The Law of Contact

A Successful Failure (October 15, 1934)

William Collier Sr.
 

Released on October 15, 1934: (running time 61 minutes) When Papa is fired from his job, he must find a new way to support his family.

Produced by George Yohalem

Directed by Arthur Lubin

The Actors: William Collier Sr. (Ellery Cushing, Uncle Dudley, newspaper copy reader), Lucile Gleason (Mrs. Cushing), Russell Hopton (Phil Stardon, newspaper reporter), George P. Breakston (Tommy Cushing), William Janney (Robert Cushing), Gloria Shea (Ruth Cushing), Clarence Wilson (H.T. Flintly, News Record Editor), Jameson Thomas (Jerry Franklin, Ruth's beau), Richard Tucker (J.W. Blair, Atlas Broadcasting), Dick Curtis (man in rally crowd), William Gould (reporter), Francis McDonald (radical speaker in park), Frank O'Connor (man on bench), Edward Peil Sr. (E.D. Hale, Assistant Editor)

 

The Law of Contact

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Uncle Dudley, The Park Bench, and the Family that didn't Believe in Him

Before there was a “Prairie Home Companion,” there was Uncle Dudley. Before Andy Rooney made his first commentary at the end of a “60 Minutes” television show, there was Uncle Dudley. Before Robert Young was father in “Father Knows Best,” there was Uncle Dudley. In the Museum of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Margaret Herrick Library, there is a shelf with three linear feet of the writings and comedy sketches penned by William Collier, Sr.

Eddy Foy was a famous Vaudeville performer that appeared in the instant hit “Bluebeard, Jr.” a ribald comedy that opened to standing room only crowds in Chicago. When the show went on the road in New York City, an eleven-year-old boy not only snuck in to watch the adult comedy, but he went backstage after the show and managed to get hired. Willie Morenus ran away from home, changed his name to William Collier, and acted with the Eddy Foy Vaudeville production around the country. As a teenager William Collier moved from the Vaudeville circuit to Broadway, and then to motion pictures.

In this story he is Ellery Cushing, an old man working as a copy reader at a large newspaper. He walks to work every evening after supper, proof-reading all of the text that will be in the next morning’s newspaper. He walks back home before sunrise, while the morning newspaper is being printed and delivered.

During his afternoon free time, he writes comic sayings, and he would like the newspaper to buy them and print them so that he could have more money for his family. Unfortunately, the newspaper thinks that his writings are garbage and they not only refuse to print his writings, but they fire him from his job.

Now he has no job, in the middle of the Great Depression, when there are fifty willing men going after every available job. Papa may be at the end of his rope, or maybe that rope end is just the beginning, not the end. Maybe getting fired at the newspaper was the best thing that could happen on his journey to success. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

The Family
The Family
Clarence Wilson
Clarence Wilson
George P. Breakston
George P. Breakston
George P. Breakston
George P. Breakston
Gloria Shea
Gloria Shea
Gloria Shea, Lucile Gleason
Gloria Shea, Lucile Gleason
Gloria Shea, Russell Hopton
Gloria Shea, Russell Hopton
Gloria Shea, William Collier Sr.
Gloria Shea, William Collier Sr.
Gloria Shea
Gloria Shea
Gloria Shea
Gloria Shea
Gloria Shea
Gloria Shea
Gloria Shea, Russell Hopton
Gloria Shea, Russell Hopton
Gloria Shea
Gloria Shea
Jameson Thomas
Jameson Thomas
Lucile Gleason
Lucile Gleason
Lucile Gleason, Gloria Shea
Lucile Gleason, Gloria Shea
William Janney
William Janney
Lucile Gleason, William Collier Sr.
Lucile Gleason, William Collier Sr.
Lucile Gleason
Lucile Gleason
Richard Tucker
Richard Tucker
Richard Tucker
Richard Tucker
Russell Hopton
Russell Hopton
Russell Hopton, William Collier Sr.
Russell Hopton, William Collier Sr.
Russell Hopton
Russell Hopton
Russell Hopton, William Collier Sr.
Russell Hopton, William Collier Sr.
Russell Hopton
Russell Hopton
William Collier Sr.
William Collier Sr.
William Collier Sr.
William Collier Sr.
William Collier Sr., George P. Breakston
William Collier Sr., George P. Breakston
William Collier Sr., Gloria Shea
William Collier Sr., Gloria Shea
William Collier Sr., Lucile Gleason
Norman Leavitt and Wayne Morris
William Collier Sr.
William Collier Sr.
William Collier Sr.
William Collier Sr.
William Collier Sr.
William Collier Sr.
William Janney
William Janney