Edison, the Man (1940) - full transcript

Hoored at a banquet for his sixty year career as an inventor, scientist, and businessman, 89 year old Thomas Alva Edison reflects back on his long career, which includes such achievements as the stock market ticker, the phonograph, the light bulb, and the motion picture.

Subtitles: Lu?s Filipe Bernardes

Mr. Parks.

Mr. Edison hasn't even left the
house yet, sir.

- Have you any idea what's keeping him?
- No, sir, I haven't.

You'd better phone him and ask.

- Yes, sir.
- Wait.

- You'd better go there yourself. And hurry.
- Yes, sir.

Thank you.

Do you know a fountain pen has
always been a mystery to me?

Can I put that in our
school paper, Mr. Edison?

Nancy, please, that's a foolish question.

- Now, Mr. Edison!
- Nancy, is your name Nancy?

Yes, sir, Nancy Gray.

Nancy. That's a pretty name.

- I've always liked the name of Nancy.
- It was your mother's name, wasn't it?


Yes, that's why I like it.

Now, Mr. Edison, what
is your formula for success?

We know his formula for success,
don't you remember?

Success is 1% inspiration and 99%
perspiration, isn't that right, Mr. Edison?

Hm-hmm, hm-hmm.

Of course that 1% inspiration is
very important, you know?

You have to have it,
you can't invent it.

- You can't learn it in school either.
- What's that?

- You can't learn it in school either.
- No.

No, I guess you can't.

Although I was never in school long
enough to find out.

You weren't? Who taught you then?

- A school marm.
- But you said you didn't go to school.

- Nancy did, my mother.
- Oh.

What do you think was
the greatest invention?

The printing press, the electric light,
the radio?

- The greatest invention?
- Yes, sir.

- A blade of grass.
- But that isn't an invention, Mr. Edison.

Oh, yes it is, oh, yes.
That's nature's invention.

Did you ever stop to think
what makes it grow, makes it green?

No, sir.

Mr. Edison, what would you say is
the most valuable thing in the world?

Oh, that's easy.

- Time.
- Time?

Because all the money in the world
won't buy one minute of it.

Mr. Edison.

- Mr. Edison!
- Hm?

Are you ready to leave for the banquet?

Oh, the banquet.

Oh, Paul, I'm sorry. I forgot all about
that. I never carry a watch.

He never carries a watch!
That's important.

- Yeah, human interest stuff.
- Goodbye, Nancy. Good luck.

- Goodbye.
- Goodbye, Mr. Edison, thank you.

You're welcome, you're welcome.

You never can tell about a banquet.

It is fitting that we celebrate
the golden jubilee of light...

...in this replica of old
Independence Hall.

For I hold with Mr. Henry Ford,
who built it here,

that Thomas Edison, through his work,

has framed a new kind of
declaration of independence.

He has declared through his work...

...and with a force greater than that
of any man now living,

the freedom of the human mind.

The peoples of the world whom he has
served are witnesses to this truth,

and we are here to do him honor
in their name.

But there was a time when he had
no witnesses.

He had to make his way slowly,
against odds,

of ignorance, doubt, prejudice
and greed.

After his early years in Port Huron,

Mr. Edison worked as a telegrapher.

Quietly studying the use
of a mysterious new power.


In 1869, he left the
west and went to Boston,

where his first invention,
a vote recorder, was rejected.

He then came down to New York City.

Thank you.

- Who's that fellow?
- I don't know.

Hey, you.

You there.

Hey, what are you doing there?

Come out of there.

- Why didn't you stop?
- Stop what?

You heard me, I shouted three times.

- I'm sorry, I'm a little hard of hearing.
- What's that you're holding?

Come on, open it up.

Oh, books.

- What's going on here anyway?
- I guess maybe I was a little hasty.

- Good night.
- Good night.

I'm looking for a telegraph
operator named Cavatt, Bunt Cavatt.

He told me I'd find him in the
gold indicator building.

- Is your name Tom Edison?
- Yes, sir.

I'm Bunt Cavatt's uncle.

- Els is my name.
- How do you do, Mr. Els?

Come on down.

- Down from Boston?
- Yes, yes, sir.

- Ever been in New York before?
- No.

Aim to stay long?

I hope so, Bunt promised
to get me a job.

- Oh, Bunt!
- Yeah?

Here's Tom Edison.

You old lightning slinger,
how are you?

Well, how's the old tramp?

Finer and stronger.

Well, what are you doing,
going or coming?

I'm going.

Well, you can't do that,
I just got here.

- This is Uncle Ben's suggestion.
- I told him he could stay if he'd work.

Yeah, but look what he wants
me to work with.

I'm telegrapher. A man has
to draw the line somewhere.

- How about that job you promised me?
- Huh? Oh...

Oh, you don't want to work in New
York, Tom.

This town is no good for you. The tall
buildings crush the spirit and torment soul.

Oh, no, not gonna torment my soul.

I always wanted to come to New York.
Now I'm here I'm gonna stay here.

- Is somebody dead? What is that smell?
- Oh, that's, that's, er...

- That's that.
- What?

- That's your vote recorder.
- Gosh, I didn't feel it was that bad.

Well, that's not the reason Congress
rejected it.

They just don't want their
votes recorded.

But I made a big success
out of it anyway.

- It's marvelous for aging whisky.
- Aging whisky?

Smells like you're aging eggs.

You just run the electricity up
through it and jolt it up a bit.

In 10 minutes you got
20-year-old whisky.

Well, that settles that. That's my first
and my last invention.

Oh, you don't mean that, Tom.

Anyway, it'll teach me a lesson not
to invent things that people don't want.

Never mind it.
Let's you and me hit the road again.

Not me, I'm going to stay
in New York.

Aw, you're not ready to settle
down yet.

You're the best telegrapher operator
in the country.

Almost. You can get a job anywhere.
Besides, look at the fun we'll have.

Never mind the fun. I've been
a tramp operator long enough.

And so have you. Now if you take
my advice, you stay here too.

Well, I might as well...

Here, here, the place for you
is San Francisco.

San Francisco needs you.

- And here's a ticket as far as Hoboken.
- Thanks for the lift across the river.

Well, goodbye, Uncle Ben. If anything
happens to me, you'll be sorry.

Uh, how about a little cash?

Help yourself.

- I'll take the five.
- You sure you won't need that?

Oh, no, it's soft money. It's very suiting.
Now, goodbye, Tom.

I'll leave you with Uncle Ben. You can
step right into my shoes.

You'll look very good on the end
of that broom.

Uncle Ben, if you can stand that
whisky, it's yours.

Goodbye gentlemen, it's a beautiful world
and we will meet again to enjoy it.

- My pal. And he runs away from me.
- No, not from you, from that broom.

Well, now how about it, Mr. Els?

How about me picking up from
where Bunt left off?

You can help with the cleaning
if you want.

Room and board. You understand,
temporarily, until you get a job.

That's fine. Thanks very much,
thank you.

And it'll be alright if I do a couple
of experiments here while I'm working...

...you know, on my own time?

Yes, if you're careful.

Come on now, we've got work to do.
You understand that thing?

