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Longfellow Deeds, a simple-hearted Vermont tuba player, inherits a fortune and has to contend with opportunist city slickers.
Longfellow Deeds: People here are funny. They work so hard at living they forget how to live.
Longfellow Deeds: About my playing the tuba. Seems like a lot of fuss has been made about that. If, if a man's crazy just because he plays the tuba, then somebody'd better look into it, because there are a lot of tuba players running around loose. 'Course, I don't see any harm in it. I play mine whenever I want to concentrate. That may sound funny to some people, but everybody does something silly when they're thinking. For instance, the judge here is, is an O-filler. Judge May: A what? Longfellow Deeds: An O-filler. You fill in all the spaces in the O's with your pencil. I was watching him. [general laughter] Longfellow Deeds: That may make you look a little crazy, Your Honor, just, just sitting around filling in O's, but I don't see anything wrong, 'cause that helps you think. Other people are doodlers. Judge May: "Doodlers"? Longfellow Deeds: Uh, that's a word we made up back home for people who make foolish designs on paper when they're thinking: it's called doodling. Almost everybody's a doodler; did you ever see a scratchpad in a telephone booth? People draw the most idiotic pictures when they're thinking. Uh, Dr. von Hallor here could probably think up a long name for it, because he doodles all the time. [general laughter; he takes a sheet off the doctor's notepad] Longfellow Deeds: Thank you. This is a piece of paper he was scribbling on. I can't figure it out - one minute it looks like a chimpanzee, and the next minute it looks like a picture of Mr. Cedar. You look at it, Judge. Exhibit A for the defense. Looks kind of stupid, doesn't it, Your Honor? But I guess that's all right; if Dr. von Hallor has to, uh, doodle to help him think, that's his business. Everybody does something different: some people are, are ear-pullers; some are nail-biters; that, uh, Mr. Semple over there is a nose-twitcher. [general laughter] Longfellow Deeds: And the lady next to him is a knuckle-cracker. [general laughter] Longfellow Deeds: So you see, everybody does silly things to help them think. Well, I play the tuba.
Longfellow Deeds: Now, um, heh, now about the Faulkner sisters. That's kind of funny. I mean, about Mr. Cedar going all the way to Mandrake Falls to bring them here. Do you mind if I talk to them? Judge May: Not at all. Longfellow Deeds: Jane, who owns the house you live in? [pause; then Jane whispers to Amy; Amy whispers back] Jane Faulkner: Why, you own it, Longfellow. Amy Faulkner: Yes, you own it. Longfellow Deeds: Do you pay any rent? Jane Faulkner: No, we don't pay any rent. Amy Faulkner: Good heavens, no, we never pay rent. Longfellow Deeds: Are you happy there? Jane Faulkner: Oh, yes. Amy Faulkner: Yes indeed. Longfellow Deeds: Now, uh, Jane, a little while ago you said I was pixilated. Do you still think so? [Jane whispers to Amy; Amy whispers back] Jane Faulkner: Why, you've always been pixilated, Longfellow. Amy Faulkner: Always. Longfellow Deeds: That's fine, hm, I guess maybe I am. And now tell me something, Jane: who else in Mandrake Falls is pixilated? Jane Faulkner: Why, everybody in Mandrake Falls is pixilated - except us. Amy Faulkner: Mm-hmm.
Longfellow Deeds: When the servant comes in, Mr. Hallor, I'm going to ask him to show you to the door. Many people don't know where it is.
[Deeds and attorney Cedar shake hands in parting] Longfellow Deeds: Even his hands are oily.
Longfellow Deeds: Hand me my pants. I wrote her phone number on a piece of paper. Walter: You have no pants, sir. You came home last night without them. Longfellow Deeds: I did what? Walter: As a matter of fact, you came home without any clothes at all. You were in your shorts. Yes, sir. Longfellow Deeds: Don't be silly, Walter. I couldn't walk around on the streets without any clothes. I'd be arrested. Walter: That's what the two policemen said, sir. Longfellow Deeds: What two policemen? Walter: The ones who brought you home, sir. They said you and another gentleman kept walking up and down the street shouting "back to nature! Clothes are a blight on civilization! Back to nature!"
