Back Page (1933) - full transcript

Peggy Shannon plays a young female reporter who is fired from a big city newspaper, then decides to take over a troubled small town newspaper. She encounters difficulties with small town politics, getting advertisers to help keep the paper afloat, and issues with 1930's feminism in the resistance she receives from the town's residents to her attempts to run the newspaper. An insightful story of a woman's determination to succeed in an era long before the women's rights movement.

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(upbeat orchestral music)

(typewriter clacking)

(phone ringing)

Hello.

What?

Stay right there.

Hey, did Jerry call in?

Not yet.

Well, we are holding
the front page 20 minutes

and I'll just wait that long.

And no longer.



Say, you mean about that girl's suicide

at the Regent Apartments?

Yes.

And in case we muff it,
you get something hot.

Say, I got somethin' red hot.

All about that evangelist havin' a baby.

All right, spin a couple
columns, if you like.

Yeah?

This is Ed.

Copy boy!

Oh, is that you, Jerry?

Well, where in the-

Oh, you got the story, eh?

Yes.



Get over here just as
fast as you can with them.

Uh, no, no, no, wait a minute.

You better give us something
to start working on.

Uh, dictate about 300 words.

Hey, Spuds.

Okay, Chief?

Take Jerry on 16.

Take some stuff on that girl's suicide.

Oh!

Hi, Jerry?

Spud.

Shoot.

(typewriter clacking)

(office workers shouting)

Oh, no, no, no.

Not A.H. Smith, no.

J.

J.H.

J like in, uh,

juniper berries.

(giggles) Yes, that's right.

Will you tell Barrows I'll be right in?

It's a whale of a big story.

Will you save me a coupla columns?

Bye.

(phone clangs)

(office workers shouting)

(phones ringing)

A Mr. Smith's outside and
wants to see you immediately.

Well, send him in.

Yes, sir.

(man shouting)

Well, a returning prodigal.

Hello, Brice.

What?

Only hello on a nice,
bright day like this?

Well, I'm in a terrific hurry.

Oh, gee, you look like
a million in that get-up.

Well, thank you, mister.

Say, I heard you fell on a great story.

Fell on it?

Listen, I dug that up
with my own little hatchet

and is it swell?

Love nest suicide.

I've got pictures and
everything, exclusive.

No?

And, if that doesn't get
my salary boosted, oh, Brice,

it's the first big scoop I've ever had.

I'm just thrilled to death.

You look like two million
now all pepped up like that.

Say, how 'bout a coupla
steaks tonight to celebrate?

I'll bring 'em if you broil 'em.

Okay.

I hope ya get your raise.

Oh, listen, you wanna borrow
the price of those steaks?

Yeah, that wouldn't be a bad idea.

I'll get the steaks.

(laughs)

All right, I'll bring a red.

[Jerry] Bye!

[Office Worker] Hello?

Yeah.

Say, hey!

I got the whole works.

I beat everybody to it,
including the police.

Uh, wait a moment.

Come over in the corner.

Secrets?

Oh.

Here's a picture of the
girl that killed herself.

And here's her Romeo.

He certainly was a dirty rat.

Listen to this.

"I'm through with you and
you might as well know it.

If you wanna Kill yourself,
go ahead and do it."

How do ya like that?

It's a swell story, huh?

Well, what's the matter?

Jerry, why didn't you tell me the man

in this affair was John H. Smith?

What difference would it make?

I know it's gonna hit you pretty hard.

And I feel like tearing
things apart, myself.

What?

Your story's dead.

Dead?

I've just come from Barmaun's office.

He killed my story?

Where are you going?

I'm going to see Barmaun.

No, no, no. You'll get fired.

Not before I tell him
what I think of him.

Young woman, who are you?

I'm the reporter who
turned in that girl's

suicide story and I'm tellin'
you what I think of ya

for not printing it.

Well, we can't print
every story turned in

by an irresponsible reporter.

No?

You go to the cashier
and get your money.

You're discharged.

I resigned just before I came in here.

(typewriters clacking)

(office men shouting)

(phone ringing)

(doorbell ringing)

(doorbell ringing)

Better open that door, young
lady, or I'll break it down.

[Jerry] Who is it?

Me with the eats.

Well, you came early, didn't you?

You'll have to wait now until I call.

Don't come in.

[Brice] All right.

But you better hurry up and open up.

[Jerry] All right, come on in.

(door thuds)

Oh, go ahead.

I know what you're gonna say.

You're gonna ball me out, I suppose,

for what I said to Barmaun.

I should say I am.

Probably got ya stopped by now.

You know he controls every sheet in town.

Oh, I guess I'm a fool, but.

I was so mad.

I've gotta get a job somewhere.

I've just got to!

[Brice] If you'd only
listened to reason, why,

you wouldn't have to worry
about looking for a job.

Oh, we've been all over that.

Yeah, I know we have.

S'pose it is a cock idea.

Oh, Brice.

Darling, I like you better
than any man I ever met.

But I don't wanna get
married and just sit down

and do nothing.

Better tell me what gates
I crashed in the morning.

Are you really determined
to keep on your own?

You bet I am.

Then I guess I better
give ya some free advice.

Ha.

What?

On a small paper, you'd
shine like the seat of a pair

of surge pants.

Why don't you hit a small town?

A small town?

Me?

Yeah, I know a man by the
name of Webster who runs

a paper out in Apex, California.

That's where I was born.

[Jerry] Oh.

I can probably get you
the job as Society Editor

or something like that just as a starter.

Me do Society on a small
paper in Apex, California?

Hah.

I'm a swell newspaper man and I know it.

Oh yeah?

(chuckles)

Whatcha got?

Ah, some bread.

Bread?

That all you brought?

I hope you got it sliced.

What kind of a town is this, hm, Apex?

Oh, it's all right if
you like small towns.