- I should, I made it.
- Well turn it off. It's getting me down.

# Genevieve, sweet Genevieve #

# The sun may come... #

This is Mr. Taggart's office.

Oh, it's where all the big deals
come off, huh?

- I'm tired, let's drop off awhile and eat.
- Alright!

- What's this contrivance?
- What's that?

- What is this thing?
- Oh, that's a master transmitter.

We get quotations direct from the floor
of the Gold Exchange...

...then we send it out from that machine
there to the brokers' offices.

- Ain't it a wonder?
- It's a wonder that it works.

I'd like Mr. Taggart sometime.

- Mr. Taggart? Meet him? To talk to?
- Sure, why not?

That's good! Meet Mr. Taggart.

Come on, let's eat.

Well, how do you do, Mr. Taggart?

Now look what you made me do.

Mr. Taggart, it's a pleasure
to meet you, sir!

A real, unadulterated pleasure.

Now, Mr. Taggart, I'm going
to be very brief...

...because I know you haven't
much time and neither have I.

Have a cigar, Mr. Taggart.

Don't mind if I do.

And sit down, please.
By all means, sit down, Mr. Taggart.

Now, Mr. Taggart, you've got money
and I've got ideas.

Together we should make a great team.

Sounds good, young man.
How much do you need?

Well, I'll make it light on yourself,
Mr. Taggart.

Well, money's pretty tight
right now.

What do you say to two
million dollars?

- You took the words right out of my mouth.
- Shall I wrap it up or send it?

Stop your fooling, stop your fooling.

I guess I'd better go and lay down awhile.
I ain't feeling so good.

'Bout this time of night
I get all tuckered out.

Why don't you take a little nap, Mr. Ells?
I'll clean up the office.

- Help yourself to the lunch.
- Oh, no, that's yours.

I ain't hungry. I keep worrying
about Bunt.

I guess I won't get a wink of
sleep tonight.

Mr. Els, you shouldn't try to do
two things at once.

If you're gonna sleep, sleep.

If you're gonna worry, why, stay awake
and make a good job of it.

Listen to this, Mr. Els. From Faraday's
experiments with electricity.

The object of my search was for a way
to convert magnetism into electricity.

When I broke the current, I observed
a spark leap between the bits of charcoal.

Lo, I beheld the embryo
of electric light.

But I have rather been desirous
of discovering...

...new facts concerning magneto
electric induction...

...that are exalting the force of those
already obtained,

being assured that the latter would find
their full development hereafter.


That's now.

Hey! Hey!

- Did you see that spark?
- Why do you think I jumped?

It works, just like it said it would
in the book.

You'll burn the building
down first thing you know.

No, I won't, Mr. Els.
This is an experiment in electricity.

Electricity? That stuff's dangerous.
Stop fooling with it down here.

How am I going to find out about it
unless I fool with it?

You told me I could experiment
down here.

Oh, I'll lose my job.
You want to get me fired?

Oh, no, Mr. Els.

I'd rather walk the streets hungry
and homeless than have that happen.

You've been too nice to me.
I'll just go my way.

No, wait a minute, wait a minute, I didn't
say anything about you having to go away.

I'd rather go away than have
you worry all the time.

Oh, I'll be alright, but just go easy,
that's all.

Thanks, thanks. You see, Mr. Els,
if that thing works,

everybody's going to be able
to use it all over the world.

What is it?

It's a new kind of light, something
that's never been seen before.

Are you going to make me mad again?

No sir. Of course I have to get the
money to experiment.

Well, why don't you invent money?

I'm going to get the money
from Mr. Taggart.

I'm going to sell Taggart the idea
of a new stock ticker.

That'll give me the money to
carry on the experiment with light.

You ought to know by this time
you can't see Mr. Taggart.

You can see anybody if you just
try long enough.

- Yes, what is it?
- You know what it is.

Same thing it was yesterday and the day
before that and the day before that.

I want to see Mr. Taggart.

It ought to be clear to you
that he's too busy to see you.

You go in and tell Mr. Taggart
I'd like to see him.

Shut that door, I don't
want to be disturbed.

Beg your pardon, sir, Sorry, but a person
named Edison is anxious to see you.

Well, I can't see any person
named Edison today.

It's very important, Mr. Taggart.

I'll see him next Christmas.
And shut that door.

- Next Christmas, Mr. Edison.
- Hm?

Next Christmas, Mr. Edison.

Is it alright if I wait here?

- It's down half a point.
- One more drop and I'll sell out.

It's a shaky market.

Down another half.

- What time does Mr. Taggart go to dinner?
- He doesn't go. It's brought to him.

What's the matter?

- Hey, what's the matter?
- Give us the quotation!

- It's stopped!
- It'll ruin us!

What does it say?

- It's busted.
- Well do something. Get Taggart!

Yes, sir.

Get away now.

Go downstairs and see
the battery connections.

- The trouble's up here. I can fix it.
- Get away!

It's very simple. It's very easy.

Alright, fix it, fix it!
But be quick!

How long is it gonna take?

It's just the contact spring that
fell down between the gears.

- What's your name?
- Edison.

- Can you keep that indicator running?
- Yes.

You're hired.
I'll give you $300 a month.

- How much?
- Isn't that enough?

I'm afraid if I got that much money for this
job I'd never have the courage to quit.

What do you want?

I want just five minutes of your time.

- Come in to my office.
- Yes sir.

General Powell.

Good afternoon.
That was quite a flurry.

This is the man who fixed the indicator.
General Powell, Mr., uh...


General Powell, president
of Western Union?

- Well, you're another man I want to see.
- I have no objection.

You see, we own that gold indicator.

Merry Christmas.

Thank you, sir.

What kind of a stock ticker
have you in mind?

A ticker that will give you quotations
not only on gold...

...but on every stock in the market.

You really think you can do that?

Yes, sir, I think I can, if you'll only
give me a chance.

- Certainly good cigar, you know?
- What sort of a chance do you want?

- A chance to experiment.
- Young man, we can't afford to experiment.

Not with green electrical workers.

We've no guarantee that these theories
of yours are workable.

Well, most electricity is theory yet.

That's the trouble. Beyond the point,
what good is electricity anyway?

What point is a newborn baby?

- Mr. Edison, you're simply wasting my time.
- Well, in that case, I won't waste mine.

Sit down, both of you.

It's not going to do anybody any good
if we get all excited...

...and start jumping to our feet.

Sit down.

You ought to use more
imagination, Taggart.

And you ought to use more patience...
and tact.

Mr. Edison, I'm very much interested
in your idea for a stock ticker.

If you want to work, I'll give
an opportunity in our new workshop.

And whatever you bring to me
that's new and practical, I'll buy.

That's great, General.

All I want is a place to work,
a few tools and some men to help me.

You'll have all that.

Mr. Taggart's secretary will give you
a letter to our foreman in Newark.

- Thank you, sir.
- Not at all.

Thank you.


I beg your pardon, I didn't see you.

That's all right.
You didn't hurt yourself?

No. Why are these things always
so much easier to open?

Beg your pardon?

Why are these things always
so much easier to open?

