Aaron Slick from Punkin Crick


1h 35m 1952

Brief Synopsis

Country bumpkin Aaron Slick (Alan Young) has been unsuccessfully courting pretty young widow Josie Beery (Dinah Shore) for years. Josie yearns for a fling in the big city. With $20,000 from a crooked deal stashed in their trunk, Bill Merridew (Robert Merrill) and his "kissing cousin" Gladys (Adele Jergens), stars, in a relative sense, of a touring tent show stop at Josie's farm. Merridew, actually hiding out, thinks there is oil on the farm and Aaron, knowing otherwise, tricks him into buying the farm for a large sum. Josie takes the money and runs to Chicago, with Merridew, realizing he was tricked, in hot pursuit. Aaron arrives in time to keep Josie from letting Merridew "invest" her money.

Film Details

Release Date
Apr 1952
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 12 Apr 1952; New York opening: 18 Apr 1952
Production Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.; Perlberg-Seaton Productions
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Aaron Slick from Punkin Crick by Walter Benjamin Hare (published 1919).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 35m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
11 reels

Synopsis

At the turn of the century, Josie Berry agrees to put up two stranded entertainers on her Midwestern farm and thrills at the prospect of meeting sophisticated city folk. Unlike her devoted but meek suitor, neighbor Aaron Slick, Josie dreams of selling her farm and seeing the world. Consequently, when one of her guests, William Merridew, expresses pleasure at being in the country, Josie tries to interest him in buying her farm. Unknown to Josie and Aaron, Merridew and his partner Gladys, whom he calls "cousin," are confidence artists and are laying low after swindling $20,000 in a land sale scheme in Chicago. Josie insists on showing Merridew and Gladys around the farm, and the "slickers" are chased into a tree by a bull. Later, Josie and Aaron head for town for their weekly night out, and Aaron leaves Josie alone in order to play his tuba in the local band. After being chastised by friends for abandoning Josie and not acting like a man, Aaron drinks some medicine show elixir to boost his nerve. He then finds Josie and, while driving her home in his buggy, kisses her. Josie is ecstatic about Aaron's romancing and starts dreaming about their wedding. Merridew and Gladys, meanwhile, have discovered oil slicks on Josie's land and, seeing their opportunity, offer to buy the farm for a modest sum. Josie is now conflicted about selling and insists on talking to Aaron and her neighbors about it. As hoped, Merridew impresses the town by singing at church, and Josie decides to sell without discussing the matter with Aaron. When Aaron learns of her plan, he becomes upset, especially after she says that she is going to use some of the sale money to finance a honeymoon in Chicago. Sure that she will not want to return to Punkin Crick once she gets a taste of Chicago, Aaron accuses Josie of plotting ways to force him to move. Outraged, Josie throws Aaron out of her house and ends their relationship. Josie's friend Mrs. Peabody chases after Aaron, and while they are walking across Josie's field, Aaron notices the oil patches and deduces Merridew's scheme. Aaron informs Mrs. Peabody that the oil came from a barrel he dropped, not the ground, and decides to help Josie by demanding more money from Merridew. Aaron bursts into Josie's house as she is about to sign a bill of sale for $2,500, and after tussling with Josie and Merridew, gets the sales price up to $20,000. That night, with Merridew's cash in hand, Josie and Mrs. Peabody leave for Chicago and check in to an expensive hotel, intending to live it up. Later, in Punkin Crick, Aaron stops by Josie's farm and glibly tells Merridew and Gladys, who have invested in an oil drill, the truth about the oil. Merridew acts nonchalant with Aaron but hops the next train to Chicago. There, Merridew meets Josie and invites her to a cabaret, hoping to retrieve some of the $20,000. Claiming to be concerned about her financial future, Merridew tries to talk Josie into investing her money with him, but she is too distracted by thoughts of Aaron to agree. Gladys then shows up at the hotel and tells Merridew that Aaron is headed for Chicago and is wise to his plans. Aaron, meanwhile, wanders into a Chicago police station and, while describing Josie to the desk sergeant, mentions Merridew. After the sergeant informs Aaron that Merridew and Gladys are wanted for fraud, Aaron goes from hotel to hotel searching for Josie and ends up in the restaurant of Josie's hotel. There, a seductive confidence woman dances with Aaron and asks him to hold her purse, then loudly accuses him of stealing $408 from her. When the hotel management discovers exactly $408 on Aaron, they threaten to call police unless he "returns" the money. Aaron does so, but immediately steals the woman's purse back and takes off. Josie, meanwhile, is confronted in her room by Merridew and Gladys, who accuse her of tricking them into buying her worthless land. Just as Josie is about to hand over the remaining $16,000, Aaron, who is being chased by hotel detectives, stumbles into the room. Aaron exposes Merridew and Gladys as crooks, but offers to let them go free if Merridew switches coats with him. Unsuspecting, Merridew agrees and after Aaron shoves the thief's empty purse into his hand, he and Gladys step into the hall, where Merridew is mistaken for Aaron and pursued. Later, Josie and Mrs. Peabody return to Punkin Crick, but Aaron does not feel comfortable around the "fancy" Josie. Desperate to convince him she has not changed, Josie imbibes a bottle of elixir from Merridew and Gladys' new medicine show and gives the startled Aaron a big kiss.

