All That I Have (January 1, 1951)
Released on January 1, 1951: A wealthy elderly man is being tried for his sanity because he gave money to gangsters and con-men.
Produced by Pierre Couderc
Directed by William F. Claxton
Written by Leete Renick Brown, Herman W. Gockel and Charles F. Royal
The Actors: Houseley Stevenson (Doctor Charles Grayson), Donald Woods (Pastor William Goodwin), Onslow Stevens (Attorney Palmer), Robert Stevenson (Peter Grover), John Eldredge (Court Justice Webster), Tom Neal (Bert Grayson), Paul Cavanagh (Doctor James Brady), Russell Hicks (Jess Northrup), Al Bridge (gardener John Biddle), Effie Laird (Mary Biddle, Dr. Charlie's housekeeper), Joe Devlin (Louie Lumpkin), Esther Howard (Mrs. Dalton), Houseley Stevenson Jr. (Ken Grayson), Chester Clute (juror Meek, exterminator), Tim Ryan (Ben Renson), Jimmy Lloyd (reporter Noonan), Emory Parnell (juror Barstow), Franklin Parker (newspaper rewrite man Joe), James Guilfoyle (jury foreman Sam), Clark Howat (Doctor George Wagnell), George Pembroke (Private Eye Richard Gorman), Lee Bennett (reporter), Eddie Dew (court bailiff), Chris Drake (Private Eye Richard Gormancourt reporter), Edythe Elliott (propsective juror Mrs. Burton), John Parrish (juror Carlson), Lee Phelps (cop in park), Cosmo Sardo (reporter)
Never Ask This Question . . .
A couple of years ago while driving in nearly-rural Niles, Ohio where I live, I suddenly got the urge to stop at a gas station and buy a bunch of scratch lottery tickets. Now, you gotta know that I buy lottery tickets maybe 4 or 5 times a year, usually when one of the big jackpots is in record territory. On this day I just got this urge to spend a certain amount of money . . . I had a hunch that something big was waiting for me, and I always follow my hunches . . . . for my standards it was a HUGE amount of money to spend on instant lottery tickets.
I pulled into the gas station and went inside where one could buy bread, milk, newspapers and what not. When I got to the girl running the cash register there was a very young fellow ahead of me trying to pay for some gasoline for his car. He was obviously running on fumes and needed some gasoline badly. The credit card he swiped in the little card machine was declined, and he then tried his bank card. It would not clear for $20 so he tried $10 and it too was declined. He tried again for $5 and then for $3, which would barely buy one gallon of gasoline, but no luck.
During the few minutes that this was happening I was angrily building up some silent irritation at not being able to quickly get my lottery tickets and get out . . . . I was in a hurry . . . I was always in a hurry back then . . . and of course, I always seemed to encounter people ahead of me in line who could not complete a quick transaction if their life depended on it. Does that ever happen to you?
Finally the young guy left without purchasing any gasoline for his car and with relief I bought the lottery tickets and got out of there as fast as I could. Later, after scratching all of the tickets and winning nothing, my mind did something that started to change me forever.
I couldn't stop thinking about that little gas station and the boy ahead of me who was desperately trying to put a little gasoline in his car . . . the money that I had just wasted on little cardboard tickets that turned out to be worthless could have put a bit of gas in that fellow's car, and certainly would have done him more good than the tickets did for me.
There are few days even now that I don't think about that incident and re-play the outcome differently. The concept of 'paying it forward' is fairly common today, with examples all around us . . . but back in 1951 this story introduces an element that I haven't encountered before, and I'm still not completely sure of the correct answer . . . . What if I 'pay it forward' to gangsters, con men and ex-convicts? Am I responsible for any evil that might be done with my gift?
This story is about an elderly and wealthy surgeon who is taken to court for giving money to gangsters and con-men, and the jury will decide his guilt or innocence. If he is lied to or mislead when he tries to 'pay it forward' . . . If people are deliberately trying to take advantage of him . . . What are the consequences?
There is a well-known legal saying that a lawyer should never, ever, ever ask a witness on the stand a question that the lawyer isn't sure what the witness will answer. The whole of this story rests on a surprise question asked of an unusual witness during this man's trial . . . Produced by the Presbyterian Church in 1951, the question is "Why" . . . and the answer is . . . Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Donald Woods and Eddie Dew
Effie Laird and Al Bridge
Houseley Stevenson and Robert Stevenson
Joe Devlin and Houseley Stevenson
John Eldredge and Onslow Stevens
Paul Cavanagh-and Robert Stevenson
Russell Hicks and Onslow Stevens
Tim Ryan and Robert Stevenson