- Maybe I can help you.
- Thank you.

- You work here?
- Yes, upstairs.

- I'm starting in downstairs today.
- What do you do?

- I'm an inventor.
- Oh, well, really!

- You see, I don't invent umbrellas.
- Anyone could tell that.

My word!

- Mr. Johnson?
- Yes.

I'm Tom Edison.

- General Paul told me that...
- The letter is self-explanatory.

This way.

You can work here. Naturally, anything
you want is at your disposal.

Thank you, Mr. Johnson.

We like to have the home addresses
of all our men.

Where are you staying?

Right here.

I mean, where are you sleeping?

Well, for the present I'll have
to sleep here.

Very well.

General Powell says you are to draw
some money on payday.

That's very nice of the general.
When is payday?

Next Saturday.

- My name is Michael Simon.
- Oh, how do you do? Mine's Edison.

- And that is Mr. Ashton.
- How are you?

How do you do?

What sort of work are you going
to do here, Mr. Edison?

Well, the first thing I'm going to do
is fix an umbrella.

Excuse me, miss.

Here's your umbrella.

Oh, it's you.

You fixed it!
It looks alright again.

Thank you.

- Thank you very much.
- Don't mention it.

You handle those keys very well.

- That's my job, Mr. um...
- Edison, Tom Edison.

Mine's Mary Stillwell.

- Dinner time, I'm hungry.
- Beg your pardon?

I'm hungry.

Rushed to work this morning
without any breakfast.

So did I.

And I got a lot of work to do
yet before I can eat.

- Goodbye, Miss Stillwell.
- Goodbye, Mr. Edison.

Yes, sir.

How much is apple pie
and a glass of milk?

- 10 cents.
- I'll have that.

Oh, hello!

Well, it seems like we'll have
to have dinner together.

That's fine, fine, uh...

You see, when I went back downstairs
I found out that I, uh...

- Uh, won't you sit down?
- Thank you.

I'll have the regular 35-cent
dinner, please.

You eat very little for a big man.

Yes, yes, don't I?

- Oh, no! Please.
- Oh, it's a pleasure, Miss Stilwell.

Thank you.

This check is for 45 cents. Could
you trust me for a day or two?


Maybe I could come back a little
later to pay you.


Mr. Edison.

- You dropped something.
- Oh! Thank you, thank you.

Mr. Funny Fellow, huh?

I guess I didn't hear that dollar
when it dropped.

I heard something, and looked
and there it was.

Sure is nice to have somebody like
you around to pick things up for me.

- Do get out of the rain.
- Yes, ma'am.

You've earned your share
of this umbrella.

When you get it fixed again be sure
and bring it back to me.

- Well, here's some money for you.
- Oh, thank you.

Mr. Simon, here's the money I owe you,
I'm very much obliged.

Oh, it is a pleasure, I'm sure.

- Thanks, Bob.
- Oh, any time.

- I'm ready for some men now.
- How many of these machines...

- ...are you going to make?
- Just one.

You've got drawings here for a dozen.

- If one works, I'm lucky.
- Alright, I'll get you some men.

Mr. Johnson, if it's all the same to you,
I'd like to pick them out myself.

Of course.

I'm afraid Mr. Simon isn't very original.

I guess he's right.


The spring's too strong.

Maybe you can make a better one.

Say, a fellow can tell a bad egg
without being able to lay one.

Sorry, I guess you're right.

Graham, Lundstrom, Bigelow,
report to Mr. Edison.

Boys, I'd like to get some models
made of each one of these sketches.

- Would you like to try that one?
- Sure.

I think that'll suit you.

And here's one that'll keep
a tomcat home nights.

- The tougher the better.
- Go to it, boys.

Would you like to try this one?

Thank you very much. I prefer to
work for the company.

Alright. Well, I guess I'll go after
this one myself.

Simon, I'm sorry, but it looks like
I'll have to lay you off.

Have you got another job?


Look, I'm sure you can do this.

- I'll try my best, Mr. Edison.
- Sure, I know you will.

Do you mind working a little while
tonight until I come back?

- I've got something very important to do.
- No, I don't.


What are you doing?

I'm asking the young lady
to have supper with me.

- What does she say?
- Says she'd be delighted. Want to try?

It's been a wonderful evening.
Such a dinner, the concert...

- I didn't know you liked music.
- I do, if it's simple enough.

Oh, look, isn't that a lovely sofa?

If could tell better
if I could see it better.

Wait until they can light their windows
with electric lamps

Then you'd really see something.

- What is electricity?
- Hm?

I've been working around it for over
a year and don't even know what it is.

Nobody does.

An old Scotch telegrapher told me once
it was like a dachshund dog,

long enough to stretch from
Edinburgh to London.

You'd pull his tail in Edinburgh
and he barks in London.

Nobody knows what goes through
the dog or over the wire.

You know, there's electricity
in people too.

I know. Sometimes my hair gets
so full of it I can't comb it.

Really? I'd never think so
looking at it now.

Maybe you're a human electric battery.
Let's experiment.

That's what you are, a human
electric battery.

Did I shock you?

No, not exactly, let me have
your hand.

Oh, there's a lot of electricity in you.
I can feel it going up my arm.

It sort of tingles.

- Wouldn't we better be going?
- Wait, this is a scientific experiment.

Now, you know the theory
of electricity...

is that it always travels in one
direction, see, from positive to negative.

Positive, negative.

We're wrong somewhere.

- You're the positive one, is that it?
- Very positive.

- Then should that make me negative?
- I hope not, are you?

Somebody's always interfering
with science.

And does the machine really work?

Yes, it did, at 4 in the
morning when I went home.

I left it still working. And after ten
weeks of it, too. I'll show you.

Boys, come on. I'll show you.

Now watch.

Wait a minute, wait a minute.

Mr. Edison.

Mr. Edison.

I don't know, it doesn't work.

- It doesn't work?
- No.

Gosh, that's funny.
It should work.

- Congratulations, Tom, it's a good job.
- That's fine, Tom.

- I didn't believe we could do it.
- What do you mean we?

Mr. Edison, that's a very fine
piece of work.

- Thanks. Hey, what time is it?
- Seven o'clock.

Oh, Gosh, I got to be in New York
by nine.

- Oh, there's plenty of time.
- Somebody put my hat on for me, will you?

- Here we go, boys.


- Think they'll like it?
- Of course they'll like it.

How much do you think I ought
to ask them for it?

What do you think it's worth?

I don't know. I'd like to get a couple
thousand dollars for it.

Suppose you let them make an offer
before you say anything.

That's a good idea.

You think you're nothing
but wood, and metal and glass.

But you're not. You're dreams,
and hard work and heart.

- You'd better not disappoint us.
- I'm glad you said us, Mary.

Good luck, Tom.

Oh, Tom!

There you are, General.
What do you think of it?

Why, you've done it.
Well, that's that!

Looks like it.

Would you be interested in taking over
a plant to manufacture these tickers?

Oh, no, sir.
I'd like to sell it outright.

- I got some other things I want to do.
- What are some of these other things?

Well, I'll bring them around and show them
to the General when it think they're right.