I mean, you know, I'd be
willing to take an editor's job

on a country paper.

Why don't you wire him I'm on my way?

Oh, you would, eh?

Well, I told you before he wanted a man.

Well, just wire him that,
uh, Jerry Hampton is coming.

See?

And then I'll take care of the rest.

Yeah, and the minute you got there,

he'd throw ya right smack out on your ear.

Well, it'd be my ear.

Do you have those peas open, yet?

I can't get the-(grunts).

[Jerry] Hey, tell me
more about this little town

where you were born.

Oh, well it's, according
to the Chamber of Commerce,

the population is about 8,000.

But I think that includes
mules and one-eyed jacks.

Oh, Brice, will you?

(laughs)

Will you be serious?

I mean, who?

Who are the principal citizens?

Things like that.

Well, there's only one
that I know of and that's my

esteemed uncle, Mr. Martin Blake.

He's the president of
the Apex National Bank.

And he's hard boiled and
has no sympathy whatsoever

for widows, children,
or newspaper writers.

Oh.

Sounds like a nice man.

Here, when you get those open,
you can put 'em in there.

What's the owner of the paper like?

(car accelerating)

(car engine revving)

Is this the Advocate office?

Well, sure, don't ya see the sign?

Well, I hoped it was
a typographical error.

Huh?

Oh no, it's been there for 35 years.

(bag thuds)

Is there something I can do for you?

Well, I wanted to see Mr. Webster.

Well, if you have a piece
for the paper, I'm the.

Society Editor.

No, it's business.

Oh.

I guess you can see him.

He's in his office.

(heels clacking)

Mr. Webster?

There's somebody to see you.

Oh.

Won't you come in?

You wanna see me, young lady?

Won't you sit down?

Thank you.

(trunk thuds)

What can I do for you?

Mr. Webster, I'm Miss Hampton.

Hampton?

Hm.

I'm afraid I don't just recall the name.

Why didn't Brice Regal
wire you that I was coming?

Jerry Hampton?

Jerry Hampton?

Why, yes, about the
editorship, you know.

Oh, well. (Stammers)

You're a girl.

But didn't he tell you in his wire?

No.

No, he might have known I
wouldn't want a girl around here.

I'll, uh, I'll give you a
check for your expenses.

I suppose you wouldn't
consider employing a woman

even though she were the
best editor in the world.

Heh.

Who says you're the best
editor in the world?

I do.

Well, that certainly is interesting.

No.

No, you're too pretty to be smart.

I'd like that a lot if I
weren't looking for a job.

I think I know why you want an editor.

They're drilling for oil around here

and if the wells come in,
you'll have a boom town.

I don't put much stock in that oil well.

No, just a wildcat.

Hundred to one, they won't hit oil.

You want an editor anyway, don't you?

Well, I.

I'm about ready to quit.

I'm old and.

I'm tired.

And I wanted a young
fella to come out here

and take the burden off of me.

'Course that's why I can't
have a girl around here.

Now, how much were your expenses?

I don't want expense money.

I want a job.

I've told you I can run a
newspaper and so has Brice Regal.

Now, being a girl is just an
accident that I can't help.

But I'm here and I'm ready to go to work.

Now, do I get the job or not?

[Mr. Webster] Well, now-

- Think twice before you speak.

Because if you say anything but yes,

the best editor you ever
saw is gonna walk right

out of this office and never come back.

(chuckles)

(sighs)

Shake.

You're going to be the
editor for one month, anyway.

Your salary's 35 dollars a week, okay?

Thanks a lot.

A month is plenty of time to
prove that you can't possibly

get along without me.

(chuckles)

You've got determination, Jerry.

And that's half the newspaper business.

Come on outside and I'll
introduce you to your staff.

Now, this is your staff.

Mrs. Mellum.

I want you to meet your new Editor.

This is Jerry Hampton.

And Mrs. Mellum is the Society Editor.

Now, how do you do?

And Ash?

Yeah?

I want you to meet your new Editor.

This is Ash.

He is the Advertising Department.

Oh.

And, uh.

This is...

Where is Bill?

(glass squeaking)

Oh, uh, Bill?

Bill?

Yeah, come here, Bill, I want
you to meet your new Editor.

This is Bill Giddings.

He runs the Sports Department
and edits a column called.

"Over the Transom".

Are there many transoms in Apex?

Well, I must say most of
'em have been nailed shut

since I started my column.

Did you say the name was Giddy?

No, no.

The name.

That's how I am.

The name is Giddingzz.

Giddingzzuh.

As in the flight of a bumblebee.

A zzzuh.

Oh. (Chuckles)

You wash windows in between time.

Oh, well, I don't know.

I just sort of do that to-

Kinda helps keep my figure.

If I'm not boasting.

See, I play croquet.

Captain.

And I feel I don't get
quite enough exercise.

Oh, yes.

Well, I should think if
you're column was hot enough,

it'd keep you busy running from
the people you write about.

Hot, my column?

Oh, for heaven's sake.

Just draw up a chair and
I will give you a sample.

Now, what well-known paper
hanger is running around with

what cute little blonde?

Just mull that around a bit.

Try to guess that one.

Well, I was never very good at riddles.

You better tell me.

Well, it's his wife's baby.

(chuckles)

Get it?

Oh, yes.

I've heard worse, but
I don't remember where.

Yeah.

Well, speaking of New York.

If they ever hear about me in New York.

(scoffs)

Oo, they'll send for me.

Why, they're all asleep there.

They've no idea that newspaper
men are born and not made.

Oh, I'll say newspaper men are born.

Some of them, prematurely.

Now, I, myself.

I am an incubator baby.

No.

Oh, did you say the name was Giddy?

No, no, Giddingzzuh.

Zzuh.

Mr. Webster, I think you
have a very efficient staff.

I don't see any reason why we
shouldn't make a great success

of the Advocate.

