Cast & Crew
At a swank Los Angeles hotel, criminal Noonan, who has just committed murder while stealing the Majuba Diamond, deliberately bumps into Bob Miles, a girls' school instructor from Twin Falls, Oregon, and slips the diamond into Bob's coat pocket to avoid arrest. Bob, who is in Los Angeles trying to get reinstated in the Army, then visits the hotel's tailor, where Noonan attempts to switch coats with him. Bob stops him, however, just as the police show up, demanding to search Noonan, a known felon. Finding nothing, the police release Noonan, but remain suspicious. Bob, meanwhile, drops by the hotel barbershop and mistakes Wilbur Hoolick, the French barber's bumbling assistant, for the barber. Eager to prove himself, Wilbur, who has donned a wig and goatee and speaks with a phony French accent, prepares to cut Bob's hair. Bob is quickly upset by Wilbur's ineptitude and, as he is storming out, Noonan shows up and surreptitiously removes the diamond from Bob's coat pocket and sticks it in Wilbur's back pants pocket. Noonan then hires Wilbur to give his wife a scalp massage at their home. Having been alerted by her husband, Mrs. Noonan goes along with the ruse and dances flirtatiously with Wilbur in order to get the gem. Moments after she grabs what she presumes is the diamond, Noonan bursts in and pretends to be an enraged, jealous husband, threatening Wilbur with a knife. Terrified, Wilbur runs off, agreeing to take the next train to his home in Blitzen, Oregon. As soon as Mrs. Noonan realizes that she took Wilbur's bubblegum, Noonan heads for Union Station. There, after learning that he is thirty-one cents short for the ticket to Blitzen, Wilbur ambushes a tall twelve-year-old boy and steals his sailor suit and eyeglasses. Then, posing as a child, he gets unsuspecting Bob, who has come to say goodbye to his girl friend, fellow teacher Nancy Collins, to purchase a half-price ticket for him. Later, on the train, Noonan sits next to Wilbur, who nervously spills the contents of his suitcase. When he spies Wilbur's goatee and wig, Noonan deduces his identity and chases him. Wilbur takes refuge in Nancy's drawing room and convinces her that he is a scared boy, traveling alone. Nancy mothers Wilbur during a thunderstorm, and he becomes smitten. The next morning, at Mrs. Brendan's School for Girls, Bob learns that Nancy's train is stuck outside town and drives to meet her, accompanied by Gretchen, headmistress Elly Brendan's jealous daughter. In Nancy's drawing room, Gretchen discovers Wilbur and gleefully assumes the worst. After telling Bob, Gretchen rushes back to school to inform her mother and the board about Nancy's shocking behavior. As they are voting to fire Nancy, however, Bob arrives with Wilbur, still dressed in the sailor suit. Wilbur's childish antics persuade the board of Nancy's innocence, and Wilbur is about to depart when he spies Noonan lurking on the school grounds. Thus cornered, Wilbur accepts Gretchen's invitation to stay with her family, and by the time Wilbur arrives at the Brendan home, Gretchen's twelve-year-old brother Mike has already gone through his suitcase and discovered his secret. After Wilbur persuades him not to say anything, Mike, an aspiring geologist, asks to keep the interesting "rock" he found in Wilbur's pants. Oblivious, Wilbur agrees and changes into some of Mike's "cool" clothes. Wilbur then meets Skeets, one of the many amorous students who have been assigned to watch him. While touring the grounds with Skeets, Wilbur notices Noonan and begins to kiss Skeets to avoid detection. Nancy witnesses the kiss and in her classroom later, lectures Wilbur about the proper way for young boys to kiss girls. As Wilbur is eagerly demonstrating improper kissing techniques on Nancy, Bob walks in and grows suspicious. Bob tries to trick Wilbur into revealing he is a man, but is interrupted by the arrival of two police detectives. In private, the detectives tell Bob about Noonan's pursuit of Wilbur and instruct him not to reveal his impersonation. Although Bob consents, his jealousy of Wilbur intensifies. Later, at the Brendans', Mike steams open a letter to Gretchen, and Wilbur learns that she has used her friendship with a colonel's daughter to prevent Bob's reinstatement. Anxious to eliminate his competition, Wilbur calls Gretchen's friend and, imitating Gretchen's voice, tells her she now wants Bob to re-enlist. Wilbur then packs his suitcase and starts to sneak away when he is confronted by Noonan, who tears Wilbur's pants off, searching for the diamond. Fleeing in his underwear, Wilbur hides in Nancy's apartment and is almost caught by Bob. Later, at the annual spring dance, Wilbur has a romantic chat with Nancy and, convinced that she would love him if he were an adult, runs to change into a tuxedo. When he returns, however, he overhears Bob and Nancy professing their love and discussing marriage. Wilbur has little time to mourn, as Noonan appears and starts to choke him. Wilbur escapes, and the next day, Mike informs Wilbur that he knows about the diamond and murder, having read a newspaper article about the case. Still unaware, Wilbur teases Mike, talking to him in a Humphrey Bogart "tough guy" voice. Scared, Mike slips the diamond into Wilbur's pocket just as Wilbur is called to Mrs. Brendan's office. To Wilbur's horror, Noonan is there, posing as Wilbur's father. Noonan drags Wilbur out of the office and finds the diamond in his pocket. Before he can make off with it, Bob and the detectives show up and give chase. Noonan jumps in a speedboat, and Bob pursues him in another boat after Wilbur ends up on some water skis behind Noonan. Noonan finally crashes and is arrested. Later, Bob, who has received his reinstatement notice, says goodbye to Nancy at the train depot and is horrified to discover that Wilbur is working onboard as a barber.
