keep a book within my heart
# Where all my fondest memories are... #
Mr Twiddle took the earlier train.
All aboard! >
'But we were not satisfied. No, sir!
'We've added one half million dollars!'
One half million!
Pretty good for little old Grandview, huh?
I still think we're bats.
Why, the size of this thing!
At least Mary's plan made sense!
We're moving with the tide.
This is no time for penny-pinching.
The high school, for instance.
Her plan called for 40 classrooms.
Not enough, we say!
150 is what we'll have!
The bond issue hasn't been underwritten...
..What if something goes wrong?
Listen, my friend.
You're one of our new citizens, aren't you?
Well, you don't know us.
In 1890, our grandparents built our city hall
with their own hands.
If it comes to it, we'll do the same.
That's the kind of people we are!
Look, Mary. Isn't it wonderful?
Set up a new front page with news.
But, Mary, this...
I gave instructions
that none of this madness be printed.
The centre - it's something you've wanted.
It's something Papa wanted.
Yes, I know.
'Last day! Cast your opinion today.
'Would you vote a woman for United States President?
'Don't get shut out, now.
'Cast your opinion right away!'
IKE: They're cockeyed!
Where are the don't-knows?
Ask people if they still beat their grandmothers
and you'll get some don't-knows.
Please, Mr Stringer.
He'd rather be alone. He's thinking.
You mean sleeping.
How long is this going on?
He slept through the conference,
then woke and said, "I hope they use the back-pass dilemma".
What's the matter with him?
He makes a lot of noise.
I've been waiting to see you.
First Grandview poll is out.
Gallup released their results...
They'll be laughed out of existence.
The radio and newspapers
have been at it all day.
What are they saying?
IKE: Plenty. They're getting their teeth kicked in.
What that boy needs is a good dose
of sulphur and molasses...
GRANDVIEW sulphur and molasses!
BIG BAND MUSIC PLAYS ON RADIO
RADIO: 'This town that's always been right
'turned out to be ridiculously wrong.
'They were so out of tune with the country,
'people are beginning to wonder where Grandview is.
'Certainly, it can't be in the United States.
'There should be a moral in this.
'No-one should assume they know it all.
'What this little town of Grandview lost was humility,
'and when you've lost that, my friends,
'you've lost everything.
'They're the subject of ridicule throughout the country.'
Bet you had to study hard to become a moron.
Oh, no. I lived in Grandview.
'Ha, ha, ha!'
'This is my last broadcast from this ghost town,
'and ghost town it is.
'The people have even locked themselves in their homes,
'ashamed of their ludicrous behaviour.
'No community action is being taken.'
Excuse me, here comes a gentleman.
May I have your opinion?
I have no opinion.
It's kind of deserted, isn't it?
They don't come here anymore.
They won't even talk to each other anymore.
Gee, that's no good.
People ought to talk to each other.
Oh, Ma's the same.
Senator Wilton dropped in on me the other day.
Just came down from Washington.
Walked out on the Foreign Affairs Committee.
He said the pressure was on again.
He seemed restless, kind of lost.
He used to come here.
Oh, Mary, I had to come back.
I had to.
I couldn't work. I couldn't think.
I love you, Mary.
The nights I lay awake...
..hearing you say that.
The hinge on that door's been broken for years.
Nobody seems to want to fix it.
I love you, Mary.
There was a story.
We ran a news story the other day.
The usual one...
"Married woman who fell in love with another man."
Her husband stood in their way,
so finally, they killed him.
They thought they were free...
..but their crime created
a vicious war between them...
Until they destroyed each other.
We murdered a town, Rip - you and I.
We killed an idea
my father devoted a lifetime to.
Oh, Miss Mary.
I've looked every place.
Your telephone don't answer, and your mama wants you.
Your mama heard Mr Birch got a plan
for Freehall to run things here...
..I guess that means Grandview is finished...
..It's a shame, and nobody cares.
..Your mama says come right away!
Glad to see you, Mr Smith.
Been all over town talking to everybody,
trying to get them together.
Old man Harkins practically slammed
the door in his face.
Morning, Rip. How's it going?
Oh, fine. Fine.
Well, snow or rain, boom or bust,
the mail's still got to be delivered.