Longfellow Deeds: You know the poem I told you about? It's finished. Would you like to read it? It's to you. Babe Bennett: Yes. Of course. Longfellow Deeds: You don't have to say anything, Mary. You can tell me tomorrow what you think. Babe Bennett: I tramped the Earth with hopeless feet / searching in vain for a glimpse of you / Then heaven thrust you at my very feet / a lovely angel, too lovely to woo / My dream has been answered, but my life's just as bleak / I'm handcuffed and speechless in your presence divine / For my heart longs to cry out. If it only could speak / I love you, my angel. Be mine. Be mine.
[Mac, the newspaper editor, is chewing out his reporting staff for their inability to get a scoop on Deeds] MacWade: He's been here three days and what have you numb-skulls brought in? Any halfwit novice could have done better. You imbecilic stoops. Now get out of here before I really tell you what I think of you. Go on, get out! [a reporter mumbles an unintelligible insult at Mac as he exits the office] MacWade: What was that? Reporter: I said you were a... uh... I said you had dirty plaster.
Cornelius Cobb: [Approaching a Vermont farmer who is busy unloading boxes] Good morning! Farmer: Morning, neighbors. 'Morning. Cornelius Cobb: A... [farmer walks away with a box] Cornelius Cobb: That's an excellent start. At least we've broken the ice. John Cedar: [the farmer returns] I say, my friend, do you know a fellow by the name of Longfellow Deeds? Farmer: Deeds? John Cedar: Yes. Farmer: Yes, sir. Yes, indeedy. Everyone knows Deeds. John Cedar: Yeah, we... [farmer walks away with a box] Cornelius Cobb: Must be a game he's playing. John Cedar: [the farmer returns] We'd like to get in touch with him. It's very important. Farmer: Who's that? John Cedar: Deeds! Who do you think I am talking about? Farmer: Oh, yes, Deeds. Fine fellow. Very democratic. You won't have no trouble at all. Talks to anybody. [walks away with a box] John Cedar: I guess we'd better try somebody else. Cornelius Cobb: No. We won't. The next time that jumping jack comes out, I'll straddle him while you ask him your questions. Farmer: 'Morning, neighbor. Cornelius Cobb: Remember us, the fellows who were here a minute ago? Farmer: Oh, yeah. Yes, indeedy. I never forget a face. Cornelius Cobb: Listen, pop. We've come all the way from New York to look up a fellow by the name of Deeds. It's important. It's *very* important. Farmer: You don't have to get rough, neighbor. All you've got to do is ask. Cornelius Cobb: Then *please* pretend, for just one fleeting moment, that I'm asking. Where does he reside? Farmer: Who? Farmer: [Gives up in desperation]
Longfellow Deeds: [to the Court] It's like I'm out in a big boat, and I see one fellow in a rowboat who's tired of rowing and wants a free ride, and another fellow who's drowning. Who would you expect me to rescue? Mr. Cedar - who's just tired of rowing and wants a free ride? Or those men out there who are drowning? Any ten year old child will give you the answer to that.
John Cedar: Your Honor, what she is saying has no bearing on the case. I object! Judge May: Let her speak! Babe Bennett: I know why he won't defend himself! That has a bearing on the case, hasn't it? He's been hurt, he's been hurt by everybody he met since he came here, principally by me. He's been the victim of every conniving crook in town. The newspapers pounced on him, made him a target for their feeble humor. I was smarter than the rest of them: I got closer to him, so I could laugh louder. Why shouldn't he keep quiet - every time he said anything it was twisted around to sound imbecilic! He can thank me for it. I handed the gang a grand laugh. It's a fitting climax to my sense of humor. John Cedar: Why, Your Honor, this is preposterous. Babe Bennett: Certainly I wrote those articles. I was going to get a raise, a month's vacation. But I stopped writing them when I found out what he was all about, when I realized how real he was. He could never fit in with our distorted viewpoint, because he's honest, and sincere, and good. If that man's crazy, Your Honor, the rest of us belong in straitjackets! John Cedar: Your Honor, this is absurd. The woman's obviously in love with him. Babe Bennett: What's that got to do with it? John Cedar: Well, you are in love with him, aren't you? Babe Bennett: What's that got to do with it? John Cedar: You ARE, aren't you? Babe Bennett: Yes!
