Cast & Crew
Joe Higgins plans to enjoy a comfortable retirement on his annuity, but his scatterbrained wife Lil becomes worried about him after an insurance salesman tells her that retired men who have nothing to keep them occupied have a high mortality rate. Lil asks Joe to fix up the kitchen, but when he proves to be a miserable failure as a handyman, she engineers his nomination by the women's club as the reform candidate for mayor. Joe is infuriated by Lil's attempt to get him involved with what he calls "petticoat politics," but when prominent businessman Alfred Wilcox tells Joe that he has been turned down for entrance into a highly selective lodge, the Knights of Bedlam, Joe determines to run for mayor to prove to the snobby Wilcox that he is indeed good lodge material. While at City Hall paying his filing fee, Joe meets Slats O'Dell, the henchman of Guy Markwell, the racketeer who controls Mayor Williams and the city government. Slats ridicules Joe and enrages him into betting a dollar for every vote he loses against every vote he wins. Meanwhile, Lil, not knowing that Joe has changed his mind about running, goes with her friend, Ella Jones, and persuades Wilcox to be the reform candidate. Hoping to persuade Wilcox to drop out of the race, Joe and his father-in-law, Grandpa Edgar, engineer a duck hunting expedition during which Joe "saves" Wilcox from drowning. Wilcox does eventually withdraw under the pretense of gratitude to Joe, but it is actually because of Markwell's threats. Markwell tries to intimidate Joe as well, and Joe finally understands why he is the only candidate opposing Williams. Grandpa and Ella attempt to steal Slats's notorized copy of his and Joe's wager so that Joe can withdraw from the race, but when they fail, Joe is convinced that he will be killed by Markwell. Meanwhile, Wilcox has persuaded his fellow lodge members to admit Joe to the Knights of Bedlam in order to keep him in the running for mayor, and they prepare his initiation. Wearing masks, they kidnap Joe and take him to their headquarters. Joe, who believes that they are Markwell's henchmen, fights for his life and winds up hanging onto a sign high up on the building. Al reassures Joe that it is only an initiation, and when Joe falls, he lands in Lil's car. The publicity helps Joe win the election, and Joe then visits Markwell and Slats in jail to collect his bet.
John Victor Mackay
This was the last entry in "The Higgins Family" series, which began in 1938 and consisted of nine films. The original stars of the series, James, Lucile and Russell Gleason, were replaced by Roscoe Karns, Ruth Donnelly and George Ernest in 1940. For more information about the series, please consult the Series Index and the entry for The Higgins Family (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.1905).