They need a leader, Mr Nickleby.
They've always followed you.
Get them to do something startling,
something that'll arouse the admiration of the whole country,
something to bolster up their confidence.
Go through with that civic centre.
Start building the high school again.
With what? This town's broke.
Tax yourselves at such a fantastic rate,
it'll be the talk of the country.
People who sacrifice everything
for the sake of the community.
I figured it'd take something crazy to wake them up!
Look, Senator Wilton is in town.
He's willing to do anything to help.
Suppose we get a group to do the initial financing.
Will you go along with it?
Try anything like that, and I'll stop it.
Now if you'll excuse me,
I have my own problems to work out.
Mr Nickleby, I realise your problems are serious,
but what about this town?
This was once a great team,
and you were an important member.
You're walking out!
The team's through.
Anybody with an ounce of brains would know that.
But, Mr Nickleby...
Do you mind?
No, I don't mind.
By all means, attend to your personal affairs.
So long, Hank.
Mr Birch, please.
Ben is signing the contract this afternoon.
Tomorrow Mary and I will be out of jobs.
Have a muffin. Go on.
It's my own recipe.
I know. I think I'll take toast.
It's Mr Smith, Ma'am.
Oh, come in, Rip.
Sorry I'm late, Mrs Wilton.
We didn't wait for you.
We missed you terribly.
I missed you, too.
Stop that fiddle-faddle and let the boy eat.
Stop that fiddle-faddle(!)
< What happened, Rip? Any luck?
Senator, you ever find yourself
swinging at windmills?
That sums up his career. Take a muffin.
Yes. I've heard about your muffins.
Take one anyway.
Did you talk to them about the high school?
Yeah. They thought I was crazy.
I remember all those big statements
at the dedication.
"We'll build it with our own hands if necessary."
Huh! Inflated with their puny success.
I must admit, I believed them.
Splashed it all over the front page.
Mary took one look and killed the story.
Excuse me. Mr Nickleby's boy.
He wants to see Mr Smith.
Excuse me, Mrs. Wilton. I heard Rip was here...
Hank, did you want to see me?
Is it private?
Private? No, I guess not.
When you were talking to my father,
he wasn't square with you.
He should have told you
he's selling the civic centre.
He's selling it?
Yes, Ma'am. The council gave him a mortgage.
Right after you left, he called up Mr Birch,
told him to hurry if he wanted the property.
Why tell me?
I don't know. I figured maybe you could...
I don't know what I figured.
I guess I shouldn't be doing this.
I guess it's all wrong.
I love my father, Rip.
He's a swell guy, but...
You see, it's not the high school that matters.
What you said is right.
A guy shouldn't be walking out on the team.
I don't like to see Pop doing it.
I begged him not to.
This certainly turned out to be a dopey town.
SENATOR: It took a lot to make that boy do that.
This town better start un-doping itself.
What are we going to do, Rip?
Hey, Ma. That front page...
the one with the story about the high school,
the one Mary killed. Is there a copy of that?
What time do you go to press?
Senator, could I use your telephone?
There's one right there.
What are you going to do?
We're going to get Nickleby
back on that team...
Nickleby and everybody else.
We're going to print this story in today's issue.
Quote that big talk and fancy statements.
As if they were just made?
But that happened weeks ago, Rip.
Mislaid the story. Let them sue us.
That's what I call ramming it down their gullets!
Let me speak to Miss Peterman, please.
What'll all this accomplish?
It'll wake these people up!
It may even get them around that stove again,
talking, arguing, choosing sides!
This sounds wonderful!
That's just part of it.
We'll make sure this gets national publicity.
We'll contact the wire services, the radio!
They'll HAVE to do something.
They'll string us up to the nearest pole.
So they string us up to the nearest pole!
At least they'll be doing something together.
Has the paper gone to press?
Good. Ma and I will be right over.
I want to try something that...
Mary, this town isn't dead yet.
We have a good chance of saving it.
That is, if you're crazy enough
to go along with the guy that...
That's all I wanted to know.
Thank you, Mary. We'll be right over.
Come on, gorgeous. We got to get moving!
Good heavens! I'm so excited,
I nearly ate one of my own muffins.
It's your story, GH
A normal town pulls a prize boner.
