Little Giant


1h 31m 1946

Brief Synopsis

Lou Costello plays a country bumpkin vacuum-cleaner salesman, working for the company run by the crooked Bud Abbott. To try to keep him under his thumb, Abbott convinces Costello that he's a crackerjack salesman. This comedy is somewhat like "The Time of Their Lives," in that Abbott and Costello don't have much screen time together and there are very few vaudeville bits woven into the plot.

Film Details

Also Known As
On the Carpet
Release Date
Feb 22, 1946
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 31m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Synopsis

At his mother's farm in Cucamonga, California, good-hearted Benny Miller courts Martha Hill while taking a correspondence course on selling techniques. Although his techniques find little success with the farm's customers, Benny nonetheless is awarded a diploma by mail, and goes to Los Angeles to ask his uncle, Clarence Goodring, an accountant at the Hercules Vacuum Cleaner Company, to secure him a job. Uncle Clarence suggests that they pretend to be unrelated, in order to circumvent the firm's policy against hiring relatives of employees. Hercules' general manager, E. L. Morrison, mistakes Benny for a model and asks him to undress, and, upon realizing his mistake, hires Benny to keep him from spreading the story. On his first day, Benny does so much damage to a customer's carpet that he costs the company money, and is fired. Uncle Charles, however, offers his nephew a chance to work under his friend Tom Chandler, who is Morrison's cousin and manager of the company's Stockton, California branch. There, Benny learns that Tom hates Morrison, who has used the "no relatives" rule to banish him to Stockton, and sets impossible sales goals for the branch. After Benny somehow proves that seven times thirteen equals twenty-eight, Tom hires him, but he continues to do poor business over the next weeks. On the day that the company's president, P. S. Van Loon, announces a contest in which the best salesman will earn ten thousand dollars, Tom tells his secretary, Ruby, to fire Benny. Unwilling to tell him, she instead brings him to a bar, where the company's other salesmen convince Benny that he is psychic. Now confident in his abilities, he rushes out and breaks all selling records. Van Loon is thrilled with him, and invites him back to Los Angeles for a board meeting that evening. Upon Benny's arrival, Uncle Charles tells him that Morrison has been embezzling, and when Benny later gives a mind-reading demonstration for Morrison and Van Loon, he hints at this. Morrison immediately has his wife, Hazel Temple, seduce Benny and learn his secrets. Hazel's attempt fails, however, and although she manages to sicken Benny with sweets and cigars, he accidentally drops the sleeping pill she tries to slip him into her own drink, and both fall asleep in her bedroom. Meanwhile, Martha visits the company and, after hearing that Benny is with Hazel, races to Hazel's apartment, where she finds them in bed and assumes they are having an affair. Soon after, Morrison enters and shares her suspicions. That night, while Benny tries to reconcile with Martha, Morrison brings Ruby to the board meeting to explain that Benny's psychic abilities are fake. When Benny arrives, he hears the board laughing at him and returns home, ashamed. At his door, however, Martha greets him with a hug, and Van Loon, Tom, Ruby and Uncle Charles are waiting to inform him that they still believe that he is a great salesman, when he has confidence. Van Loon awards him a job running the company's Cucamonga branch, as well as the ten thousand dollar check, which allows Benny to ask Martha to marry him.

Film Details

Also Known As
On the Carpet
Release Date
Feb 22, 1946
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 31m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was On the Carpet. Review and publicity materials noted that Little Giant was the first Abbott and Costello picture to rely on dramatic circumstances and roles rather than a protracted series of gags and routines. One scene in the film, in which Costello tries to sell a vacuum to a housewife, was later used in an episode of the Abbott and Costello TV show.