[to Walter, as he interrupts Mr. Deeds' tuba playing] Longfellow Deeds: The evil finger's on you!
Louise "Babe" Bennett: Mabel, that guy's either the dumbest, stupidest or the most imbecilic idiot in the world or else he's the grandest thing alive. I can't make him out... I'm crucifying him. Mabel Dawson: People have been crucified before. Louise "Babe" Bennett: Why? Why do we have to do it? Mabel Dawson: You started out to be a successful newspaper woman, didn't ya?... Louise "Babe" Bennett: Here's a guy that's wholesome and fresh. To us, he looks like a freak. Do you know what he told me tonight? He said when he gets married, he wants to carry his bride over the threshold in his arms... I tried to laugh, but I couldn't. It stuck in my throat... He's got goodness, Mabel. Do you know what that is?... No, of course you don't. We've forgotten. We're too busy being smart alecks. Too busy in a crazy competition for nothing.
Longfellow Deeds: [to Cobb] There once was a man named Cobb Kept Semple away from the mob Came the turn of the tide And Semple he died And now poor Cobb is out of a job.
Cornelius Cobb: [Reading entrance sign of Mandrake Falls town, written by Deeds] Welcome to Mandrake Falls Where the scenery enthralls Where no hardship e'er befalls Welcome to Mandrake Falls.
[reading Babe's first column about Deeds] MacWade: "At two o'clock this morning, Mr. Deeds held up traffic while he fed a bagful of doughnuts to a horse. When asked why he was doing it, he replied, 'I just wanted to see how many doughnuts this horse would eat before he asked for a cup of coffee.'"
Longfellow Deeds: Cedar, Cedar, Cedar and Budington. Funny, I can't think of a rhyme for "Budington". Cornelius Cobb: Why should you? Longfellow Deeds: Well, whenever I run across the funny name, I like to poke around for a rhyme.
John Cedar: [giving his name card to Deeds] I'm John Cedar, of the New York firm of Cedar, Cedar, Cedar and Budington. Longfellow Deeds: [chuckling] Budington must feel like an awful stranger.
Morrow: Pal, look, how would you like to go on a real old-fashioned binge? Longfellow Deeds: Binge? Morrow: Yeah, I mean the real McCoy. Listen, you play saloon with me and I'll introduce you to every wit, nitwit, and half-wit in New York. We'll go on a twister that'll make Omar the soused philosopher of Persia look like an anemic on a goat's milk diet! Longfellow Deeds: Well, I guess that oughtta be fun. Morrow: Fun? Listen, I'll take you on a bender that will live in your memory as a thing of beauty and a joy forever!
Louise "Babe" Bennett: [Taking Mr. Deeds to see Grant's Tomb] To most people, it's an awful let-down... To most people, it's a washout. Longfellow Deeds: Well, that depends on what they see. Louise "Babe" Bennett: Now what do you see? Longfellow Deeds: Me? Oh I see a small Ohio farm boy becoming a great soldier. I see thousands of marching men. I see General Lee with a broken heart surrendering. And I can see the beginning of a new nation, like Abraham Lincoln said. And I can see that Ohio boy being inaugurated as President. Things like that can only happen in a country like America.
Longfellow Deeds: [to the Court] From what I can see, no matter what system of government we have, there will always be leaders and always be followers. It's like the road out in front of my house. It's on a steep hill. Every day I watch the cars climbing up. Some go lickety-split up that hill on high, some have to shift into second, and some sputter and shake and slip back to the bottom again. Same cars, same gasoline, yet some make it and some don't. And I say the fellas who can make the hill on high should stop once in a while and help those who can't. That's all I'm trying to do with this money. Help the fellas who can't make the hill on high.
