Big Town Scandal (May 27, 1948)
Released on May 27, 1948: A lady newspaper reporter convinces her boss to help young teen delinquents stay out of trouble by playing basketball, but the gangsters have other ideas.
Directed by William C. Thomas
Written by Daniel Mainwaring, Milton Raison and Maxwell Shane.
The Actors: Phillip Reed (Steve Wilson), Hillary Brooke (Lorelei Kilbourne), Stanley Clements (Tommy Malone), Darryl Hickman (Harold 'Skinny' Peters), Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer (Frankie Snead), Roland Dupree (John 'Pinky' Jones), Tommy Bond (Waldo 'Dum-Dum' Riggs), Vince Barnett (Louie Snead, bondsman), Charles Arnt (Amos Peabody, publisher), Joseph Allen (Wally Blake, reporter), Donna Martell (Marion Harrison), John Phillips (Joe Moreley), Reginald Billado (Cato, henchman), Sam Balter (basketball game announcer), Lane Chandler (irate store owner), Lester Dorr (man passing Steve in hallway), Edward Earle (court clerk), Franklyn Farnum (squad car policeman), Mary Gordon (Mary, cleaning woman), Don C. Harvey (Police Lieutenant Peterson), Thomas E. Jackson (Police Chief), Richard Keene (Jimmy O'Brien), Ralph Montgomery (basketball crowd extra), Grandon Rhodes (Judge Hogan), Frank J. Scannell (Smiling Charlie Kaye), Harry Shannon (Police Captain Henry), Archie Twitchell (newspaper man), Charles C. Wilson (editor of the Chronicle).
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I have two memories from my youth that are sports related. When I was eleven or twelve years old we were living in Meadville, Pennsylvania and one of the men in dad's church was coaching a little league team. He asked dad if he could take me to the practices and make me part of his team. Dad played football when he was in high school in Canfield, Ohio, and although he was a preacher and not terribly athletic as an older man, he allowed me to join the little league team. Well, after two or three weeks of going to practice and trying to learn how to play baseball, I was quietly dropped from the team and never asked again. My other exposure to organized sports came when I was in high school in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. They were a little smarter there, and I was never asked to join any sports teams. But I was asked by the basketball coach if I was interested in becoming a 'manager' for the basketball team. It involved absolutely no sports ability, and I did pretty well at it. I was the team 'gopher' - I learned to wrap each player's ankles with an ace bandage to help strengthen them, and during the games I kept a chart of each attempted basket. After the games I collected all of the soiled uniforms and towels and got them into the duffle bags and off to the laundry.
Good times. Yes, I really mean that. I enjoyed being that close to 'jocks' and I don't recall any animosity from the players towards my grunt-work for the team. And I enjoyed getting on the school bus for away games on Tuesdays and Fridays and visiting the nearby small towns that we played against. But long before I discovered my passion for computers and old media files and web pages, I knew that sports would not be one of my crowning achievements in life.
This movie from 1948 is an early example of the post WWII baby boom generation and the national focus on teens. A big city newspaper takes charge of a group of 'Juvenile Delinquents' and tries to reform them into productive adults by providing jobs at the paper, and a place to play basketball in their spare time. But the local gangsters get their star player to throw games so that the gangsters can gamble on the games and make big money. Will the kids fall into the criminal ways of the gangsters, or reject crime and help put the gangsters away? Heh, what do you think? Fans of old movies will enjoy seeing child star Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer, and Darryl Hickman, and some of you may be familiar with veteran character actors Lester Dorr and Franklyn Farnum. All in all, a great way to spend an hour with a good story and a big bowl of hot buttered white kernel popcorn.