(typewriter clacking)

(paper tearing)

(wheel rattling)

Oh, Luke, I wanna talk
to you about some changes

in the makeup.

I'll use a banner and we'll
get in some two-column heads.

You see what else you can find.

Sure, Miss Hampton, I'll run through and

see what display type I can dig up.

All right.

Thanks, Luke, but the name is Jerry.

All right.

Jerry.

Goodnight.

Goodnight, Luke.

Goodnight.

(door thuds)

I guess you might as well
know all about this town.

You know, I think Martin
Blake lent his name

to that oil well just to sell stock.

But, nearly everyone I
talk to has money in it.

Ah, that's the point.

If Blake thought there
was the slightest chance

of hittin' oil, he'd a-gobbled
up all that stock himself.

Well, if you have no
faith in the well, then

just what is the attitude
of the paper toward it?

Well.

You see.

I owe Blake some money.

Oh.

And, uh, I can't
afford to antagonize him.

He's kinda got a mortgage
on this place here.

Well.

Here I am, right up to my neck in a movie.

Mortgage on the ol'
homestead and everything.

Honest publisher faces ruin
and his children are starving.

Well, but I'm not married.

But your children are starving anyway.

Huh?

All hope is lost.

There's nothing left but the river.

Do you know what happens?

What, what?

The bright, young female
editor drives up the circulation,

fills the paper with advertising.

Yeah?

The publisher is able
to pay off the banker

and tell him to go to He-

(Mr. Webster laughing loudly)

(stomps foot)

See, that's a funny.

See, you've earned your salary already.

(laughing loudly)

I haven't laughed like this
for four or five years.

Well, I think I'll go
home and get some sleep,

so I can pitch in tomorrah.

You know, I think I'm
gonna like it here a lot.

Well, I hope you do, Jerry.

(typewriter clacking)

Well, this is certainly
gonna start some row.

[Jerry] What's going to start a row?

[Ash] Well, this story
about Arthur Young's divorce.

What's wrong with it?

Oh, nothing.

Only he's Nate Young's brother.

And Nate Young owns the
white front department store.

You may not know it, but his
advertising just about keeps

this sheet alive.

Well, you just leave the
advertisers to me, will you?

Say, when I go out to
drum up a little business,

all I get's a poke in the
eye with a dirty stick.

[Nate Young] Nobody
can say a thing like that

about a member of my family
and get away with it.

Say, where is this Jerry Hampton?

You tell him that Nathan
Young wants to talk to him.

Would you kindly step
into the Editorial Office?

(Bill exhales loudly)

Just what was it you wanted to talk about?

My business is with Jerry Hampton, miss,

and I don't wanna talk to you about it.

I'm afraid you'll have to.

You see, I'm Jerry Hampton.

Who, you?

You Jerry Hampton?

My, my.

What busy businessman is ready

to slay what newspaper editor?

Hot news, hot news.

(car engine puffing)

(door slams)

I'm just going in to get a cigar.

Don't wait for me.

(car engine accelerating)

- Oh, hello, Sam.
- Hello, Mart.

Have a cigar?

No thanks, I'm just going in to get one.

Oh, by the way.

This new editor of yours.

Do you think it's wise to
increase your expenses?

Well, I been kinda gettin'
ready for that oil well

when it comes in, Mart.

Apex is gonna boom and I
don't wanna miss any tricks.

Now I've told everybody
in this town that that well

is just a gamble.

They all seem to think
they're gonna be millionaires.

Well, I s'pose they think
anything that you're in, Mart,

can't be much of a gamble. (Chuckles)

Uh, this editor, he's
a young fellow, isn't he?

(stammering) Yes, yes, he's kinda young.

Kinda young.

Knows all about newspaper business.

Made a lot of improvements
on the paper already.

Yes, I've noticed that.

Yeah, well I've got
to be toddlin' along.

So long, Mart.

Goodbye, Sam.

Well being a woman doesn't
excuse you from printing

objectionable articles
about a member of my family.

Oh, you mean your brother's divorce?

You had no right to print anything

about my family's affairs or experiences

without my personal permission.

Mr. Young, do you think
I'm going to let you run

this paper for me?

Hey.

Nate Young came in loaded for bear.

She took him in her private office.

You better hurry in there before she loses

our biggest advertiser for you.

Well, what's it all about?

Arthur Young's divorce.

I'm sorry, but, I can't
see things your way.

Well, if that's your attitude,
you'll never get another

cents worth of advertising from me.

Well this really simplifies matters.

You see.

Up 'til now, we haven't accepted
any mail-order advertising.

'Cause we don't like to see
money spent outside of Apex.

It isn't good for local business.

Of course, a newspaper has
to have advertising to live.

Oh, Giddy?

She means me.

Right here, Miss Hampton.

Would you wire Mirror
Starbucks that it's okay

to send copies of their ad?

Have Ash wire Mayor Starbucks.

Steer Marbuck?

Whatever it is, they shall be wired.

Send a wire to Mayor Star-

Send a wire.

Say, is Mirrors and
Starbucks gonna advertise

in this town?

Well, you just heard
me accept their order.

Oh, that'll never do.

Why, that'll cut into my business.

I can't stand mail-order competition.

Send a wire to Beers and Marstuck.

What about?

(sighs) Well, as a matter-of-fact,

it's slipped my mind.

I'll find out.

Anyway.

I haven't definitely decided
to take my advertising

away from the paper, yet.

Besides, I think you oughta
give me a chance to, sorta,

change my mind.

Well, you see.

You only run a quarter of
a page every other day and,

well, the smallest
mail-order contract would be

several full pages a week.

Say, if Mirrors and
Starbucks thinks this town

is worth that much to them,

it's worth that much to me.

Of course, without any
mail-order competition.

Well, I don't know.

Aw, come on now.