You see, I like the cigars I get here.

As a matter of fact, I'm now in association
with the general so let's talk business.

I'm ready.

How much you want for this
stock ticker?

Well, uh... I...

Suppose you make me an offer, General.
Whatever you think is fair.

How about $20,000?

- How much?
- I said $20,000.


Well, I... $20.000, I, uh...

Perhaps a fair price with world rights
would be $30,000.

- $30,000?
- Yes, $30,000.

- Well, I...
- Come, come, now. Let's make it $40,000.

World rights and everything,
I really think that's fair.

Yes, yes, General, I think that's fair.

Oh, General, before you make that out.
You advanced me some money, remember?

$215 in cash.

$106.23 in material, it comes to

Are you sure that's correct?

Yes sir. I'm sure.

All right.

We'll forget it.

Thank you, sir.

What are you going to do with
all that money?

I'll tell you one thing I'm not
going to do with it.

- I'm not going to buy any gas stock.
- Well, you might do worse.

I doubt it, Mr. Taggart.

Oh, here are patent papers, General.
They're yours now.

- And thank you, sir.
- Don't mention it. Goodbye.

One moment. Don't congratulate
yourself too much.

You may be interested to know
that we were prepared to go...

...as high as $60,000 for your invention.

- You were?
- We were.

It may interest you to know that I was
prepared to sell it for $2,000.

Mr. Edison, what happened?

Hold your horses, boys, I'll tell you
all about it later.

He sold it.


He says "will you marry me?".

She says, "Yes, Tom."

He says, "Come right down."

She says, "Right away".

- Congratulations!
- When is it going to be?

Mr. Edison, I'd like to work with you
wherever you go.

Sure, sure...


Well, what are you waiting for?

Well, what are we waiting for?

- Congratulations, Mr. Edison.
- A boy, too!

That's wonderful, Tom.
First a girl, now a boy.

Well, it had to be one or the other,
don't you think?

- Congratulations.
- Thank you.

Thank you.

- Don't smoke cigars?
- Yes, but I'll save it for some day.

Here, here's one for Monday too.
Come on, there's one more for each here.

- Thank you again.
- Thank you, Tom.

Can't tell when this will ever
happen again.

Maybe not for another year.

- More? Great shakes, what a capacity.
- Tom, it's nearly 9 o'clock.

- Is it?
- You're spoiling that child.

A man has a right to humor
his youngest.

You've been late to the shop three
mornings this week. What'll the men say?

Oh, they'll bear up on it, won't they?
Eh, won't they, Dash?

They'll bear up on it.

Come on, you'd better feed
yourself now.

Daddy's got to go to work to make
more money to buy more oatmeal.

Don't let me hold you.
It's been nice seeing you, Mr. Edison.

Do drop in when you're out
this way again.

Come on, here you are.
Go to it.

- Goodbye, Dash. Goodbye.
- Goodbye.

Goodbye, honey, goodbye.

Goodbye, Tom. Say goodbye.
Say goodbye. There you go!

Well, Mr. Els!
Bunt, how are you?

- Is this 7 o'clock?
- Well, it was 7 o'clock.

Yeah, two hours ago. What kind
of a businessman are you anyway?

- What have you been doing all this time?
- I've been feeding the baby.

There you are, Uncle Ben,

the wheels of industry have to stand
still while this man feeds his baby.

The wheels ain't standing still.
Listen to them.

He means his own wheels,
huh, Bunt?

- It won't do any good, Bunt, I'm broke.
- You certainly are looking fine.


- Are you really?
- Practically.

You can't be! You're an important

You got a laboratory, and a wife
and children, and all kinds of stuff.

Besides, I only want five dollars.

Well, see if you can get ten
and give me five of them. Come on.

Bunt, you could've at least let him
finish saying hello.

There must be a leak in your business.
Something wrong with your bookkeeping.

There are the books.
Look them over.

- Books, I don't see any books.
- There they are. Both of them.

Bills I owe, bills owed me. Maybe it's the
other way around, I don't know.

- But that's the whole thing in a nutshell.
- In a nutshell is right.

Come on upstairs and have a look.

- No wonder you're insolvent.
- Insolvent? Insolvent?

It sounds better than just being broke.

- Means the same thing, though, doesn't it?
- Yeah!

Well, you really have a nice
place here, Tom.

Hm-hmm, not trying to show off.

Just wanted to prove to you, Bunt,
that I spent the money.

- Good morning, Michael.
- Good morning, Tom.

Jack, any progress?

I've got it. I've got it sure.
All I need is a couple of days more.

That's fine, that's fine, I knew
you'd get it. Stick to it, now.

That's wonderful. You know,
I never thought he'd get it.

- Has he got it?
- Sure, he said. You said...

He hasn't got a darn thing, but I
like to hear him talk that way.

- Hey, Tom, here comes the sheriff.
- Uh-oh!

The sheriff in person.
I'd better evaporate.

Looking for Thomas Edison.

- Which one of you gentlemen is Tom Edison?
- Can I help you?

You certainly can, Mr. Edison,
There's a writ of replevin, Mr. Edison.

What does that mean?

A writ of replevin is an action to regain
personal property illegally retained.

Such as what?

Such as this here machinery.
It ain't paid for.

Well, I wouldn't worry about that
if I were you, sheriff.

I'll take care of all those
things on the first of the month.

You ain't been taking care of them,
that's what the trouble is.

Well, I might have overlooked
a few little things.

- There's the writ of attachment, Mr. Edison.
- Oh, this is something different.

No, that's practically the same thing.
It gives you a week to pay up your bills...

...or this machinery all goes back
to the factory.

I see, anything else?

Uh, yeah, here's a summons
to come to court...

...and show cause why we shouldn't
serve this here replevin.

This is no good now, you've already
served the replevin.

No, no, look here, that writ
of attachment nullifies all that.

- Oh, I see. Well, is that good?
- Well, it should... Doggone, how do I know?

Maybe you need a habeas-corpus.
You got everything else.

- Are you a drinking man?
- Well, sure, but I'm sober now.

Me too. Let's go someplace where
you can buy me a drink.

Oh, yeah, that's an idea.

I never indulge in legal discussion
without benefit of spirits.

Well, it's very thoughtful of you,
Mr. Edison

Say, Mr. Edison, I've got a little
invention of my own.

- That's fine, boy or girl?
- Oh, no, I don't mean that.

Tom, Tom, the sheriff's gone.

I'm an ostrich.

Whenever I get in trouble I stick
my head in there and hide.

Why am I laughing?

I am in trouble.

Yeah, that's right.

The sheriff said you got a week
to pay the machinery company.

A week. A week.

It doesn't seem possible you can destroy in
a week what's taken five years to build up.

It's a shame, you must have a mint
of money wrapped up in that laboratory.

It's not the money wrapped up
in the laboratory,

the lives that are wrapped up
in the laboratory.

It's come to mean everything
that I ever set out to do.

The weekly paycheck
for all my men.

It means home, shelter, clothing,
food for lots of families.

I can't let a week destroy all of that.

Uncle Ben, I've got to do something.
And I'm open for suggestions.

