Every Little Crook and Nanny
Cast & Crew
Vito Garbugli and Mario Azzecca, the bumbling lawyers of mob boss Carmine Ganucci, evict Nanny Poole, a British etiquette teacher, in order to secure her studio as a bookie joint. They then struggle to find a nanny for Ganucci's son Lewis, who will be left alone while Ganucci and his wife Stella visit Naples, Italy. When Nanny bursts into the office to complain about her eviction, Ganucci, impressed with her accent, hires her despite her protests that she is not a child's nursemaid. Realizing Ganucci is a gangster, despite Vito and Mario's insistence that "There's no such thing as the Mafia," Nanny accepts the job, but plots with her pianist, Luther, to kidnap Lewis and demand a $50,000 ransom with which she can set up a new studio. In Naples, Ganucci tries to avoid work and tells Stella that Nanny will lend class to Lewis, whom he hopes will grow up with no connection to the Mob. Despite Ganucci's wishes, Lewis is at that moment pretending to be a Mob boss and groping Nanny, who handles him with aplomb. Luther, who believes Ganucci is a retired soft drink manufacturer, bumbles his way through a break-in and absconds with Lewis, who calmly stops to put on the watch his father gave him. Ganucci has told Nanny to call one of his flunkies, Benny Napkins, in case of trouble, so she now advises him of the "kidnapping." Benny, a cowardly young man, is easily convinced by Nanny to keep the matter quiet and try to raise the ransom money himself. Meanwhile, two con men in Italy persuade Ganucci to purchase some gold medallions for $50,000, and he wires Vito and Mario for the money. The lawyers deliberate endlessly over how to send the money, finally deciding to send Benny to Naples with a bundle of cash. Luther has brought Lewis to his home, where his wife Ida dotes on the boy and asks Luther to have children with her. He declines, referring to his tortured relationship with his father and the fact that he is a "genetic failure." Later, Nanny interrupts Benny as he is trying to make love to his girl friend, who refuses to stop watching TV. They return to Ganucci's house, where Stella calls to talk to Lewis. Nanny's composure while deflecting Stella's questions impresses Benny, who kisses her with passion. Desperate to raise the ransom, Benny robs a poker game, but when he wanders the town with his stocking mask still on, he is arrested and the money is confiscated. Nanny bails him out, bathes him and puts him to bed, where he asks her to retire with him to his cottage in the country. After they make love, Mario knocks on the door and gives Benny $50,000 to deliver to Naples. Nanny is thrilled but Benny points out that it is not their money. Meanwhile, the police, realizing that Benny works for Ganucci, return the confiscated money to Vito, who, believing it is the same $50,000 that Mario delivered to Benny, returns the money to Benny's house. Now holding two envelopes containing $50,000 each, Benny breaks down in confusion and tells Nanny he is just an organization man and cannot use Ganucci's money without his approval. Disappointed, she leaves. Taking matters into her own hands, Nanny tells Mario and Vito about the kidnapping, but as soon as they give her the ransom, they hear from Ganucci that he is returning from Italy, and confident that their boss can handle the matter himself, take the money back. At the same time, Dominick, a petty thief, breaks into Luther's house and steals Lewis' watch as the child sleeps. Benny is at his friend's bar when Dominick enters and tries to use the watch as barter. When Dominick reads aloud the inscription on the watch, Benny realizes Dominick robbed the house in which Lewis is being held, and demands that Dominick take him there. They go to Luther's apartment, where Luther has just learned that Lewis is indeed Ganucci's son, and, panicked, is planning to return him to his father. Ida, however, refuses to let Lewis go and escapes with him out the window just as Nanny shows up to bring the boy home. As Nanny and Luther leave to track down Ida, Benny breaks in but, finding the apartment empty, decides to send Dominick to Nanny with one of the $50,000 envelopes so she can pay the ransom. He then leaves for the airport to fly to Naples with the other envelope, while at that moment Nanny and Luther are racing to the airport to flee to London, and Ganucci is arriving at the airport from Italy. When Ganucci deplanes, he sees Benny and takes the money from him, having decided not to buy the medallions. Upon leaving, he then happens upon Nanny, who claims to have come to greet the Ganuccis. Luther, introduced as Lewis' new piano teacher, and Nanny drive home with the Ganuccis, trembling with fear that the couple will soon find their son missing. Unknown to them, however, Ida has returned Lewis to his home. Later that night, as Nanny puts Lewis to bed, the boy arrogantly informs her he knows she was behind the kidnapping and plans to tell his father. Nanny immediately calls in Ganucci, knowing he will consider Lewis' story a fabrication, and as she has planned, he counsels his son to be honest and "classy." Afterward, Nanny kisses Lewis and tells him he must become his own man and not try to emulate his tough father. Days later, Nanny fondly bids Lewis farewell, and with the $50,000 that Dominick has delivered, heads for Naples with Benny.
