It Happens Every Thursday


1h 20m 1953

Brief Synopsis

New York reporter Bob MacAvoy is persuaded by pregnant wife Jane to buy a broken-down weekly newspaper in Eden, California. They have humorous problems with small town mores and eccentric citizens. But their schemes to increase circulation get them in over their heads.

Film Details

Release Date
May 1953
Premiere Information
World premiere in Renfro Valley, KY: 7 May 1953; Los Angeles opening: 20 May 1953
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co., Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel It Happens Every Thursday by Jane S. McIlvaine (Philadelphia, 1951).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 20m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

One morning in New York City, newspaper reporter Bob MacAvoy finishes his nighttime shift and stumbles into bed just as his very pregnant wife Jane rises. Jane cares for their young son Steve and then, while riding the subway to work, notices an advertisement for a small newspaper in Eden, California. Tired of never seeing her husband and living in their cramped apartment, Jane rushes home and convinces Bob that the paper represents the perfect escape from their city life. Within days, they buy the paper sight unseen and travel to their new home. Although Eden is charming, they are dismayed to find the Archive office a disheveled wreck. Inside, elderly employees Jake Armstrong and Matthew explain that the paper has only a tiny circulation and a broken printing press and so barely makes it out each Thursday. Dejected, the MacAvoys prepare to leave until real estate agent Fred Hawley arrives and informs them that he lied to them about the state of the paper in order to attract a great newspaperman who might bring Eden back to life. Seeing the five advertisements Fred has already procured, Bob happily settles down to work. Even though Jane's labor contractions have started, she dutifully takes down the details of society maven Mrs. Eve Spatch's story. Several townspeople arrive to meet the MacAvoys, and when Mrs. Spatch realizes Jane's discomfort, the small office erupts in confusion as everyone helps Jane upstairs to her new apartment. Later that night, Bob finishes his first edition, with the headline "Editor's Wife Brings New Life to Archive ," a tribute to Jane and their new daughter Sister. Jane thanks Mrs. Spatch, who has stayed to help her, and the kindly woman explains that this is how people behave in a small town. Within days, the Archive office bustles with activity as Jane works alongside Bob. Although they have many stories, they lack the advertising that will keep them afloat financially. Jane charms local retailer Myron Trout into placing an ad, but when he discovers that she is married, he cancels it. Bob is discouraged enough to quit when Jane concocts a scheme to publish old photos from their vaults and challenge the townspeople to identify the picture's subject. The contest is a huge hit, until they unwittingly run a picture of a building now owned by a madam. After half the town cancels their subscriptions in outrage, Jane decides to raffle off a car, and although they are soon awash in new subscriptions, they still have no ads. Fred suggests that they join local organizations to become part of the community, and Jane and Bob are quickly enmeshed in meeting after meeting. One day, Jane meets crotchety farmer James Bartlett, who explains that he will not read the Archive until they replace their society headlines with news about the current deadly drought. Jane convinces Bob to write an editorial, and he, excited about an experiment he read about on seeding clouds with dry ice to create rain, writes that the Archive will bring rain. While he awaits a cloudy day, Jane spends all their money on the prize car to stop Trout's rumors that the contest is a hoax. The night before the contest ends, Bob hires pilot Chet Dunne to fly him up to some newly formed clouds. Just as they take off, a downpour begins, and by the time they touch down, a proud Jane has printed the headline " Archive Editor Ends Drought." Bob does not have the heart to protest, and soon all of Eden celebrates him. Days later, however, the uncurtailed rain is causing floods and Trout calls a town meeting to sue Bob for damages. Before the trial, Bob informs Jane that he wants to return to New York, and she cheerfully agrees, stating that the only important thing is that the family stay together. No one at the trial believes that Bob did not start the rain until Jane gives a heartfelt speech announcing their move and detailing how hard Bob has worked and how strongly he believes in his neighbors' goodness. Back at the Archive , as the MacAvoys prepare to leave, Matthew and Jake refuse Jane's offer of back pay and cry over Sister. At four o'clock, as Jane has secretly requested, all of Eden gathers at the office. There, Mayor Hull asks for another chance and the whole town apologizes. Just then, the rain stops, heralding the arrival of a meteorologist Jane has called in to confirm Bob's innocence. After the local banker offers a loan for a new press, Jane and Bob decide to save their last edition--headlined "Goodbye to Eden"--for a rainy day.

Film Details

Release Date
May 1953
Premiere Information
World premiere in Renfro Valley, KY: 7 May 1953; Los Angeles opening: 20 May 1953
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co., Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel It Happens Every Thursday by Jane S. McIlvaine (Philadelphia, 1951).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 20m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The film was based on the autobiography of Jane McIlvaine, who, along with her husband, bought and ran a small newspaper in Downington, Pennsylvania. An October 1952 Los Angeles Examiner article reported that Universal bought the book as a vehicle for Loretta Young after strong audience reaction to her performance in the studio's 1952 hit Because of You.
       It Happens Every Thursday was Young's last film. She began her acclaimed television series, Letter to Loretta (later known as The Loretta Young Show) in 1953, and it ran until 1961. An August 1952 Hollywood Reporter item states that Martin Goldsmith contributed to the script, but his contribution to the final film is not known. According to January 1953 Hollywood Reporter news items, Jack Kelly was originally cast as "Chet Dunne" but was replaced by Palmer Lee after he broke his leg while skiing. The film marked the feature film debut of Harvey Grant.