Give us a chance.

The home people, you know.

Please, give us a chance?

I might make it a little bit more.

Well, I'll see Mr. Webster,

but I think that'll be fine, Mr. Young.

All right, all right.

We'd have it in on tomorrow's news truck.

Well, we'll try it for a month, anyway.

Well, it's a real pleasure
to have met you, Miss Hampton.

I'll bring over the copy for
the first page tomorrow, and,

maybe you can offer some suggestions.

Well, I'll try.

Thank you, thank you very much.

Goodbye.

(whistling joyfully)

Say, nevermind about that wire, Giddy.

Zzzuh.

Oh, yes, of course.

Well, we won't have to worry
about Mr. Nathan Young anymore.

Jerry, if you'da lost
Nate's advertisin',

we couldn't of kept on
puttin' out the paper.

Well, we won't stop for
a couple of weeks, anyway.

(Mr. Webster sighs)

Printer that to the loan to Mr. Webster.

Yes, sir.

Well, Sam, I'm glad to
see your catching up on your

back payments.

Yes, so am I.

(laughs)

They tell me this new
girl editor of yours

is pretty smart.

Smart?

Say. (Fingers snap)

She's just like that.

Why, in less than six months,
I'll have you all paid off

and out of debt.

Ah, that'll be a novelty.

Yes, won't it?

And, say, did you hear
about Nate Young comin'

into the office to beat
her up before he knew

she was a girl?

(laughing)

[Martin Blake] Yes,
yes, I know all about it.

You do?

Who told ya?

[Martin Blake] You did.

Last time you were in.

Oh.

And three times before that.

[Mr. Webster] Oh.

And I also know that my nephew, Brice,

sent her down from the city.

Ah.

[Martin Blake] You told
me that at least ten times.

Well, I guess I'll be going.

(chuckles)

So, she had an argument
with Nate Young, eh?

Tried to teach him a lesson.

Yeah.

Now he's tryin' to teach her a lesson.

Oh.

Yeah, just took her for an auto ride.

(chuckles)

So long, Mart.

(typewriter keys clacking)

Ah, Rigby.

Get me a complete statement
of Webster's account.

Showing the amount of his
payments and the balance

he still owes.

Yes, sir.

And, also a complete
list of his bank deposits

since he got his new editor.

Yes, Mr. Blake.

(typewriter clacking)

[Nate Young] Now, right down there.

That's where my great
grandfather's cabin stood

in pioneer days.

Oh, they fought Indians all around here.

Indians?

Oh, yes.

Yeah.

And, right here where we
are now, on this very hill,

this is where a stockade stood.

Oh, not this hill?

This very hill.

What, really?

Mmhm.

And in one battle here, my
great aunt, Libby Rogers,

she shot six Indians, herself.

Then she scalped 'em.

What, she scalped all six of 'em?

All six of 'em.

Well.

We had the scalps in the
family when I was little,

but the moths got into them
and all the hair fell out.

Oh, what a misfortune.

It sure was.

Gee, I wish I could've shown 'em to you.

I'd love to have seen them.

Oh, Nate, I've got to be
getting back to the office

if I'm gonna get a paper out today.

(car accelerating)

(car engine accelerating)

(Jerry shrieks)

Who was that?

That was John Levings
from over at the oil well.

Another couple of inches and he'da hit me.

Let's go, Nate.

Sure, you bet.

(car engine accelerating)

(brakes squeak)

Thanks for the ride, Nate.

And all the information.

I feel almost like a pioneer now, myself.

You know, I was gonna
ask you a question today,

but I. (Chuckles)

I just couldn't get up my nerve.

Oh, please don't ask me
anything I'll have to say no to,

will you?

I guess I wouldn't have
much of a chance, anyway.

(sighs)

Goodbye.

Goodbye, Nate.

(heels clicking)

(table thuds)

[Brice] Jerry!

Brice!

You darling!

Oh, I'm so glad to see you.

Yeah, I'm glad to see you, too.

[Jerry] You don't know
how much I've missed you.

How's Spud and Hank and all of them?

Oh, never mind that, I
wanna talk about you.

Listen, come on in, give me
a lowdown on everything.

We just got time for a little.

Sit down.

Oh, you.

You're real, aren't you, darling?

I'm not just dreaming or anything?

Well, if you don't believe
I'm alive, just pinch me

and see if I don't wake up.

Oh!

(both giggling)

How is Sam and?

Oh, everything's wonderful.

I've run up the circulation nearly 800.

Most of it in the last two weeks.

Is it?

And nearly twice as much advertising.

Can you imagine the kick
I get out of seeing it grow

and realizing I'm doing it all by myself?

I'll bet Sam"s tickled to death.

Tickled?

You should've seen him
when I first came here.

He was tired and ready to quit.

Then to see him wake up and
take an interest in things.

And to realize I'm
responsible for that, too.

You know, he wanted a newspaper
and I'm giving it to him.

I love that old man, Brice.

Attagirl, I knew you could do it.

(Sam whistling)

[Ed] Hello there, Sam.

Hello, Ed, how are ya?

How's the boy?

(men laughing)

I thought you were comin'
back and ask me to marry ya.

Not that I would or anything.

[Mr. Webster] Well, I sworn.

Sam.

Well, well, why didn't
you let a fellow know

so? We coulda got out the band?

Well, I didn't know it myself.

I just came.

Sit down, sit down.

Gosh, it's great to see you again, Sam.

Ah, it's great to see me?

Yeah, I guess this is
what you've come to see?

Maybe.

I wouldn't say.

Has she told you what happened?

Well, she's been braggin' a lot.

I don't know how much of it is true.

Oh ho, say she's the smartest
thing this side of anywhere.

Oh is that so?

Well, she doesn't look
so intelligent to me.

- Yeah?
- Oh.

(all chuckling)

I want to see Miss Hampton.