Leonard J. Ackerman
James I. Berkey
Bette Lou Iverson
Harry W. Tetrick
William P. Turner
Pat Morita (1932-2005)
He was born Noriyuki Morita on June 28, 1932 in Isleton, California. The son of migrant fruit pickers, he contracted spinal tuberculosis when he was two and spent the next nine years in a sanitarium run by Catholic priests near Sacramento. He was renamed Pat, and after several spinal surgical procedures and learning how to walk, the 11-year-old Morita was sent to an internment camp at Gila River, Arizona, joining his family and thousands of other Japanese-Americans who were shamefully imprisoned by the U.S. government after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.
His family was released after the war, and Morita graduated from high school in Fairfield, California in 1950. He worked in his family's Chinese restaurant in Sacramento until his father was killed in a hit-and-run accident. He eventually found work as a data processor for the Department of Motor Vehicles and then Aerojet General Corporation before he decided to try his hand at stand-up comedy.
He relocated to San Francisco in 1962, where at first, there was some hesitation from clubs to book a Japanese-American comic, but Morita's enthusiasm soon warmed them over, and he was becoming something of a regional hit in all the Bay Area. His breakthrough came in 1964 when he was booked on ABC's The Hollywood Palace. The image of a small, unassuming Asian with the broad mannerisms and delivery of a modern American was something new in its day. He was a hit, and soon found more bookings on the show. And after he earned the nickname "the hip nip," he quickly began headlining clubs in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
Morita's stage and television success eventually led him to films. He made his movie debut as "Oriental #2," the henchman to Beatrice Lilly in the Julie Andrew's musical Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967). Although his role, complete with thick coke-bottle glasses and gaping overbite, was a little hard to watch, it was the best he could do at the time. Subsequent parts, as in Don Knott's dreadful The Shakiest Gun in the West (1968); and Bob Hope's lamentable final film Cancel My Reservations (1972); were simply variations of the same stereotype.
However, television was far kinder to Morita. After some popular guest appearances in the early '70s on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Morita landed some semi-regular work. First, as the wisecracking, cigar chomping Captain Sam Pack on M.A.S.H. and as Ah Chew, the deadpan neighbor of Fred and Lamont Sanford in Sanford & Son. His success in these roles led to his first regular gig, as Arnold Takahashi in Happy Days. His stint as the owner of the soda shop where Ritchie Cunningham and the Fonz hung out for endless hours may have been short lived (just two seasons 1974-76), but it was Morita's first successful stab at pop immortality.
He left Happy Days to star in his own show, the critically savaged culture clash sitcom Mr. T and Tina that was canceled after just five episodes. Despite that setback, Morita rebounded that same year with his first dramatic performance, and a fine one at that, when he portrayed a Japanese-American internment camp survivor in the moving made for television drama Farewell to Manzanar (1976). After a few more guest appearances on hit shows (Magnum P.I., The Love Boat etc.), Morita found the goldmine and added new life to his career when he took the role of Miyagi in The Karate Kid (1984). Playing opposite Ralph Macchio, the young man who becomes his martial arts pupil, Morita was both touching and wise, and the warm bond he created with Macchio during the course of the film really proved that he had some serious acting chops. The flick was the surprise box-office hit of 1984, and Morita's career, if briefly, opened up to new possibilities.
He scored two parts in television specials that were notable in that his race was never referenced: first as the horse in Alice in Wonderland (1985); and as the toymaster in Babes in Toyland (1986). He also landed a detective show (with of course, comic undertones) that ran for two seasons Ohara (1987-89); nailed some funny lines in Honeymoon in Vegas (1992); was the sole saving grace of Gus Van Zandt's Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993); and starred in all of the sequels to The Karate Kid: The Karate Kid, Part II (1986), The Karate Kid, Part III (1989), and The Next Karate Kid (1994). Granted, it is arguable that Morita's career never truly blossomed out of the "wise old Asian man" caricature. But give the man his due, when it came to infusing such parts with sly wit and sheer charm, nobody did it better. Morita is survived by his wife, Evelyn; daughters, Erin, Aly and Tia; his brother, Harry, and two grandchildren.
by Michael T. Toole
Pat Morita (1932-2005)
The opening credits appear ten minutes into the film. Throughout the film, the gangsters repeat the slogan "There's no such thing as the Mafia." Although screen credits and reviews list the author of the novel on which the film was based as Evan Hunter, the book was published under Hunter's frequent pseudonym, Ed McBain. Publishers Weekly reported in April 1971 that M-G-M had purchased the film rights to the novel, also entitled Every Little Crook and Nanny, which was not published until March 1972.
As noted in Filmfacts, most scenes were shot in Los Angeles and Naples, Italy. A October 12, 1971 Daily Variety article stated that the studio originally wanted to shoot the scenes of Italy in Sausalito, CA, but realized that Naples would appear more realistic. Hollywood Reporter production charts add Anita Gillette to the cast, but her appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. A modern source adds David Pollock to the cast.
Every Little Crook and Nanny, for which Victor Mature received universally laudatory reviews, was the actor's first major screen role since 1966's After the Fox.
Released in United States 1972
Released in United States 1972