They're left broke and humiliated.
These wonderful people won't fold up!
Instead, they hitch up their britches,
spit in their hands, and start swinging!
Thank you, Nickleby.
Look at this, boss.
You just sold me that property!
RIP: Here comes another bunch!
It's working like a charm.
We'll have the whole town around that stove.
..OK. Now do your stuff.
Where's Mrs Peterman?
Mary's the one I want!
They're not in.
Down to the meeting hall.
They can't do this!
< You can't get away with this!
We demand the story > be retracted!
It's a pack of lies! >
We're going to sue for libel or something!
< That's what we should do.
Anybody claim they haven't been properly quoted?
That was under different circumstances!
What insolence! >
Somebody get > Mr Nickleby!
These people are cuckoo.
Can't find him.
Can't find Rip anywhere.
< Here comes Mr Nickleby now!
I always thought you were sensible, Mary.
Is this your idea of a practical joke?
If you're interested in practical jokes, Mr Nickleby,
read some of your own statements.
Funny. Very funny.
All of us have a case against you
and against Smith.
RADIO: 'These magnificent people are plunging into a project
'that will arouse the envy of every community planner...'
Shut that off!
Richard, I want to hear that.
'They're going to build a civic centre,
'even though it may mean sacrifice
'for everyone in the entire community.
'Before I sign off, I want to say...
'more power to you, Grandview.
'In your circumstances, it takes great courage
'to tackle a programme of such magnitude.'
It certainly does.
Some of you may go crazy, but not me!
No radio commentator will sweet-talk me into bankruptcy.
If you've got sense, you'll forget this.
We'll see you in court!
< It's Rip!
What's this all about, son?
We were promised a whatcha-call-it... a new high school -
and we want it.
Hank, come home this minute!
..Do you hear me?
We decided if you quit the team,
we're going to quit, too.
We don't want to be ashamed of our town.
If you don't go through with the high school,
we'll be laughed at worse than ever.
We don't want to always be razzed.
Are we going to let these brats
tell us how to run our affairs?
We're trying to get you to stick by the team -
you and everybody else.
Rip says you're all wonderful people,
but you just lost your nerve.
Why can't we do it?
Your fathers and grandfathers
fought when they were in a jam!
What they did is part of our beautiful history!
What's wrong with us?
Where's the money coming from?
I'll read your statement, Mr Mayor.
"If necessary, we'll use our own two hands."
What about that, Mr Mayor?
Mary, are you suggesting that we do that?
Actually build it with our own hands?
If everybody helped, Ed...
This is idiotic! >
..The council approved the sale of the property!
First I hear of it.
Hey. Hey, Mike.
Mom, you're on the council.
Rip says you had no right to approve it.
Rip says it's got to be put up to the voters.
It should be up to the voters. That's city property.
What about that, > Mr Nickleby?
We were going to do that.
We intended to have a vote.
We assumed you wouldn't care.
< Wouldn't care!?
Ed, this is terrible.
< Rip Smith is right. We lost our nerve.
I don't know about you,
but I don't like this.
It's tough to admit you've been a fool,
but, well, look at us.
Mr Nickleby assumed we wouldn't care,
wouldn't care if we didn't get a chance to vote.
When I get to that point,
I'll find myself a nice hole and crawl in.
But I'm not ready for that, in spite of Mr Nickleby.
..Maybe whether a town lives or dies
isn't important to some people,
but it is to me.
I feel as if my own family is breaking up,
and I don't like it.
If building a high school can save it, I'm for it.
I'll organise everyone that can handle a tool
and guarantee a first-class plumbing job.
Good for you, Pop! >
I'll do the same with the carpenters.
I'll handle lighting.
Count on my boys!
< I'll get painters!
I'll close my office and supervise the job!
That's whatcha-call-it... swell, Pop!
Is everybody willing to help?
Hand me the paintbrush and stand back.
This will take years.
Suppose it does. What's the hurry?
Hey. Hey, there's Senator Wilton!
The head of a flagging opinion-poll company discovers a town which accurately reflects the average American's opinions, and immediately recognises its money-making potential. Posing as an insurance agent, he manages to glean valuable information from the locals - until a local newspaper reporter becomes suspicious and threatens to expose his scam to the world.