- Are you fooling, Tom?
- I wish I was.

Nobody ever asked me for
advice before.

Then you ought to have a lot of it
stored up.

Well, it seems to me,
if I was in your place...

you being an inventor and all that, I'd...

Well, I'd invent something.

Oh, you mean just invent
something quick, like uh...

on the spur of the moment.

- That's right, the quicker the better.
- Anything you suggest in particular?

How about that light you
was always talking about?

The one that was supposed to work
by electricity, you remember?

Yes, I remember.

Well, it seems to me this is about
as good a time as any to invent that.

Bunt's always talking about it.

It ain't often he talks sense but
whenever he mentions that light,

he sounds pretty reasonable.

No two ways about it, Tom,
if you invent that,

Yes, if I could invent that.

- Uncle Ben, will you do something for me?
- Sure I will, Tom.

Will you tell my wife I won't
be home for dinner?

And I may not be home for breakfast
in the morning.

I'll gonna stay here
and get busy on that light.


- Hello, Mary.
- Tom, look at you.

- It would be a good thing if I could do it.
- Don't you think you ought to stop for a while?

- I can't, not now.
- But four days, Tom.

The children have actually
stopped asking for you.

You've got to rest and eat.

I had some apple pie and milk
a little while ago.

- That was yesterday.
- I've got work to do.

It can't be so important as all this.

Right now it's more important to me
than anything in the world.

It isn't at all, Tom. Nothing is
as important as health.

You're tearing yourself to pieces.

Come home with me.

- Leave me alone.
- Tom!

I mean it. Leave me alone.
I'm working and you're interrupting me.

Do I have to get your permission
to do my job?

- You're not working, you're slaving.
- Alright, alright.

- Please leave me alone.
- All right, Tom!

Come in.

- Tom.
- Yes?

I don't understand these specifications.

This clay, what kind of clay is?

Pipe clay, ordinary pipe clay.
Wind the wire around it.

- Oh, yes, I see, I see.
- Michael.

Suppose this shop were to pass
out of my hands...

...and become the property of someone else,
would it make any difference?

Not to us, as long as you are
here with us.

Supposing I took in General Powell
as a partner.

And of course, Mr. Taggart.


If you have to...

Sounds very good.

That's all, Michael.

- Only a minute or two, please.
- I had no idea he was like that.

He's very, very ill.

- Hello Tom!
- Hello, General.

I'm glad you came.

I'd have come before this
if I knew you were ill.

Why did you keep it a secret? Why didn't
you let your friends know?

- Is everything alright?
- All fine.

- Sure?
- Sure. Everything smooth as silk.

Money piling in like corn in a crib.

I saw Taggart the other day.

He said something about helping you.

Helping me? I don't need any help.

Don't put too much faith in Taggart.

Now don't you worry about that,
General. You just hurry up and get well.

I'm doing my best, Tom.

I want to be around when
you get that light.

- That light.
- You will be, General.

Hm, you think so.

So, it looks as though General Powell won't
be up and around for quite a while and...

Well, the fact is I can't wait that long.
I've got to have the money right away.

Well, that's fine, Mr. Edison.
How much money do you want?

Well, with one thing and another
it's quite a tidy sum.

It doesn't matter, it doesn't
matter at all.

General Powell thinks that
you're a man with a future.

And any man the general believes in
is alright with me.

Just name your figure.

What would you say to...


Hm-hmm, $50,000.

Suppose I let you have $100,000.

- 100,000?
- That's right.

Well, I don't need that
much, Mr. Taggart.

You may, you may.
You can't ever tell what's in the future.

For the present, I'm in the position to
give you a check for $ 100,000 right now.

Why, that's wonderful, that's great!

I wish I could tell you how
obliged I am.

Not at all, not at all.

I can go on experimenting for maybe
3 years now without any worry.

Naturally, if I let you have this money,
I should expect to assume some authority...

...in deciding the kind of work
you do at Menlo Park.

Oh, you would.

Now, don't misunderstand me.
I simply want the right to...

...make sure that whatever you undertake
to do is, uh... commercially profitable.

Sort of a little string on my money,
if you don't mind.

But I do mind.

I'm an inventor, I can't be told what to do.
I've got to do the things I want to do.

I work with ideas, visionary things.

Nobody, not even I know how useful
they're going to be or how profitable...

...till I've had a chance to work
them out in my own way.

You're in a very bad spot to ask
for your own way, Mr. Edison.

Yes, I am.

And you're willing to take advantage of it.
You want to put me on a chain.

Well now, you think it over.

No, that won't be necessary. I don't
want your money at that price.

I'd prefer to hang on somehow until
General Powell is able to talk to me.

Thank you.

Mr. Edison, General Powell is dead.

Men, this might be a fine time for us
all to sit down and have a good cry.

But we're not going to do that because
it won't get us anywhere.

I know that we've been in tough
spots before but, uh...

...we always seem to come up with
something at the last minute,

something that pulled us through.

Remember the chemical telegraph?
That was a windfall.

And the quadruplex and the electric pen?

Those things just sort of seemed to
come along when we need them most.

But this time nothing has happened.

I don't know, maybe I've been
expecting a miracle.

Anyway, it hasn't happened.

And I haven't any more time.

We're at the end of our rope.


Boys, if you'll forgive me for
putting it this way,

You're discharged.

Hold out for a few more days, Tom.

I know I'll work out this new
telegraph thing.

Thanks, Jack, we can't hold out.

You've got to have money to live on,
and so do I.

And we haven't any money.

Except, I've been able to scrape enough
together to pay you off in full.

- Tom, Tom, may I say just a word?
- No.

The less said the better right now.

Men, I...

I want to thank you all for
what you've done for me.

Pay them off, that's all.

Oh, there's Papa.

Yes. Now lie down.

Good night, sweetheart.

Hello, Tom.

Hello, Tom.

Hello, Mary.

I don't suppose it's any use
to tell you I'm sorry, is it?

I don't know.

You might try.

Would it be alright if I tried tomorrow?

I'm dog tired.

- Tom, we've got something to settle.
- Not now, dear.

Yes, right now, Tom.

I want to know just how much
this light means to you.

I want the truth.

Is there anything real to it
or are you too stubborn to give it up?

- It's very real to me, Mary.
- But are you right about it?

Is everybody else in the world wrong?

Is there any chance, I don't care
how small, of your ever finding it?

Can we discuss it in the morning,
please, Mary?

Alright, Tom.

In the morning.

- Tom.
- Hm?

Well, I must have dropped off.

You let me sleep here all night?

Kind of tucked me in a little,
didn't you?

I couldn't let you catch cold, Tom.

- We have to talk this out.
- My, my, my, I just had the funniest dream.

He was dreaming about winter.

It was so cold that the
trees couldn't shake.

And daybreak froze fast
just as it was trying to dawn.

Yes, ma'am, all creation was freezing.

The question was whether I was going
to stay snug in bed or...

...get up and see what had happened.

Well, I got up, and the earth
had frozen fast on its axis.

It couldn't turn around.
Everything was pitch dark, too.