Judge May: Mr. Deeds, there has been a great deal of damaging testimony against you. Your behavior, to say the least, has been most strange. But in the opinion of the court, you are not only sane, but you're the sanest man that ever walked into this courtroom!
[Two shy sisters testify at Deeds's sanity hearing] John Cedar: Do you know the defendant, Mr. Longfellow Deeds? [long pause] Jane Faulkner: Oh yes, yes, of course we know him. John Cedar: How long have you known him? [Jane whispers to Amy; Amy whispers back] Jane Faulkner: Since he was born. Amy Faulkner: Yes, Elsie Taggart was the midwife. Jane Faulkner: He was a seven months' baby. John Cedar: Thank you, that's, that's fine. Do you see him very often? [Jane whispers to Amy; Amy whispers back] Jane Faulkner: Most every day. Amy Faulkner: Sometimes twice. Judge May: Must we have the echo? John Cedar: Suppose you just answer, Miss Jane. Now, will you tell the court what everybody at home thinks of Longfellow Deeds? [pause; then Jane whispers to Amy; Amy whispers back] Jane Faulkner: They think he's pixilated. Amy Faulkner: Oh, yes, pixilated. Judge May: He's what? John Cedar: What was that you said he was? Jane Faulkner: Pixilated. Amy Faulkner: Mm-hmm. John Cedar: Now that's rather a strange word to us, Miss Jane. Can you tell the court exactly what it means? Board member: Perhaps I can explain, Your Honor. The word "pixilated" is an early American expression derived from the word "pixies," meaning elves. They would say the pixies had got him. As we nowadays would say, a man is "barmy." Judge May: Oh. Is that correct? Jane Faulkner: Mm-hmm. Amy Faulkner: Mm-hmm.
Longfellow Deeds: He talks about women as if they were cattle. Walter: Every man to his taste, sir. Longfellow Deeds: Tell me, Walter, are all these stories I hear about my uncle true? Walter: Well, sir, he sometimes had as many as twenty in the house at the same time. Longfellow Deeds: Twenty! What did he do with them? Walter: That is something I was never able to find out, sir.
Louise "Babe" Bennett: That guy is either the dumbest, stupidest, most imbecilic idiot in the world, or else he's the grandest thing alive. I can't make him out.
Cornelius Cobb: You're wasting your time. He doesn't want any lawyers. He's sunk so low he doesn't want help from anybody. You can take a bow for that. As swell a guy as ever hit this town, and you crucified him for a couple of stinking headlines. You've done your bit. Stay out of his way.
Anderson: [walks up to the farmer] Longfellow Deeds. Where does he live? Farmer: Oh, that's what you want. Why didn't you say so in the first place instead of beating around the bush? Those other fellows don't know what they're talking about. Come on, I'll take you there in my car. If they'd only explained to me what they want, there'd be no trouble. Mrs. Meredith - Housekeeper: [the group arrives at Longfellow's house and knocks] Oh. Will you come in, please, gentlemen? John Cedar: Is Mr. Deeds in? Mrs. Meredith - Housekeeper: No, he's over to the park arranging a bazaar to raise money for the fire engine. [turning to farmer] Mrs. Meredith - Housekeeper: Mal, you should've knowed he was in the park. Mrs. Meredith - Housekeeper: Knowed it all the time but these men said they wanted to see the house. Can't read their minds if they don't say what they want.
[last lines] Jane Faulkner: He's still pixilated. Amy Faulkner: He sure is!
Morrow: You hop aboard my magic carpet and I'll show you sights that you've never seen before. Longfellow Deeds: Well, I'd kinda like to see Grant's tomb and the Statue of Liberty. Morrow: Well, you'll not only see those, but before the evening's half through, you'll be leaning against the Leaning Tower of Pisa, you'll mount Mount Everest, I'll show you the Pyramids and all the little pyramidees, leaping from sphinx to sphinx!
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