Scattergood Baines


1h 9m 1941

Film Details

Also Known As
Main Street Scandal
Release Date
Feb 21, 1941
Premiere Information
Montpelier, VT premiere: 14 Feb--15 Feb 1941
Production Company
Pyramid Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the "Scattergood Baines" short stories by Clarence Budington Kelland in American Magazine .

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 9m
Film Length
6,181ft

Synopsis

Young Scattergood Baines is wandering the country, looking for a place to settle. He decides on Coldriver, a small New England town to which he is introduced by the boy Hipp. Although he has only forty dollars in his pocket, Scattergood shrewdly announces that he plans to open a general store. When the established merchants learn of his plans, they offer to buy him out for $750. After making sure that there is a loophole in the agreement, Scattergood signs the papers and with the money opens a hardware store. Twenty years later, Scattergood has become a leading citizen of Coldriver. Married and prosperous, he is a member of the schoolboard and has built a railroad that carries timber to the mill at a very low profit. Pliny Pickett runs the railroad, and Hipp, now grown to manhood, plays an essential part in the Baines's enterprises. As chairman of the schoolboard, Scattergood accepts the board's decision to hire the prim- looking Helen Parker as the new teacher. When he meets Helen at the station however, Scattergood is surprised to find that she is a real beauty. To placate the schoolboard, Scattergood asks Helen to wear glasses and comb her hair in an unflattering style. Soon after, James McKettrick, a fast-talking agent representing local mill owners John Keith and Harold Crane, offers to buy Scattergood's railroad. Realizing that the mill owners plan to boost the transportation fees of the railway, Scattergood asks for three days to consider their proposition. During that period, he arranges to have Johnny Bones, the town's young attorney, buy all the options on the surrounding timberland. Bones buys them in his own name, and consequently, the community is unaware that Scattergood is behind the venture. When Pliny inadvertently leaks the information, the townspeople think that Scattergood has betrayed them and that he has bought the options for his own private benefit. To pressure Scattergood, McKettrick announces that unless he sells the railroad, the mill owners plan to bore a tunnel through Hopper Mountain, thereby enabling the milling company to get their timber without patronizing the locals. Knowing that he owns options on all the land surrounding Coldriver, Scattergood agrees to sell the railroad. In the meantime, Helen's homeliness has made her a popular teacher, and romance has blossomed between her and Johnny. Her acceptance is soon marred by Clara Potts, the town gossip, who peeps through a window in Helen's cottage and discovers that not only is she beautiful, but is entertaining a gentleman visitor as well. After the schoolboard demands her resignation, Helen has an argument with Johnny over her visitor and decides to leave town. Soon after buying the railroad, Crane and Keith discover that Scattergood owns all the timberland, and hence they are powerless to get the timber to the mill. Scattergood then informs them that it would cost $2,000,000 to drill a tunnel through the mountain, thus making it impossible to buy wood in any other district except Coldriver. Having outsmarted the mill owners, Scattergood offers to buy back the railroad and to distribute the profits to the people of Coldriver. Before leaving town, Helen tells Scattergood the secret of her mysterious visitor: Prior to coming to Coldriver, Helen had been a vaudeville performer and the man visiting her came to ask her to rejoin the company. Upon learning the news, Johnny proposes to Helen and all ends happily.

Film Details

Also Known As
Main Street Scandal
Release Date
Feb 21, 1941
Premiere Information
Montpelier, VT premiere: 14 Feb--15 Feb 1941
Production Company
Pyramid Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the "Scattergood Baines" short stories by Clarence Budington Kelland in American Magazine .

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 9m
Film Length
6,181ft

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Main Street Scandal. Although the film was not viewed, the above-listed credits were taken from a cutting continuity deposited in the Copyright Registry. Composer Constantin Bakaleinikoff's surname is misspelled "Bakleinikoff" in the continuity. Actor John Archer was listed in Hollywood Reporter production charts under the name of Ralph Bowman, a name he had previously used until his appearance in this picture. According to a May 1940 news item in Los Angeles Times, RKO purchased the rights to the "Scattergood Baines" stories for $100,000. American Magazine began publishing Clarence Budington Kelland's stories featuring "Scattergood Baines," the good-hearted philosopher and shopkeeper of Coldriver, on January 1920. According to the Motion Picture Herald review, the series ran for approximately twenty years at the rate of ten stories per year. In 1938, the CBS network launched a radio series based on the stories, starring Jess Pugh and Wendell Holmes. The news item in Los Angeles Times adds that after buying the rights to the stories, George J. Schaefer, the president of RKO, hired Jerrold Brandt and Charles E. Ford to produce the series. By the time the series was launched, however, only Jerrold Brandt was credited as producer. Brandt went on to produce all six films in the series, which starred Guy Kibbee as Scattergood, the sage of Coldriver. Michael L. Simmons wrote or co-wrote all but one of the pictures, and Christy Cabanne directed them all. Dink Trout, who appeared as railroad conductor "Pliny Pickett" on the radio show, reprised his role in several of the "Scattergood" films. Several other characters, including "Hipp," who was played by both Willie Best and Paul White, appeared in all of the films. The series ended in 1943 with Cinderella Swings It. For more information about the series, consult the Series Index.