The sun had got jammed in between
two cakes of ice...

...and was working so hard to get loose
that it froze in its own sweat.

Well, so I stared off cross-country to see
what could be done and I met a bear.

I told him what had happened and he just
naturally bounced up and down on the ice...

...so hard that the hot oil
welled out all over him.

Then I picked Mr. Bear up and
I held him over the earth's axis...

...and I let the hot oil drip down.

Then I gave the earth's cog wheel a little
kick backwards till I got the sun loose.

The earth gave a grunt and began to
move, and the sun went up beautiful.

I lit my pipe by the light of its topknot.
Broke off a piece for myself.

Yes, ma'am, I walked home
with sunlight in my pocket.

Oh, Tom, that's beautiful.

You go on with your work.
Go right ahead with your light.

Don't listen to anyone
who tries to stop you.

Don't even listen to me if I talk
against it.

Nothing in the world can happen to us
as long as you can dream like that.

Well, Mary, maybe I didn't
dream it exactly.

Maybe I got it mixed up with an old
tall tale my mother would tell me.

No, I'd rather have it a dream.
Please, let it be a dream.

Alright, if you feel better that way.

Thank you.

I think you're a couple of laps
ahead of me all the time.

I told you you needed a heavier spring.
How many times do I have to tell you...

...to make you understand?

Getting anywhere with repeating
telegraph, Jack?

Not yet, but we'll get it.

Oh, Tom!

Here, here, don't monkey
with that.

- Sorry, Tom.
- That's all right.

It certainly put up a loud holler.

Never heard it make that
noise before.

It's certainly a keen noise. It seems
to be coming from the disk.

Very odd.

Michael, I'll be in my office if anyone
wants me. I've got some drawings to make.

Make this up as fast as you can.

What is it?
Is it something for the light?

No, I hope it's something that'll
keep the sheriff away.

Hello, hello, hello.

Mary had a little lamb!

His fleece...

Hello, hello, hello.

Mary had a little lamb!

His fleece was white as snow.

And everywhere that Mary went,
the lamb was sure to go.

Ha, ha, ha.

Hello, hello. hello.

Mary had a little lamb!

His fleece was white as snow.

And everywhere that Mary went,
the lamb was sure to go.

Ha, ha, ha.

- Gee wiz!
- I say!

That's... that's a wonderful invention.

It's no invention. It's been there
waiting for us all the time.

- You mean it was an accident?
- No, no, I don't think it was an accident.

Edison invents talking speaking.
Read all about the machine that talks!

Read all about it!

Bill told you, and Bill you owe.

You're certainly back on the right hook.
This talking machine is a gold mine.

Best pick in the corn stock load.

Look, Dash.

This is what I want to do. I want to get
a record of your voice at its loudest

Come on now, huh?

Before your mother comes, be a good boy and
give a big cry over this thing, will you, Dash?

Don't he cry enough as it is?

Go on, turn it.
come on, Dash, cry, honey.

Look, Dash, Dash...

Dash, look, look.
Look, look, Dash.

Dash, will you please cry?


Dash... look.

Well, I must say!

I wanted him to cry a little,
but he would only laugh.

I should think he would,
watching you two perform.

Come along, dear.

Tom, there's a crowd of newspapermen
who want to see you.

What about? I'm busy now.

They want to know how far
you've got with the electric light.

I wish I knew myself. Bunt, you go out
and talk to them, will you?

Tell them I'll be glad to give
them an interview...

when I have something more definite
about the light.

I see, you're still in the dark
about the light.

You better duck.

No, no, don't rush. I'll answer
your questions one at a time.

What is this about a light?
We heard he's working on a light..

Mr. Edison can't see anybody
at present.

However, if there's anything
I can do for you.

Who are you?

I have been Mr. Edison's associate
and confidant for many, many years.

Maybe you invented Edison, huh?

This is not a subject for levity,
young man.

Mr. Edison and I were out west
together as telegraph operators...

...and I may say, in all modesty,
of course,

that whatever Tom knows
about telegraphy, I taught him.

I was always exceptional
as an instructor.

To illustrate, I was once in the
Western Telegraph Station, so lonely...

that I caught a big rattlesnake
and brought him into my office for company.

And I named him Pete.

And gentlemen, in the long, cold,
winter night hours...

...I taught Pete to sing out the
Morse Code with his rattles.

Well, sir, the snake got away,

One day I chanced to be out

and I ran across a great big
rattlesnake in the brush.

I brought my gun down on him and,
would you believe it,

he rattled out, "Stop, Bunt,
don't shoot! It's me, Pete."

Just a minute, Mr... uh...

James J. Cavatt

- Known over the world as Bunt.
- How do you do?

Mr. Cavatt, we didn't come here to listen
to your snake stories,

we came here to interview Mr. Edison.

Mr. Edison is shut up in his laboratory.

In fact, he's on the verge
of a great discovery.

What is it? That's what we came
to find out.

- Gentlemen, I'm not at liberty to say.
- Is it the electric light?

That's something you'll have to find out
from Mr. Edison himself.

Why doesn't he tell us?

Firstly I don't believe he has a light
and I don't think he ever will have.

- Oh, you don't, eh?
- No, I don't, eh.

And what's more, I think he hasn't the nerve
to come out here and tell us.

He's hiding inside there behind you.

Why, you little pipsqueak, he's inside
there alright because he has got the light.

- You mean he's actually discovered it?
- Yes.

- He's got it now?
- Yes.

Why hasn't he announced it?

One thing at a time. He just finished
with the talking machine.

You can't let these big inventions
pile up on the public.

- Thank you, Mr. Cavatt.
- Come on, these will make the headlines.


I guess I gave him an earfull.

I sure did.

Ordinarily I'm a reticent fellow.

But he made me so mad.

You know I didn't have the light.
I'm miles away from it.

I never thought anybody'd believe me.

Everybody who reads the paper
will believe it.

Everybody except the men of science.
They'll skin me alive.

Well, I guess maybe I'd better
make myself scarce for a while.

If I had the money, I'd blow.

Can I take $20, Tom?

Here's the ten I owe you.

Like to keep even, don't you?

Well, take care of yourself.


I'm awful sorry about that
little blunder I made.

Why don't you tell them it's my fault?
Blame it on me.

No, it's alright, Bunt, it's alright.

As a matter of fact I'm kind
of glad it happened.

Now I've got to get the light.

Taggart, the gas stocks are going down
another point.

Gentlemen, if you please, make yourselves
easy. There isn't any light.

- How do you know?
- It's my business to know.

There's no electric light
and there never will be.

It's as impossible as perpetual motion.

- Then we ought to expose this man.
- I shan't say a word against him.

I don't have to. He's hung himself.

He's made a statement that isn't true
and never will be true.

In the field of science that sort
of thing is suicide.

That's right. By George,
he's ruined himself.

Talk of an electric light is sheer nonsense.

Edison's claims are as extravagant
as a fairy tale.

He knows or should know that it is
impossible as perpetual motion.

I say to you in all sincerity that these
statements about an electric light...

...are without any scientific foundation.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Edison refuses to
demonstrate his mysterious electric light.

