Chicken Wagon Family


1h 3m 1939

Brief Synopsis

An traveling merchant (Carrillo) takes his family to New York where he explores his weakness for poker as he looks for work aided by his daughter (Withers).

Film Details

Release Date
Aug 11, 1939
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Chicken-Wagon Family by John Barry Benefield (New York, 1925).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 3m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,786ft

Synopsis

In the back roads of the South, the Fippanys travel in their mule-drawn wagon, trading wares for produce. While Jean Paul Batiste Fippany and his younger daughter Addie enjoy life on the road, his wife Josephine and older daughter Cecile dream of living in the city, and Josephine has saved $217 to make that dream a reality. While she and Cecile are at the movies, Addie finds her mother's purse with the money and a picture of Henri Fippany inside. Jean Paul then takes the money and loses it at poker. When Josephine discovers that the purse is missing, Addie starts to tell where she found it, but realizing that her father took the money, she sides with her mother and sister, and the family makes the journey to New York City. Unprepared for city life, the Fippanys are forced to spend their first rainy evening in New York parked on the street. Addie goes into Joe's Cafe where the proprietor, Mrs. Buzzi, compliments her jacket. When Mrs. Buzzi briefly leaves the cafe, Addie decides to leave the jacket in trade for coffee and doughnuts. As she is about to leave, however, policeman Matt Hibbard arrives and orders her to put her jacket back on. Thinking she has stolen the food, Matt traces Addie to the wagon and finds the cold and wet Fippanys, minus the hiding Addie. Knowing of a nearby empty fire station, he has the family made "caretakers" until the building is auctioned off. Matt is instantly infatuated with Cecile, who also feels the attraction, much to Addie's chagrin. Finally finding Addie, Matt takes her back to Mrs. Buzzi, where they learn the truth after discovering Addie's "I.O.U." Nearby, at Honest Henri's Furniture Store, Henri Fippany opens his store just as a family next door is being evicted. Addie helps the family out by selling some of their furniture to passersby. When Addie accidentally sells Henri some of his own furniture, the relatives meet, and Henri tells her how her father stole his fiancée and lost their business in a poker game, leaving him penniless in Boloxi, Mississippi. Despite his hatred for Jean Paul, Henri, still enamored with Josephine, furnishes the fire house. When Jean Paul, unable to find work, tries to make the family go back on the road, Addie tells the family about Jean Paul taking the money. Josephine leaves, forcing Jean Paul to sell his prized mules at auction to pay back her money. Addie takes Henri to the auction, convincing him to buy the mules for Josephine, but realizing he has been taken a second time, Henri leaves. Matt arrives with the auction money and a note from Jean Paul telling the family he is leaving. Addie searches New York for her father and finally finds him at a junk yard. The two come up with the idea of buying bathtubs at two dollars each, then selling them for twenty dollars. To buy the tubs, Jean Paul forges Henri's name on a check, and as the auction of the fire house begins, Henri arrives with the police, demanding the family's arrest. Addie sells bathtubs while the auctioneer sells the fire house, and in the confusion, Addie gets Henri to buy the fire house for $12,000. At dinner that night, the whole family gathers, celebrating the $3,400 they made selling bathtubs, the furniture store's new warehouse, and the new partnership of Fippany, Fippany and Fippany.

Film Details

Release Date
Aug 11, 1939
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Chicken-Wagon Family by John Barry Benefield (New York, 1925).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 3m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,786ft

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to a Twentieth Century-Fox press release, this film was planned originally for Will Rogers and Jane Withers, but production was shelved upon Rogers' death in 1935. Hollywood Reporter reported that producer Edward Kaufman left the Sol Wurtzel unit at Twentieth Century-Fox over a difference of opinion concerning the production of this film. The Variety review states that the song "The Daughter of Mademoiselle" was first used in the Gypsy Rose Lee film Battle of Broadway. Location filming was done at the Rindage Ranch in Malibu, CA. Press releases also report that Twentieth Century-Fox's "East Side" set was first used on this film. The Variety review lists the film's running time as 81 minutes, but this length is probably an error. Fox Film Corp. had previously filmed Benefield's novel in 1926 as The Dixie Merchant, starring J. Farrell MacDonald and John Barry, and directed by Frank Borzage. (See AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.1370 for more information on that title.)