The President's Mystery (September 28, 1936)
Released on September 28, 1936: (running time 53 minutes) President Franklin D. Roosevelt challenged 6 great authors with creating the story of a man who disappears with a fortune, never to be found again, this moive was the result.
Produced by Nat Levine
Directed by Phil Rosen
Written by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Samuel Hopkins Adams, Lester Cole, John Erskine, Rupert Hughes, Fulton Oursler, S.S. Van Dine, Rita Weiman and Nathanael West
The Actors: Henry Wilcoxon (James Blake, aka James Carter), Betty Furness (Charlotte Brown), Sidney Blackmer (George Sartos), Evelyn Brent (Ilka Blake), Barnett Parker (Roger, Blake's butler), Mel Ruick (Andrew, Sartos' chauffeur), Wade Boteler (Floyd, Springvale Sheriff), John Wray (Shane Clinton, Springvale banker), Guy Usher (Springvale Police Lieutenant), Robert Homans (Springvale Sergeant), Si Jenks (Earl, farmer), Arthur Aylesworth (Joe Reed), Harry Antrim (Inspector A.R. Lahey), Byron Foulger (unknown), Roy Barcroft (townsman), Clem Bevans (bus passenger), Horace B. Carpenter (townsman), John Dilson (New York banker), Lester Dorr (townsman), Lee Ford (townsman), Harry Harvey (diner cashier), Edward Hearn (town meeting moderator), Max Hoffman Jr. (phony townsman), John Ince (Gorman), June Johnson (unknown), Lydia Knott (unknown), Theodore Lorch (townsman), Mira McKinney (phony townswoman), George Morrell (bartender), Frank O'Connor (detective), Fred Parker (townsman), Clifton Young (townsman)
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You Can Be Sure, . . . If It’s Westinghouse!
Betty Furness was born on Long Island and grew up in a wealthy family living on Park Avenue. She quit school at the age of sixteen to become a John Robert Powers model and was soon noticed by Hollywood. Still sixteen, she got a movie part and finished her high school with a private tutor on the RKO movie lot.
In 1933, at the age of seventeen, Betty Furness is at the Brown Derby restaurant with Johnny Farrow, Maureen O’Sullivan, and Howard Hughes, owner of the RKO studios. At 12:30am they raise a glass of champagne to celebrate the end of Prohibition, toasting President Roosevelt. A week later, the new teenage actress again makes headlines by spending the weekend at the El Mirador in Palm Springs, sporting a bathing suit with red, white and blue checks, with a dark blue flannel trunk and a separate patriotic tie-around skirt.
At the age of nineteen she and Cary Grant are a constant gossip column item. Betty Furness was twenty years old when she starred in this story, on loan from the MGM studios. Three years later, at the age of 23, she would make her final Hollywood film, moving back to New York.
In 1948, while acting on a live television drama sponsored by Westinghouse, the actress that was supposed to do the Westinghouse appliance commercial was suddenly unavailable, and Betty Furness offered to do the commercial. Westinghouse was blown away by her performance, and immediately signed her to a lucrative contract to become the official Westinghouse Girl.
Betty Furness later became a television reporter with a focus on consumer affairs, giving viewers warning about deceptive products and advertising. In 1974, at the age of fifty-eight, she was hired to be the consumer advocate for the NBC morning show, The Today Show. Supposedly Betty Furness hand-knitted some ties that host Dave Garroway occasionally wore on air. Her Today Show contract was not renewed sixteen years later, when she was seventy-four, and her absence generated a lot of mail and commentary about networks getting rid of older on-screen personalities in favor of young baby-boomers.
In this story she is the young daughter of a cannery owner who died, leaving the cannery to her. Unfortunately, she is unable to start the business again, and without it the small town of Springdale will probably become a ghost town. Fortunately, a millionaire who wants to disappear from the face of the earth shows up in Springvale, and he soon falls in love with the small town and the girl who owns a broken-down cannery. All goes well until the murder. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Arthur Aylesworth, John Wray
Barnett Parker, Mel Ruick
Betty Furness, Henry Wilcoxon
Clem Bevans, Henry Wilcoxon
Guy Usher, Henry Wilcoxon
Henry Wilcoxon, Evelyn Brent
Henry Wilcoxon, Harry Harvey
Henry Wilcoxon, Si Jenks
Henry Wilcoxon, Sidney Blackmer
Max Hoffman Jr.
Robert Homans, Guy Usher, Henry Wilcoxon