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Safety in Numbers

Safety in Numbers(1938)

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In Maryville, U.S.A., Lucy Jones learns that she has won a radio contest. She is to read her essay, "Why My Mother Is the Best Mother in the World," on the air, and her mother Louise is to say a few words. The Jones family goes to the radio station, and when Toni Stewart, the contest organizer's niece, yodels together with Roger Jones, Roger accidentally broadcasts their sounds over the air. The next day, Lucy goes for a ride with Tommy McGuire, the delivery boy at the Jones's drugstore, who has just acquired a new scooter. The scooter's sidecar detaches, and Lucy lands in a puddle of mud. John Jones, the head of the family, receives a visit from Dr. Lawrence Edmonds, President of Maryville Land and Water Corporation, who wants to sponsor a series of radio programs called "Family Forum," in which Louise will give advice on family matters, as a vehicle for selling mineral water from nearby Barton Springs. After Jones confirms by the awful taste of the water that it does contain minerals, he encourages the town to invest in the project, and Edmonds gives them five days to raise $100,000. Meanwhile, Toni and Jack have fallen in love, but Toni is due to leave for California in a few days to be married to a man of her mother's choosing. She and Jack decide to elope, and they send an anonymous letter to "Family Forum." Jack then asks Louise to read some of the letters she has received and selects his own. As she reads it, the family agrees that the young lovers in the letter should elope. The next day, Tommy and Lucy take her brother Bobby on a picnic to Barton Springs, where Bobby falls in. The three return with their clothes soaked, and Roger notices that the clothes do not smell. Suspicious, he goes to the spring and gets a sample straight from the stream. The deadline to raise the money has arrived, and the town has raised only $90,000. They give Edmonds the money and take the deed to Barton Springs as security, while they try to raise the rest. When Edmonds hears that Roger has obtained a sample from the spring, he orders his men to leave town. As Toni and Jack are on the way to get married, they hear about the fraud on the radio and return to help. To entrap the criminals, Louise goes on the air and falsely assures her listeners that the water has been tested and is indeed mineral water of the highest quality. When the crooks hear this, they return to claim their fortune. They go to Jones's drugstore to retrieve the deed, and Jones, who doesn't understand his wife's scheme, tells them that the water is bad. The crooks then lock Jones, Tommy and Herbert Thompson, Jones's son-in-law, in a storeroom and flee. They are chased by the police and, after they are released, are chased again by Jones, Tommy and Herbert on Tommy's scooter. The sidecar with Jones in it detaches, and he careens into a bale of hay. The crooks' car overturns, and after they are apprehended, the town's money is returned.