We can easily assume why he refuses.
Because there's no such light.

It burned out again.

Well, that won't work.

- We'll have to try something else.
- But what?

We've tried dozens of metals.
Tin, copper, iron, iridium, brass, nickel.

We'll have to try hundreds more,
maybe thousands.

But I know that somewhere
in this universe...

...is a substance which will work
and we're going to find it.

We've got to have a light much brighter
for its size than any gaslight...

...or it's no good at all.

If platinum won't give it to us,
I don't know what will.

- Shall I connect it?
- Yes.

Well, it ought to work, but it won't.

I don't know, it must be some reason
we haven't thought of.

Or else we haven't the right material.

We've tried everything but this.

Now cry, son, cry.

Now cry, cry, cry.
Cry, son, cry.

- Doesn't he cry?
- He has quite frequently.

Never when I'm around. I've been trying to
get him to cry since he was 9 months old.

Come son, cry, please.
Now cry. Cry, son, cry.

- Oh, Tom, this is terrible.
- What's terrible?

Listen to this.

"When asked for an opinion of
Mr. Edison's claim,

the professor stated, "There is no room
in the world of science for a charlatan."

- Tom.
- There, there, do you hear that?

Your father's a faker.
Everybody says so.

Well, don't you see?

Look at that.

He doesn't care. I'm disgraced
and he sits here calm and peaceful.

Read it to him again slowly.
Maybe we can get him to understand.

I hope I never lay eyes on that
Bunt Cavatt again.

Oh, don't be too hard on Bunt.
He and I had some good times together.

I'd like to shake his head until
his brains rattled.

Look, son, cry, please.

I don't suppose Bunt has enough
brains in his head to rattle.

No, sort of a vacuum, I guess.

Well, even the vacuum can
be useful at times.

I remember I had an old bird dog once...



By George!

Tom, what on earth?

Simon, Simon!

We need a vacuum. That's
what we've been looking for.

The wire can't burn brightly enough
without melting...

...because it's exposed to the open air.

Too much oxygen. We'll enclose
the wire in a glass globe.

Pump out the air, turn on the current
and see what happens.

No, tonight.

- How was that?
- That'll do for the present.

- Thanks.
- Turn on the current.

She burns it up brighter now.

Not bright enough. We'll have
to improve the vacuum.

But Tom, I've got it down to one/one hundred
thousandth of an atmosphere already.

- We'll have to do better than that.
- But we can't do it. Not with this pump.

There's a mercury pump over at
Princeton that could do the trick.

Wonder if we can borrow that.

Have we got enough vacuum, Mike?

It's as good as we'll ever get.

Alright, turn on the current.

Well, here we go.

Well, we failed again.

That's the net result of
nine thousand experiments.

Too bad, Tom.

We know the work you have done.

We are as sorry as you are
that you didn't get results.

Results? Man, I got a lot of results.

I know nine thousand things now
that won't work.

It's a shame.

I'd like to see Mr. Edison, please.

What about?

I want to study to be an inventor.

You do, huh?


Well, because inventors make things,
and I like to make things.

And look.

See that?

- See how easy it works?
- Let's see it again.

Pretty good.

I made it myself, I was always breaking
my thumb nail.

Think you can make me one?

I don't know.

I might.

- It ain't much of a knife, is it?
- It will be when you fix it up.

- Tom, don't feel too bad.
- Mr. Els.

This young man wants to be
an inventor. What is your name?

- Jimmy Price
- Alright, Jimmy, this is Mr. Els.

Jimmy's going to work here with us.

Where are you staying, Jimmy?
I mean, where are you sleeping?

Well, for the time being I guess
I'll just have to sleep right here.

Take him over to the boarding house.
Give him a good meal and a room.

What's the matter?


Are you Thomas Edison?

Well, I think I am, Jimmy. Sometimes I get
a little confused about it.

You report at eight in the morning
for work.

Good morning, Tom.

- Good morning, boys.
- Good morning.

- Will it light?
- Hm-hmm.

We're going to use carbon for a filament
instead of metal.

- Filament? I never heard that word before.
- Neither did I. I just made it up.

That's ordinary sewing thread.

I want you to put it in the oven
and bake it for about an hour, you see?

Get it thoroughly impregnated
with carbon first, the way this is.

Then we'll put it in the bulb and try it.

But the thread is too delicate, Tom.
The heat'll break it.

Well, we'll try it anyway.

- But we've tried carbon before.
- Not carbonized thread.

That isn't very scientific, Tom.

I told you we had to leave
science behind! Come on!

Be careful you don't break
that filament.

It's number 65.

- Did it break? Is it alright?
- It's going to be alright.

Look, it's holding together.

Jimmy, take it up to Mr. Edison,
but be careful

I'll be right up.

By guns, Jimmy, can't
you stand on your feet?

There goes a whole day's work.




Careful with this one now
It's still hot.

Come on, come on, Jimmy,
we're wasting time.

Come on.

Nice thing about mistakes,
they don't have to be permanent.

I had to learn that by myself
when I was a kid.

A shoe filament.

A cotton sewing thread,

impregnated with carbon,

and sealed in a vacuum.

Alright, we'll give it the live test.

I'm almost afraid to turn the switch.

Here we go.


Looks as if this one
is going to last.

Still burning.

- Well, it must be 7:00.
- Yeah, and after.

How about a cup of coffee?

No, no, I'll have a glass of milk.

- Bring a glass for Jimmy, too.
- Sure.

A piece of pie.

Ashton, you'd better go home
and get some sleep.

He's been here all day.

I won't fall out of bed, Mama.

Good night, darling.

Close your eyes.

Come on.

- Can I lace my shoes?
- Hm-hmm.

- Don't I look pretty in my pink dress?
- Oh, you do.

# Oh, Genevieve #
# Sweet Genevieve #

# The days may come #
# The days may go #

# But still the hands of memory weave #

# The blissful dreams of long ago #

Give it a little more current.

Give it all it will take.

Turn up the gas.

- Forty hours.
- My, my.

Well, if it'll burn forty hours,
it'll burn four hundred.

Put that filament under a microscope.

- What's the date?
- October, 21st.

He's calling the newspapers.

He's going to light New York City!

Good, I'm going to bed.

Take it easy, Jim. All worry ever got me
was indigestion.

Look, Sneed, if Edison gets the franchise
to light this town,

I may as well make a bonfire
of my gas stocks.

Let him have it. The light
probably won't work.

That's the trouble, it will work.

Everything Edison invents works,
and works well.

I found that out to my sorrow.

What do you want me to do?

Stop him from getting
that franchise.

I see no reason, gentlemen,

why Mr. Thomas A. Edison should not
be granted a franchise...

...to electrically illuminate the
specified district under discussion.

Mr. Chairman, your own enthusiasm is not
shared by all of us by a long shot.

We are asked to let this man use New
York as a testing ground for his...

The light has been tested thoroughly.

You've been shown that its fire hazard
is so much less than that of gas...

Just a minute.
Gas is not on trial here.

No, but I can see that the
electric light is.

Gentlemen, I've told you that we're
willing to put our wires underground,

...so they will not overburden
your telephone poles.