Say I'll only keep her a minute.

I'll see if she's busy.

The name is Levings?

That's right.

John Levings.

(Sam chuckling)

Oh, would you pardon me just a minute?

Tell me, how's old New York?

You want to see me?

I just dropped in to
give you a little news.

We've closed down the well.

We didn't find any oil.

You mean, the well has failed?

[John Levings] I'm afraid that's right.

Well, this is very important news.

Would you come in and
give me a full report?

I haven't time right now,
but here's a statement.

It will explain everything.

But I'd like an interview.

Lots of people in town
have money invested.

You see, this is of vital importance.

It's all in there.

I'm sorry I can't stop now.

Later, perhaps.

Oh, but Mr. Levings-

- [John Levings] I'm sorry.

(shoes clicking)

Did he say the oil well had failed?

Yes.

Oh. (Sobs)

What?

Did you have money in it?

I put in all my savings.

Every cent.

So did the maid at the hotel.

And the station taxi driver.

A lot of others who
couldn't afford to lose.

(Mrs. Mullen sobbing)

Oh, why don't you go home and rest awhile?

Try not to think too much about it.

And don't say anything to
anyone until I know more?

If you say so.

(whimpers)

(footsteps thudding)

All right, 6:30.

Well, you're dated up with
dinner tonight at Uncle Mart's,

So you better run home and
put on that other dress.

I can't go to dinner tonight.

Why?

The oil well failed.

Failed?

Yes, they're closing down.

This is the statement
that Levings just left me.

Oil well?

[Mr. Webster] Yes, it's on West Hill.

Your uncle was interested in it.

[Brice] Well, if he had any money in it,

he'll probably kill himself.

He's such a good loser.

(papers rustling)

I think I will accept
that dinner invitation.

I might be able to get a
statement from your uncle

about the well.

A statement?

No, it's the free feed you're lookin' for.

What time is dinner?

6:30 and you better not be late.

All right, you call
for me at the hotel at 6.

Now, get out and let
me get some work done.

Ah, the real newspaper editor, eh?

Goodbye.

There's somethin" funny about this.

Funny?

(soft piano music)

Oh, Brice.

Have a cigar.

[Brice] What, only one?

You know, I don't know when
I've adored a dinner more.

I've been having my meals in
hotels and cafés, it seems,

for ages.

She means hash houses and beaneries.

That word café is
something she's picked up

since she's been an editor.

I must say that you
don't look old enough

to be the editor of a newspaper.

Seems to me as if you oughta
be playing with paper dolls.

[Brice] Don't let appearances
deceive you, Uncle Mart.

You'll pull back her
hair just a little bit,

you'll notice a scar where
she had her face lifted.

(all chuckling)

Brice.

[Maid] A sugar, Miss Hampton?

Yes, one please.

[Brice] Four for me.

Not four lumps?

Now, look here, Aunt Emma.

I know people who don't
take any sugar at all

and I don't raise a holler about it.

But the minute I ask for four,
everybody goes into spasms

and things.

(laughing) I should think they would.

Oh, just to prove that
I'm a sure enough editor,

will you give me an interview?

Oh, what about?

Mr. Levings was in
today about the oil well.

Hm.

Yes, yes.

Ah, that was very unfortunate.

You know if Levings had really struck oil,

it would have been a big thing for Apex.

'Course that was my real
reason for becoming connected

with the project.

Well, just what was
your connection with it?

That is, if you don't mind.

Oh, no, no.

Not at all.

I was merely the banker
who was handling the funds

that some Eastern people had put into it.

'Course I had some money
of my own invested,

but I could afford to lose that.

Mr. Levings left a
statement at the office today.

Of course, you read it?

No, no.

He came into the bank
yesterday to ask my advice

and I told him to take
the bull by the horns.

To give the news to your paper.

Levings is the responsible party.

He's in charge of everything.

Now, if you'll excuse me.

[Jerry] It's a wonderful old painting.

Oh yes, yes.

It's been in the family
for a good many years.

Is the interview over?

Well, there's just
one question I hesitate

about asking.

Quite a number of people
bought stock in the company.

Some, I suppose, because
you were connected with it.

I wondered if you might have
something to say to them.

I've been wondering
whether I couldn't take over

that stock for a little
part of its purchase price.

So that the stockholders won't
lose all of their investment.

Well, I think that's splendid.

May I print what you just said?

[Martin Blake] Oh, not just yet.

I must have time to think it over.

Oh, of course.

Oh, gracious, I must
get back to the office.

Brice, would you get my wrap?

I'm sorry to have to eat and
run, but I'm a working girl.

Well, you're not gonna work tonight.

Well, if Apex is to have
a paper in the morning.

Thank you.

Well, I always say early
to bed, early to rise.

Now, don't give her that kind of advice.

She's wise enough now with
the sleep that she gets.

(Aunt Emma laughing)

Well she must come again real soon.

[Jerry] Goodnight.

[Aunt Emma] Goodnight.

Well, thanks so much for the interview.

May I say that you're
trying to work out a way

to trade some of the loss?

Well, I don't suppose
it would do any harm.

Oh, thanks so much for everything.

Goodnight.

- Goodnight.
- Goodnight.

Goodnight.

Goodnight.

Please don't come in.

I'll never get any work done.

Oh, but, Jerry, I haven't
seen ya but a minute tonight.

You know, I didn't realize
how I'd fallen for ya

until after you'd gone away.

What I should have done was drag you down

to that license bureau
the day you got fired.

I've got a lot to do.

Yes, I forgot I was
holding up the parade.

Well, good luck on the story.

Thanks, Brice.

I mean that.

Goodnight.

Goodnight.

(door slams)

New York calling.

Hello, hello.

Oh my, my, my.

What's the matter?

Did I frighten ya, Giddy?

No, the name is not Giddy.

I know!