Cast

Alan Young

Aaron Slick

Dinah Shore

Josie Berry

Robert Merrill

William Merridew

Adele Jergens

Gladys

Minerva Urecal

Mrs. Peabody

Martha Stewart

Soubrette

Fritz Feld

Headwaiter

Veda Ann Borg

Girl in red

Chick Chandler

Pitchman

Bob Kortman

Jed

Jerry James

Bellboy

Bea Allen

Acting dance

Les Clark

Acting dance

Shirley Mizysak

Showgirl

Svetlana Mclee

Showgirl

Blanche Taylor

Showgirl

Diana Mumby

Showgirl

Jean Corbett

Showgirl

Dorothy Abbott

Showgirl

Barbara Carroll

Showgirl

Evelyn Lovequist

Showgirl

Beverly Thomas

Showgirl

Charles Fogel

College Inn patron

Dave J. White

College Inn patron

Brooks Benedict

College Inn patron

Lawrence A. Williams

College Inn patron

Samuel L. Simone

College Inn patron

Jack Daley

College Inn patron

Billy Engle

College Inn patron

Stuart Holmes

College Inn patron

Roger Creed

House detective

Charles Hamilton

House detective

Harry Stanton

Townsman

Thomas Clarke

Townsman

Earl E. Hunsaker

Townsman

Henry Ibbings

Townsman

Ernest Newton

Townsman

James Horan

Townsman

Jeffrey Sayre

Townsman

Michael Cirillo

Townsman

Bill Gentry

Townsman

Pat Combs

Townsman

Jac Fisher

Townsman

Walter Ridge

Townsman

Stuart Torres

Townsman

Arlyn E. Loynd

Townsman

Mary Murphy

Girl in bathtub

William F. Clark

Townsboy

Jon Gardner

Townsboy

Georgia Stark

Townswoman

Tiny Jones

Townswoman

Ginger Anderson

Townswoman

Marie Thomas

Townswoman

Judith Landon

Townswoman

Dorothy Vernon

Townswoman

Rose Plumer

Townswoman

Beverly Washburn

Townsgirl

Jack Shea

Policeman

Mike P. Donovan

Policeman

Joe Forte

Minister

Frank Hagney

Oil driller

Jack Rice

Hotel clerk

James A. Hart

Hotel clerk

Frank W. Bering

Hotel clerk

F. Patrick Henry

Hack driver

Paul Kruger

Hack driver

Donald Kerr

Hack driver

Fred Aldrich

Victoria driver

Maxie Thrower

Red Cap

Bob Johnson

Red Cap

Paula Hill

Girl in blue

Albin Robeling

Waiter

James Dundee

Waiter

Richard Kipling

Diner

David M. Harper

Desk clerk

Hal Rand

Desk clerk

Patty Lou Arden

Girl

Craig Morland

Pete

Herbert Vigran

Barker

Ken Christy

Police sergeant

Allen Ray

Film Details

Release Date
Apr 1952
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 12 Apr 1952; New York opening: 18 Apr 1952
Production Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.; Perlberg-Seaton Productions
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Aaron Slick from Punkin Crick by Walter Benjamin Hare (published 1919).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 35m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
11 reels

Quotes

Trivia

'Robert Merrill' broke his contract with the Metropolitan Opera in order to make this film.

Notes

According to the Variety review, Walter Benjamin Hare's play Aaron Slick from Punkin Crick was one of the most frequently performed plays in the history of American theater, but was staged primarily by amateur groups and stock companies. No official "opening date" has been found for the play. According to a November 1950 Variety news item, Paramount executive Y. Frank Freeman wanted to purchase the play for the studio as early as 1938, but could not interest anyone in it. Opera star Robert Merrill (1919-2004) made his feature film debut in the picture, which also marked the last major role of singer-actress Dinah Shore. Shore made cameo appearances in two films in the 1970s. In November 1951, she began her successful television career, with the NBC network program The Dinah Shore Show.
       Frank W. Bering and James A. Hart, who appear in the picture as hotel clerks, were the owners of the Sherman and Ambassador hotel chain. Hollywood Reporter news items add Bobby Lee and Frank Chalfant to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. According to a May 1951 Hollywood Reporter news item, Larry Adler was signed to provide harmonica background music for the film, but his contribution to the final film, if any, cannot be confirmed. The song "Marshmallow Moon" became a hit prior to the film's release.

Miscellaneous Notes

color