I've assured you we'll take every
other necessary precautions.

I still say the risk is too great
for his impossible claims.

But they're not impossible.

And even if it were, my associates and I
are the ones taking the risk.

We're not asking New York City
for any financial aid.

We're merely asking for permission
to install our equipment at our own risk,

at our own expense, and if
we fail, at our own loss.

That seems fair enough.
Shall we vote on it?

- Yes. Yes.
- Mr. Edison!

One thing more, if you please. You know
that no dynamo in existence...

...is capable of producing the current
necessary to supply your lighting system.

Yes, sir, that's quite true.

Then how do you propose
to perform this miracle?

I'm going to build a dynamo. I'm going to
build a dynamo big enough to do the job.

One word, please,
I demand to be heard.

Mr. Taggart, this is extremely

Let him speak, he's a taxpayer.

- Make it brief, Mr. Taggart.
- Thank you.

I want to repectfully call the attention of
this board to the law which requires...

...that a specified time limit
be put in all contracts.

Mr. Edison's project must be
completed on some definite day.

That's the law.

Mr. Edison, how long will this
experiment of yours take?

- It won't be an experiment, Mr. Taggart.
- Please, don't let's quibble.

- How long will it take?
- It'll take a year, perhaps two.

There we are, gentlemen.
One year, perhaps two.

That means that for two years the streets
of the city of New York are to be torn up.

And traffic at a standstill. As a taxpayer,
I protest against such an outrage.

I protest with all the vehemence
at my command.

What would you suggest then?

I suggest that Mr. Edison be limited
to three months.

Can you do it in three months,
Mr. Edison?

No, sir.

And I doubt if Mr. Taggart could pipe
the same area for gas in three months.

The gas is already there, Mr. Edison,
functioning for the benefit...

...of thousands of grateful taxpayers.

I say those taxpayers have rights.

Rights its the duty of this board
to protect.

Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Edison.

I didn't come here this morning to deprive
the taxpayers of any rights.

I'm inviting this Board to let them
make use of a discovery...

...which will endanger and
handicap no one...

...but those who are afraid of its
competition with their own monopolies.

Your own experts have shown you
that the electric light is practical.

Its enemies know that it will be a cheaper
form of illumination than gas.

And that's the reason they're
against it.

But that's not the reason
I'm fighting for it.

I didn't hunt for it over
a period of years...

...because I thought there'd be money
at the end of the search.

It's because I've always known that if
we could find the light without a flame,

that you could put into homes
where men and women...

...are ruining their eyesight under
oil lamps and gas jets,

where surgeons are performing operations,
where doctors are working over microscopes,

men down coal mines, people everywhere...

...could have a safer and
a brighter light.

That I'd be doing something that every one
of them would be grateful to me for...

...whether they ever paid me
in money or not.

Now that light has been found!

What are you going to do about it?

Could you completely pipe
that district in six months, Mr. Taggart?


Alright, then, let's say six months,
how's that?

- Shall we vote on it, gentlemen?
- Yes.

All in favor of granting the franchise
under discussion?

- Aye.
- All against?

- Nay.
- Accepted. The franchise is granted.

- I congratulate you, Mr. Edison.
- Six months!

That's about September, 4th.
I'll have to hurry.

Thank you, sir.

- Tom.
- Oh, thanks.

- What do we call her, boys?
- It's the biggest in the world.

- Alright, we'll call it Jumbo.
- I christen you Jumbo!

Here, here, here!

It can't be wasted.

Two o'clock. Five hours to spare.

Power them for a load test.

Stand by for a full load test, boys.

Number 1.

Alright, number 2.

Throw them in parallel.

We're out of speed!

Faster, faster.

We're out of speed.

More, now! More, more speed!

Stop it, stop it!

I don't know what caused this problem.

The engines were not running
at the same speed.

One dynamo was pulling, the other
didn't follow.

The trouble must be with those

We'll have to connect those
governors together with a shaft.

But we can't do it now, Tom.
It's too big a job.

Send one of the men down to Gertz St.
and get 15 feet of one-inch steel shafting.

Five hours are not enough, Tom.
We haven't got the time.

We haven't got time to talk about it.
Go and do it.

Come on, men. Let's see what
damage was done now.

Let's get going.
Come on!

Why don't they play some chiff music?

- Mr. Taggart.
- Go away, Hall. Go away.

Mr. Taggart, listen.

- Very interesting, very interesting.
- I thought you'd like to know, sir.

Very thoughtful of you, Hall. Thank you.

Gentlemen, I've just received
very heartening news.

- What is it?
- Our friend Edison has stumbled.

At the last minute he has

His dynamos have broken down.

What lovely music.

Alright, turn it.

The other way.

Does it bind?

Running nice and smooth.

Alright. Put the belt on.

Tom, what happened?

Oh, Jumbo developed some bug
at the last minute.

Oh, look at your trousers.
Tom, your new blue suit.

How do you suppose that happened?

Oh, I'll never be able to fix that.

What's the matter, dear?

- I'm worried.
- About the dynamos?

Suppose they fail to work?

- They won't.
- You should have been here a while ago.

I wish I had your confidence.

I wish I had yours.

- Tom, one minute to seven.
- Right on the dot.

Remind me to give you a big hug
and a kiss afterwards, will you?

Go on, get out of the way.

- All ready, boys?
- Yeah, ready.

- Go ahead, Mike.
- Stand by, boys.

Now, number 1.

Take it easy, take it easy now.

Number 2.

Alright, throw them in parallel.

Go ahead.


Lower those feeders switches.

And yet, he would have been
a great man...

...even if had never invented anything.

Ladies and gentlemen,
I give you a name that will remain...

...forever vital with courage,

and vibrant with inspiration.

Thomas Alva Edison.

Mr. Toastmaster...

Mr. Toastmaster,

ladies and gentlemen.

To be told by the outstanding
men and women of your time...

...that you have contributed a great deal
to human betterment is pleasant.

Very pleasant.

I'd hardly be humored if my heart didn't
fill from such a magnificent compliment.

But somehow I have not yet
achieved a success I want.

Earlier this evening, I talked
with two school children.

Tomorrow, the world will be theirs.

It's a troubled world, full of
doubt and uncertainty.

You say we men of
science have been helping it.

Are those children and their children...

...going to approve of what
we've done?

Or are they going to discover
too late...

...that science was trusted
too much...

...so that it has turned into a monster...

...whose final triumph is man's
own destruction?

Some of us are beginning to feel
that danger.

But it can be avoided.

I once had two dynamos.

They needed regulating.

It was a problem of balance
and adjustment.

And I feel that the confusion
in the world today,

presents much the same problem.

But dynamo of man's God
given ingenuity...

...is running away with the dynamo
of his equally God given humanity.

I am too old now to do much more
than to say:

Put those dynamos in balance.

Make them work in harmony,

as the great designer intended
they should.

It can be done.
What man's mind can see,

man's character can control.

Man must learn that.

And then we needn't
be afraid of tomorrow.

And man will go forward...

...toward more light.

Subtitles: Lu?s Filipe Bernardes