It's spelt with a Z like in wasp.

Yeah.

Oh, speaking of wasps.

Now, wait a minute.

Wait'll the folks in the
morning get a load of this?

What big chiseler spent all
afternoon with a certain

young widow?

Know the answer?

Mm, no.

You better tell me, though,
so I won't stay awake

all night.

The guy who makes tombstones.

Oh, you idiot.

Well, it's an idea, you know.

I'm hard pressed for work.

Sometimes, you'll say most
anything to... (groans)

I'm so glad you're here.

Why, what's the matter?

Anything wrong?

Just tell me.

Would Martin Blake by back
stock in that oil company

just to do the people in
this town a good turn?

Blake buy back stock, why?

Yes, I mean, would he
take back worthless stock,

at any figure, just to keep
the investors in that company

from losing everything?

Not if I know Martin Blake.

Uh huh.

He almost had me fooled tonight.

That well isn't a failure.

What?

They've struck oil.

Struck oil?

Are you sure?

Yes.

And they're trying to pull
a raw deal on all the people

that put money into it.

Main one two seven.

I was out at the well this afternoon.

Hello, Palace Hotel?

Well, would you ring Mr.
Levings' room please?

Now, Jerry, don't do
anything to antagonize Blake.

I haven't told ya-

- Listen, I've got Blake's number, too.

Hello.

Mr. Levings?

Mr. Levings, this is Miss
Hampton of the Advocate.

It's very important that you come over

to the office right away.

Now, Jerry.

It is important.

I'm afraid I can't tell
you over the phone.

Well, I'm sure you'd much rather have me

explain it to you, personally.

Well, thanks a lot.

I can expect you?

Fine.

Oh now, Jerry.

Don't you worry.

I'm not gonna fumble this.

I've gotten away with a
good deal so far, haven't I?

Yes, you sure have, Jerry.

All right, I'm gonna tie
this all right on Mr. Levings

with a nice little bow.

Ooh, I've got to get Nate Young over here.

Main two eight two.

You sure you haven't
made that too strong?

Oh no, it's all right.

There he is now.

Bill, hurry, Bill.

What's this all about, Miss Hampton?

Won't you come in?

Sit down.

Well, I haven't got much time.

Well, I think you'd be much
more comfortable sitting.

Well, what is it?

I'm going to give you a
chance to change that statement

you gave me about the oil well.

[Mr. Levings] Change it?

You said the well was a failure.

[Mr. Levings] What do you mean by that?

I was off to the well this afternoon.

I started to light a cigarette
and one of your laborers

nearly fainted.

Just what are you getting at?

There were gas bubbles in the pumps.

And the pumps were going.

That means you were
mudding down the pressure

to keep the well from blowing in.

That well is a failure and
we're gonna close it down.

Mr. Levings, I was born
practically under an oil well

in Pennsylvania.

First thing I smelled
when I came into the world

was crude oil.

But never anything as crude as this.

Don't you think you'd better admit it?

Won't admit anything.

That well is a failure.

Just a moment, please.

I was talking to the farmers
today out at the well

and found you've been buying
up land in your own name.

You've been double-crossing everybody,

including Martin Blake.

Double-crossing him?

Why, Martin Blake-

- Oh, don't say anything
you'll be sorry for.

This is the headline we intend running

on the paper tomorrow.

Now, you don't have to admit
anything if you don't want to.

But this is the banner
line for the Advocate

tomorrow morning.

I'm giving you a chance
to change your statement.

Either that, or we print this
proof and your statement, too.

[Nate Young] I came as soon as I could.

Oh, Nate, will you tell
Mr. Levings what we saw

at the oil well today.

Sure.

Right on the spot where my
grand uncle, Jeremiah Young,

was surrounded by a band of 30 Indians-

- Nate, please, about the well.

Well.

If anybody tells you that
that well is a failure.

All right.

What do you want?

Just a statement of what
you think the output will be

and when you will start swabbing.

I'll see Blake.

Oh Bill.

File a hundred words to
the associated press.

Tell them we've struck oil
here and that Martin Blake,

prominent Apex banker, is
interested in the company.

Oh boy.

(oil surging)

(crowd cheering)

(telegraph clicking)

(inaudible)

(crowd chattering)

(car engine puttering)

Do you realize you're worth
a hundred thousand dollars?

Well, I don't care.

I don't care for the money.

Why, you'll get used to it.

Well, no I won't.

All these servants and all
this money frighten me.

You've only got a few years to live-

- Well, but I wanna live happy.

I don't wanna live in that big house.

I wanna do my own wash and my own cooking

and my own ironing and everything.

Jimmy!

Yes, mom?

[Mother] Don't play with them kids.

Their family don't own no oil stock.

You come up here.

(car engine puttering)

Here are your corrections.

And I wish you'd speed up on everything.

We'll have to print 12 pages today.

Can't make it.

I've got everybody sweatin' now.

Why, that old press is stuck
together with chewin' gum.

She laid down on me five times last night.

(sighs)

Well.

We'll just have to make
Mr. Webster get some

new equipment somehow.

(printer chuckles)

Do the best you can, won't you?

Yes, missy.

Hey, how you makin' on that?

[Worker] I'm good.

Good.

Will you cut down everything?

The press room's swamped.

How'd you make out with Sam?

Oh, he just keeps saying
he won't bite off more

than he could chew.

I think he's still
afraid to take a chance.

Well how does he expect
to get a newspaper out

if he hasn't got the proper equipment?

Okay, I'll cut out all I can.

(door thuds)

(typewriter winding)

(typewriter keys clacking)

Well, here we are.

Everything cut to the eyelashes.

I hope you like 'em.

Oh, you're sweet, Brice.

To stay here and help me
when you oughta be back

on your own job.

You know why I am staying, don't you?

I know, darling, but.

You know, when I get
married, I want a home.

