Red Lights Ahead (November 29, 1936)
Released on November 29, 1936: Grandpa teaches his lazy grandchildren the value of working for what you want in life.
Directed by Roland D. Reed
Written by Robert Ellis and Helen Logan.
The Actors: Andy Clyde (Grandpa Hopkins), Lucile Gleason (Molly 'Ma' Wallace), Roger Imhof (Pa Wallace), Ben Alexander (George Wallace), Ann Doran (Mary Wallace), Frank Coghlan Jr. (Willie Wallace), Paula Stone (Edna Wallace), Addison Randall (Nordingham), Sam Flint (Franklin Q. Whitney), Eleanor Stewart (Celeste the maid), Herbert Clifton (Perkins), Gordon De Main (detective), Lester Dorr (Charles the chauffeur), Jack W. Johnston (lodge member), Matty Kemp (Jerry Carruthers), Lafe McKee (lodge member), Robert McKenzie (Joe Digan, lodge member).
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One of the wealthiest men that I have met owns a pawn shop. He buys and sells second hand items that people don't want or cannot afford any more. From lowly 'junk' he earns more than most of us could imagine. One of my mentors, Bob Proctor, was a fireman in Toronto, Canada without a high school education when he discovered that he could mop floors as well as anyone. He got janitor jobs on the side and after a few years was the head of his own international janitorial company and making a fortune. The lesson here is not that you can only get rich by doing something considered 'lowly' - plenty of people get rich discovering gold and oil also. The lesson is to discover the skill or passion or talent that you have and love, and work it every day to the best of your abilities. It matters little what the skill is - the important thing is that you are passionate about it. If you are passionate about it, you can learn how to do it better than anyone around you, and you can learn how to create value for others that they will be happy to pay you for. You don't need to cheat anyone . . . you don't need to con anyone . . . you don't need to deceive anyone. The skills and talents that you can develop by following your passion are much more valuable than you could ever imagine. And take it from an old fart who learned this very late in life and wishes that someone had taught him these truths when he was much younger . . . if you are not taking steps towards your passion every day . . . hells-bells . . . if you haven't even sat quietly and asked yourself what your life passion is, and waited quietly for the answer . . . you are cheating yourself and everyone around you out of abundant blessings that are there for the taking. Just watch Grandpa in this movie, and read between the lines . . .
If it looks too good to be true . . . most likely it is. Grandpa knows this, but it is a lesson that the Wallace family will learn the hard way. The most telling line in the script is when the gold digging maid tells the grocery list skimming butler that there is plenty of money for everyone in this family of fools. Besides Ma and Pa Wallace, there are two grown boys and two adult girls - and the only wage earner is poor old Pa, with his job at the printing plant. The kids think that they are entitled to a life of leisure without working for it. Now, this is 1936, and America is still in the grips of the Great Depression. I'll bet that there were plenty of con men with get rich quick schemes that did just what the gangsters in this movie did - convince people with just a little bit of money that they can get all the money they desire merely by turning over their cash to the con men. No work involved. Near the end of the movie one of the lazy brothers declares that the only way to lick a depression is to go to work. Of course, in the real 1936 Great Depression world there were not enough jobs available for all of the men and women that wanted jobs, but that isn't covered in this tale of rags to riches to rags to riches. Reading between the lines tells me that even in tough times like the Great Depression, or the current Great Recession that the world has been in since 2008, there is always room for another junk man, and riches can still be had by following your passion.
Addison Randall lays the soft soap talk on real thick to Lucile Gleason and Ann Doran
Andy Clyde as Grandpa Hopkins - everyone thinks he is an old, senile fool.
Ann Doran and Addison Randall
Ben Alexander and Roger Imhof
Ben Alexander sings as he shaves, while the girls want into the only bath room in the house.
Frank Coghlan Jr. has fallen in love with the phoney French maid, played by Eleanor Stewart
Frank Coghlan Jr. and Ann Doran argue over using the bathroom
Ann Doran practices her French with the butler, played by Herbert Clifton
Ben Alexander tries to impress the butler with his amazing radio voice.
Herbert Clifton and Lucile Gleason at the breakfast table
Lafe McKee is the door guard for the meeting of the Whale Lodge.
Lucile Gleason watches Andy Clyde belt down a swallow of the alcohol 'tonic' he always has with him.
Lucille Gleason and Ann Doran
Lucile Gleason and Paula Stone
Lucile Gleason as Molly 'Ma' Wallace
Paula Stone and Ann Doran with Ann's crystal ball
Paula Stone and Matty Kemp
Paula Stone as daughter Edna Wallace
Andy Clyde looks at the Bee Hive lodge hat on Roger Imhof
Roger Imhof and Lucile Gleason
Roger Imhof, as Pa Wallace, gets home from work
Lucile Gleason likes her man Roger Imhof in his Whale Lodge uniform.
Gordon De Main is the police detective that exposes Sam Flint and Addison Randall as scheming gangsters.
Sam Flint and Robert McKenzie try to sell Pa Wallace some worthless gold mine stock.
Sam Flint, as Franklin Q. Whitney, head of the Whale Lodge
The Wallace family gathers around the radio to hear George Wallace on his first job as a radio announcer.