Veda Ann Borg
Paul "tiny" Newlan
Donna Jo Gribble
Gloria Penny Moore
Daniel L. Fapp
John P. Fulton
Michael D. Moore
You're Never Too Young
As with Living It Up (1954), Lewis takes what was once the female lead in an earlier picture. In this case, he takes on the Ginger Rogers role from The Major and the Minor (1942). For an extra dollop of nostalgia, the role originally played by Ray Milland goes to Lynn, who had played a supporting role in the earlier film. Since Lewis rarely had a love interest in his films with Dean Martin, his comic partner takes over the role of Lynn's fiancé, originally played by Rita Johnson, with Nina Foch in a newly created role as the spoiler out to keep Martin to herself.
There are other significant changes from the original. Where Rogers had to buy the half-price ticket because she was out of work and broke, Lewis is fleeing a gangster (Raymond Burr) with no clear idea of why. The film opens with a jewel heist, after which Burr hides a precious diamond first in Martin's coat pocket and then in Lewis' pants. Burr gets his wife (Veda Ann Borg) to come on to Lewis so he can catch them in the act and steal back the diamond, leading to Lewis' hurried train trip with the diamond still in his back pocket. In addition to impersonating a child, Lewis also gets to don beret and moustache to pose as a French barber in a slapstick scene with Martin
By this point in their partnership, the once close friends were drifting apart. Both had very different approaches to filmmaking. After the first reading of the script, Martin pronounced it fine and took off to play golf, while Lewis peppered director Norman Taurog and screenwriter Sidney Sheldon with questions about how the film was to be made. Though Lewis was more serious about making movies, however, his relentless clowning was getting on Martin's nerves. They were barely speaking off-screen during location shooting in Lake Arrowhead, where they filmed some of the scenes at the girl's school and a climactic speedboat race. Paramount publicists tried to keep the feud out of the papers. When Lewis was hit in the head with a water ski filming the chase scene, they issued stories claiming that Martin had saved him from drowning. Nonetheless, it was hard to keep people from noticing when Martin pulled out of the premiere, scheduled in the Catskills, where Lewis had started his career as a comic. The team would end after three more films.
One partnership that would endure, was Lewis' work with Taurog. This was the fifth of eight films they made together. The former child star had shot two-reel silent comedies starring Larry Semon in New York and then built a reputation as a comedy director with the coming of sound. He was one of the first winners of the Best Director Oscar®, for the family film Skippy (1931), which made a star of his nephew, Jackie Cooper. Taurog spent years at MGM, where his skills at directing children were particularly valued. Among his top films there were Boys Town (1938), which brought Spencer Tracy a Best Actor Oscar®, Little Nellie Kelly (1940), in which Judy Garland played her first adult role, and Rich, Young and Pretty (1951), a vehicle for teen soprano Jane Powell. He moved to Paramount in 1951, where he started out directing Martin and Lewis in The Stooge (1951). Once the team broke up, he would direct Lewis in the solo vehicles Don't Give Up the Ship (1959) and Visit to a Small Planet (1960), after which Lewis started directing his own films.
Paramount sold You're Never Too Young with the tag line "Dino's the singing dean of a girl's school, Jerry -- a wolf in kid's clothing -- in a class by himself with 503 coeds." As was usual with the Martin-Lewis films, it got poor reviews from critics in top-scale papers like the New York Times but did well with the trades, with Variety hailing it as "one of their funniest pictures." Audiences in the U.S. ate it up, though, also typical of their films, it did not fare that well overseas. It would take the team's dissolution for Lewis to find favor in Europe.
Director: Norman Taurog
Producer: Paul Jones
Screenplay: Sidney Sheldon
Based on the play Connie Goes Home by Edward Child Carpenter and the story "Sunny Goes Home" by Fanny Kilbourne
Cinematography: Daniel L. Fapp
Score: Walter Scharf
Cast: Dean Martin (Bob Miles), Jerry Lewis (Wilbur Hoolick), Diana Lynn (Nancy Collins), Nina Foch (Gretchen Brendan), Raymond Burr (Noonan), Mitzi McCall (Skeets Powell), Veda Ann Borg (Mrs. Noonan), Nancy Culp (Marty's Mother), Hans Conreid (Francois), Whitey Haupt (Mike Brendan).
You're Never Too Young
You're Never Too Young was a remake of Paramount's 1942 release The Major and the Minor (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40). Both films were adapted from the same sources. Directed by Billy Wilder, and written by Wilder and Charles Brackett, The Major and the Minor starred Ginger Rogers in Jerry Lewis' role and Ray Milland in Diana Lynn's part. Lynn also appeared in The Major and the Minor, as "Lucy Hill." Hollywood Reporter news items add Grandon Rhodes, Noreen Cantrell, Irving Kaye, Joe Gray and Franklyn Farnum to the cast of You're Never Too Young, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. The film marked the film debut of actress/fashion model Peggy Moffitt, who portrayed "Agnes" and who, in the mid-1960s, became famous as the model for fashion designer Rudi Gernreich's topless bathing suit. According to Hollywood Reporter news items, exterior filming took place at Lake Arrowhead, CA.
Released in United States Summer August 1955
Remake of "The Major and the Minor" (1942) directed by Billy Wilder.
American feature directorial debut for Billy Wilder
Lela Rogers, who plays the mother of Ginger Rogers's character, was in real life the mother of Ginger Rogers.
Released in United States Summer August 1955
Remade as "You're Never Too Young " (1955) directed by Norman Taurog.