I wanna stay in it.

And I wanna be the
one to get you that home

for you to stay in it.

You're sweet.

Everything's goin'
fine, isn't it? (Laughs)

(Brice whistling)

Hiya, Sam.

Oh, Mr. Webster.

I've gotta talk to you
about getting more equipment

for the office.

Oh, what's a matter?

Maybe you'd better come
in my office a minute.

But.

Are you ill?

No.

No, I'm all right.

What's the matter?

Jerry.

I'm gonna lose the Advocate.

Lose the Advocate?

How?

Blake's taking it over.

Blake?

I just come from the bank.

That's why I didn't
wanna spend anymore money

on equipment.

I was tryin' to pay him off.

But he can't take your
paper without going to court

no matter how much you owe him.

Don't you worry.

We'll raise the money.

Oh, yes he can.

He can take it, all right.

It belongs to him.

Belongs to him?

Well, you see when I had to
have more money to keep going,

Blake made me give him a bill
of sale for everything here.

I been kinda paying him back.

But, you'll be all right.

I'll be all right?

Yeah, he told me to tell
ya that he wanted ya to keep

on workin' for him.

As if I'd work for him.

I'd starve to death first.

Well, he'd give ya everything you want.

You won't have to worry about equipment.

And don't you worry about me.

I'll be all right.

Why.

I been kinda wantin'
to retire right along.

But I.

I didn't wanna lose my paper.

I Kinda wanted to just sit back and

watch you make things hum.

Hm.

Oh, if only had some
proof that he knew about

that oil well.

Wait.

(door thuds)

Listen, Brice.

(door thuds)

Oh, something terrible has happened.

You've got to help me.

What is it?

Your uncle intends to
take the Advocate away from

Mr. Webster.

Oh, sure, I knew about it.

You.

You knew it?

Yeah, I intended telling you about it.

It'll be a great break for you.

Uncle Mart said he's gonna
put in soon on the presses

right away.

And at least an AP wire.

Why, you'll be an editor
of a real newspaper.

Oh, listen, Brice, Sam
Webster's nursed this paper

along for 30 years.

And to lose it now just when it's about

to amount to something?

Don't you understand
what that'll mean to him?

Oh, Sam will be all right.

Uncle Mart will take care of him.

You think he'd want
anybody to take care of him?

Listen, dear, aren't
you letting sentiment

run away with ya?

Sam isn't going to suffer at all.

Uncle Mart is within his rights.

He's offered me the job
of managing the paper and

he wants you to continue as the editor.

Now, ain't that somethin'?

I didn't know that.

Well, that's what I was
going to tell ya right along.

Isn't that a great break of luck?

You and I can be married.

Yes, we could, couldn't we?

Oh, I'm sorry, dear.

I know you care an awful
lot about Sam and so do I.

Listen, I'm gonna tell you something.

Your uncle new that Levings
had struck oil the night

we went there for dinner.

He was mixed up in Levings oil well scheme

and now he's trying to free
Sam out of the Advocate.

Oh, now that's a wild idea.

You're just excited about
everything, that's all.

Won't you please speak to your uncle?

What good would it do?

Listen, Jerry, honey.

This means everything to you and me.

A big future.

Where together we can make the Advocate

the biggest paper in the West.

I can't leave Sam now.

Not when he needs me.

Oh, you've been sweet helping me.

Good luck when you take
over the management.

Please tell your uncle that
I couldn't continue as editor

under any circumstances.

Jerry.

Do you mean that?

Well, we just don't
see things the same way.

I'll be leaving the day you-

He takes over the paper.

All right.

If that's the way you feel about it.

All right.

(door slams)

(crowd chattering)

Do you know who that is?

No.

Why, that's Mrs. Mullen.

She's made over a hundred
thousand dollars on oil.

Oh, uh, you may return for
me at the usual time, Carlton.

Yes, ma'am.

How do you do, Mr. Jones?

And, Mary, how are you?

(crowd shouting)

(crowd cheering)

(crowd chattering)

Nevermind, lady.

I want you to request that statement.

Will you change my order, please?

The lady's next.

I wanna change my address.

I'm moving to my new house tomorrow.

I've got three wells on my
property and they're sinking

another one next week.

Yeah, well I've only got
two wells on my property,

but I'm drilling out 5,000 a day.

I shouldn't worry.

Didn't you have any
sort of written agreement

about your right to buy
the paper back again?

Well.

Blake dictated and I had to
accept or go into bankruptcy.

And that'd left my
creditors holdin' the bag.

Isn't there anything we can do?

I'm afraid not.

Blake doesn't make many mistakes
when he goes into anything.

I guess he'll be in to take
over everything tomorrow.

Well, there's no use
cryin' over spilled milk.

I'm awful sorry about this, Sam,

but I don't see a single
thing you can do about it.

Hello, Nate, old boy, how are ya?

Well, gee, I'm glad to see you too.

See, I'm in an awful hurry.

Come in the store sometime.

Come in the store.

All right, I'll do.

How much is this gonna cost me?

Well, let me add it up and see.

(knocking thuds)

Come in.

Oh, Nate, I'm awfully busy.

Jerry, I don't like to disturb you,

but this is awfully important.

At least to me.

What is it?

Jerry.

You know that my family's
been right here ever since

this town was started.

- Long before it.
- I know that this oil is

bathed in their blood,
plus that of the Indians.

Sure.

Why, my great grand uncle,
Limial Young, was the first one

to start a store here-

- Will you leave out the family history

and come to the point.

Well.

I might have to sell my store.

You might have to sell?

Yeah.

Is Martin Blake trying
to buy you out, too?

Martin Blake?

Yeah.

Why, I never thought of him.

But this man I mean is stopping

over at Martin Blake's house.

He came into my store last
week and he made me an offer.

And I refused it.

