Meet John Doe (May 3, 1941)
Released May 3, 1941: This is a classic Frank Capra story, showcasing Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwicyck at their best. A poor man agrees to impersonate a fictional man that is threatening suicide, and as his fame increases, so do the sub plots and the complications.
Directed by Frank Capra
Written by Richard Connell and Robert Presnell Sr.
The Actors: Gary Cooper (Long John Willoughby, aka John Doe), Barbara Stanwyck (Ann Mitchell), Edward Arnold (D.B. Norton), Walter Brennan (The Colonel), Spring Byington (Mrs. Mitchell), James Gleason (Henry Connell), Gene Lockhart (Mayor Lovett), Rod La Rocque (Ted Sheldon), Irving Bacon (Beany), Regis Toomey (Bert Hansen, head soda jerker), J. Farrell MacDonald (Sourpuss Smithers), and Warren Hymer (Angelface), Harry Holman (Mayor Hawkins), Andrew Tombes (Spencer from the Daily Chronicle), Pierre Watkin (Hammett the political boss), Stanley Andrews (Weston, a political boss), Mitchell Lewis (Bennett, labor leader), Charles C. Wilson (Charlie Dawson, promoter), Vaughan Glaser (Governor Jackson), Sterling Holloway (Dan, the counter man at the diner), M.J. Frankovich (radio announcer at convention), Knox Manning (radio announcer at convention), John B. Hughes (radio announcer at convention), Frank Austin (Grubbel, a John Doe applicant), Benny Bartlett (Red, office boy), Mary Benoit (secretary), Aldrich Bowker (Pop Dwyer, Connell's aide), Sidney Bracey (club member), Earle D. Bunn (policeman), Howard Chase (electrician), Jack Cheatham (policeman with the Desk Sergeant), Edmund Cobb (policeman guarding Ann), Mildred Coles (secretary), Alan Copeland (choirboy), Madge Crane (Mrs. Brewster), Floyd Criswell (electrician), Billy Curtis (midget), Lew Davis (electrician), Ann Doran (Mrs. Hansen), Edward Earle (radio emcee), Sarah Edwards (Mrs. Hawkins), Carl Ekberg (reporter), Paul Everton (G.O.P. man), Frank Fanning (reporter), Franklyn Farnum (bit part), Eddie Fetherston (reporter), Pat Flaherty (Mike, Daily Chronicle agent), Bess Flowers (Mattie, newspaper secretary), Fern Formica (female midget), William Forrest (the Governor's associate), Charles K. French (a fired reporter), Jack Gardner (photographer), William Gould (Sergeant), Eddie Graham (the tall autograph hound), Alfred Hall (Chamber of Commerce member), John Hamilton (Jim, Governor's associate), Kenneth Harlan (publicity man), Forrester Harvey (a bum), Edward Hearn (the Mayor's secretary), Oscar 'Dutch' Hendrian (radio station audience member), John Ince (doctor), Selmer Jackson (radio announcer at the convention), Frank Jaquet (Police Desk Sergeant), Carlotta Jelm (Ann's sister), Eddie Kane (Wall Street Tycoon), Edward Keane (Relief Administrator), Richard Kipling (Police Commissioner), Isabel La Mal (Chamber of Commerce member), Melvin Lang (foreign dignitary), Walter Linden (photographer), Hank Mann (photographer at the hotel), Alphonse Martell (foreign dignitary), Frank Mayo (attendant), Lafe McKee (Mr. Delaney), James McNamara (Sheriff), Edward McWade (Joe, the elderly typesetter), George Melford (Chamber of Commerce member), Frank Meredith (guard), James Millican (photographer), Charles R. Moore (City Hall Janitor), Jack Mower (guard), Forbes Murray (legislator), Gail Newbray (telephone operator), Garry Owen (sign painter), Bob Perry (delegate to the convention), Susan Peters (autograph hound), John J. Richardson (man in diner), Cyril Ring (radio technician), Henry Roquemore (Chamber of Commerce member), Cliff Saum (guard), Walter Soderling (Barrington, political boss), Wyndham Standing (Democrat), Edwin Stanley (Democrat), Bert Stevens (radio station audience member), Brick Sullivan (policeman), Emma Tansey (Mrs. Delaney), Tina Thayer (Ann's sister), Cyril Thornton (D.B.'s butler), Jim Thorpe (John Doe applicant), Don Turner (guard), Guy Usher (Bixler), Tom Wilson (man in diner and man in radio station audience), Jack Wise (delegate), Maris Wrixon (autograph hound).
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The Christmas Eve Jumper
The Bulletin is an old and respected newspaper in New York City, and as our story opens the newspaper has a new owner and a new name and a new managing editor. We watch as the cutthroat editor fires most of the old employees . . . circulation must be increased with new and exciting stories from new and exciting reporters.
Ann Mitchell, played by Barbara Stanwyck, is the daughter of a small town physician and she is losing her job because her column doesn't have the fireworks that the new newspaper wants . . . Oh . . . By the way, the new editor growls, you owe the newspaper one last column before you leave the building . . . And that, my friends, is the seed for one of the greatest Christmas stories ever put onto the big screen.
In a sudden fit of fury at losing her job because her column doesn't have enough fireworks in it, she writes her final story . . . A story about a man who promises to jump to his death from the roof of City Hall on Christmas Eve because he is fed up with the rotten people in a rotten world with no jobs and no joy . . . Only misery, hunger and hate.
When the story hits the streets it goes viral quickly and everyone in the city, including the biggest newspaper competitor, who is announcing that the story is fake news, and the New Bulletin is now printing lies. Well, all of a sudden Barbara Stanwyck and the crabby editor decide that they need to find a real John Doe and introduce him to the world and write a new blockbuster newspaper article every day until Christmas.
Enter Long John Willoughby, played by Gary Cooper, a washed up baseball player who is now a tramp travelling the country with his vagrant buddy the Colonel, played by Walter Brennan. As his fame grows, the newspaper gal arranges to have him speak on a nationwide radio program, and she writes his speech from the notes that her deceased doctor father had written many years ago. But there is a catch that may destroy everything . . . The competition newspaper offers John Doe five thousand dollars to read a speech that they wrote, where he confesses that he is a phony.
The big night arrives, the radio studio is packed, and Gary Cooper, as John Doe, pulls out the confession and is ready to face the microphone, when suddenly . . . Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
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