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Gasoline Alley

Gasoline Alley(1951)

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In the 1920s, when bachelor Walt Wallet discovers a baby abandoned on his doorstep, he adopts the boy and names him Skeezix. Later, Walt marries Phyllis and they have two more children, Corky and Judy. The years pass and after serving in World War II, Skeezix gets married and starts his own business. Corky is now attending college and Judy is in high school. One evening, Corky returns home with a bride, Hope, and announces that he has quit college and intends to start a career. The newlyweds move in with Corky's parents and, although Walt and Skeezix are concerned about them and offer to help Corky find a job, Corky tells Hope that he has always been regarded as the kid brother and now intends to make it on his own. Corky submits various employment applications and is eventually hired as a model for a mail-order catalog. At the photographic studio, Corky meets attractive, seductive model Carol Rice, who expresses more than a passing interest in him and offers to help him to find other modeling assignments. When Corky shows the photo proofs to Hope, however, she becomes jealous of Carol. One day, while on his way to Walt's office building to apply for a job, Corky sees a "Help Wanted" sign in a restaurant window. To Walt's dismay, Corky takes the job as a dishwasher at a dollar an hour. Three weeks later, Pudge McKay, the restaurant's cook, is showing Corky how to prepare food when Joe Allen, an old army friend of Pudge, tells him about a diner that is available for lease. Corky believes this might be an ideal opportunity for him and asks Pudge to accompany him to inspect the property. Although they find the diner to be dirty, rundown and poorly managed, Pudge notes that is in a good location and has considerable potential. When Walt and Skeezix arrive to look at the diner, Pudge is delighted to see Skeezix, who was his sergeant in the army. After Pudge says that he will help Corky to run the diner, Skeezix agrees to lease it, and an adjoining parking lot, in his name because Corky is not yet of legal age. The entire Wallet family pitches in to clean up the diner and it is soon ready for business. On opening day, however, no customers appear and Corky is dismayed to discover that a nearby construction project has closed the street for several weeks. Hope, who is working at the diner as a waitress, entices the construction crew to eat there and they become regular customers. Another regular is a slick hustler named Harry Dorsey, who has designs on Hope. Dorsey tells Hope that he has reason to believe that the diner is about to be demolished and, unaware that she is married to Corky, offers to tell her more if she will go on a date with him. Corky insists on going along on the date, posing as Hope's brother, and enlists Carol as his date. While Corky struggles to resist Carol's wiles, Hope learns from Dorsey that he works for a chain of drive-in restaurants that intends to buy the diner site and build one of their own establishments. When Dorsey continues to romance Hope, Corky and he come to fisticuffs. The next day, Dorsey and his boss, Mr. Hacker, offer Corky double the amount paid for the lease and warn that if he does not agree to their terms, they will build nearby and put him out of business. Later, at a Wallet family conference, Hacker repeats his offer and Skeezix thinks they should accept. Meanwhile, at the diner, regular customer Charles D. Haven, who has been trying for several days to talk with Corky, tells Pudge that he wants to acquire the parking lot and makes a very substantial offer that will save the diner. Skeezix and Corky are about to sign Hacker's contracts when Pudge phones with news of Haven's offer and asks them to stall until he and Haven can get there. When Hacker refuses to wait and threatens to withdraw, Joe, a former pickpocket, helps Corky to delay matters by "borrowing" all the fountain pens in the house. After a frantic, hair-raising car ride from the diner, Pudge and Haven arrive and, although Haven is in a state of collapse from the trip, he repeats his offer, which far exceeds Hacker's. Corky asks Haven to write two checks, one to him and the other to Skeezix to pay off his loan. Corky and Hope embrace and Corky announces an addition--to the diner.