And then he came in today
and he threatened to build

right next store to me and
undersell me until he forced me

outta business, if I
didn't accept his terms.

Oh, Nate, for Pete's
sakes, who came into town?

Who's trying to buy you out?

What is it?

Why John H. Smith.

Who?

Who?

John H. Smith.

The big chain store man.

He came from Apex, originally.

Only he didn't come from
one of the old families.

He's mixed up with
Blake and this oil well.

And I think Levings is his brother-in-law.

John H. Smith is mixed up
with Blake and the oil wells.

He's put money up-

- Yeah.

Behind it.

Yeah.

And Levings is his brother-in-law?

Yeah.

Oh, Nate.

Nate!

(drawer rattling)

This here's a chance.

Chance for what?

Oh, if I can only swing this.

Swing what?

Nate.

You wait.

You wait here a minute.

(door thuds)

Luke, put this in seven column banner head

and set it 12 point black face right away.

I'll give you some more copy in a minute.

We're getting out an Extra.

Get ready for an Extra, boys.

Hurry up, get that banner
head 12 point, black face.

Quick!

Listen.

Make this snappy, boys.

Be as important as you can about it.

We gotta get this out.

(printing press whirring)

Extra, extra!

Extra cover!

[Boys] Extra, extra!

(men shouting)

Hey, boys.

[Boys] Extra, extra!

Extra, extra!

(car accelerating)

(crowd shouting)

Extra, extra!

(doorbell ringing)

Blake.

Get a load of this.

What's happened?

Plenty.

My name in it?

No.

I'm the goat.

Listen to this.

"Levings claimed well
failure after striking oil.

Driller made false statement to Advocate.

After four months continuous
drilling, I have reported

to the directors of the
Apex Oil Company

that, in my opinion, based
upon fifteen years experience

in the oil business, that
this project is a failure."

Well, that can't do any
real harm if it doesn't

mention Blake or me.

It can't, eh?

Well, it makes me out a crook
to everybody in this town.

And a fool, besides.

Is Mr. Blake at home?

Oh, yes, miss, he's in the living room.

What is it you want coming here?

I wanna see Mr. Smith,
among other things.

Did you ever write a letter
that began like this?

"I'm through with you and
you might as well know it.

If you wanna Kill yourself,
go ahead and do it."

What are you driving at?

Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Well...

Explain what you mean
by coming here like this?

Keep your hands to yourself, Blake.

I think Mr. Smith knows what I mean.

I was the reporter who turned in the story

of Maude Kinel's death.

You had Ike Bauaman Kill it.

But maybe you didn't get
all your letters back?

I think, Mr. Blake, that you'll
be interested in this, too.

This is a proof of the second Extra

we intend running tonight.

Here you are.

And once you get that set,
come back for another arm full.

Here's yours.

And I wish every one of you was twins.

Nate, you'd better read it to them.

I don't imagine they're
seeing any too well.

"Smith, chain store magnet,
named in girl's death.

Girl advised in heartless
letters to take own life."

Give me that lock up furniture.

Now read the headlines about Blake.

"Banker's connection
with oil plot exposed.

Levings' statement prepared by bank.

Blake planned to defraud stockholders."

Well. (Laughs)

I've got company.

(printing press whirring)

Well, you haven't any proof of this.

Levings' statement was
written on bank stationary.

That'll be proof enough for anyone.

Besides, I don't think
Mr. Levings wants to take

all the blame alone.

You bet your life, I don't.

Well, you can't print that.

It'll go all over the country.

I'll be absolutely ruined.

I thought you'd feel that way about it.

That's why I made you
a member of the family.

Of course, it's all up to Mr. Blake.

What do you mean it's up to me?

I'm willing to kill these
stories for a consideration.

[Both] How much?

Oh, not for money.

(printing press whirring)

This is an agreement not to
open a John H. Smith store

in Apex.

And this is a bill of sale,
transferring the Advocate

back to Webster.

There's a check inside
for what he owes you.

It came outta Gertie Mullen's
profits from the oil well.

Now, you sign those and
we won't run the Extras.

Don't let her make a fool of you.

All right, gentlemen, Luke
Collins had instructions

to start the presses at
8:30, unless I telephone.

The boys should be on the
streets in fifteen minutes.

Why, you don't dare print that stuff.

Let's wait fifteen minutes and see.

[Paperboy] Extra!! Extra!

[Jerry] It's still the first Extra.

You won't hear the second for ten minutes.

Now, look here-

- To be exact, 11 minutes and a half.

Do you mind?

Main seven one two.

I'm just calling the
office to see everything's

running all right.

Hello, Luke?

This is Jerry.

Oh you have?

Yes, I can hear them running.

Hold the line.

'Fraid you haven't much time, Mr. Blake.

The press is running.

(printing press whirring)

Stop those presses.

This is Martin Blake speaking.

Nevermind that, Luke.

I'm running the Advocate
until tomorrow morning.

Well?

(printing press whirring)

(paper rustling)

(pen scratching)

Okay, Luke.

Stop the press and kill everything.

Go ahead with the regular morning run.

Oh yes, will you tell Sam to wait?

I'll be right over.

(phone thuds)

We've got the Advocate back again.

Look at that.

What is it?

It's a bill of sale from Martin Blake.

The paper's yours again.

But, but.

It's a long story.

I'll tell ya after I get the
paper ready to go to print.

Say, and you better go in your office.

You've got a caller in there.

He's missed two trains
already waitin' for ya.

(gasps) It's Brice.

He stayed!

Ain't ya gonna hug me too?

Oh, you.

(door thuds)

Oh, darling.

Everything's all right.

Including my not going away?

Oh, especially that.

I've got a big job for
you here on the paper.

Does that, by any chance,
include being a husband?

Well, that's part of it.

And the rest?

Well, we're go into that later.

Hm.

(upbeat orchestral music)