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George Washington Slept Here

(1942 b 91')

En: 6 Ed: 5

Based on the Kaufman-Hart play, a couple buys an old house in the country and tries to make it livable but clashes with a neighbor and relatives.

Mr. Gibney (Franklin Pangborn) tells Connie Fuller (Ann Sheridan) that they can't keep their dog in the apartment, and Connie says they will move. Bill Fuller (Jack Benny) shaves and learns they are moving. Connie takes Bill to a 200-year-old house and says she bought it. Bill is angry, but Connie says that Mr. Kimber (Percy Kilbride) will have it fixed up. Kimber tells Connie there is no water. Bill falls through the floor and asks for water. He learns that he can't use a private road of Mr. Prescott (Charles Dingle). The maid Hester (Hattie McDaniel) complains and wants to quit. Bill learns the train runs at 5:46 a.m. Kimber tells Connie and Bill the costs of gravel, lime, fertilizer, and dirt; plus trees must be sprayed. Neighbor Jeff Douglas (Harvey Stephens) calls on Connie. Madge (Joyce Reynolds) and Steve (William Tracy) get water from the brook. During a rainstorm actors Clayton Evans (John Emery) and Rena (Lee Patrick) come in. Madge likes Clayton, and Steve is jealous. The roof leaks, and they place pans. Kimber says they struck water, but the well is on Prescott's property.

Bill carries a hose and is greeted coming off the train by Connie and Jeff. Connie tells Bill that her nephew Raymond (Douglas Croft) is going to live with them. Madge tells Connie that she is in a play with Clayton. Connie tells Bill that her Uncle Stanley (Charles Coburn) is coming, and they put out his pictures. Stanley talks about his childhood. Connie goes out with Jeff until 12:30, and Bill is jealous. Bill falls down the stairs. Jeff brings a map that shows they own the road and the well; but Prescott says their property is being foreclosed unless they pay $5,000. Connie and Bill ask Stanley, who says he has been broke since 1929. Steve says that Madge is running away with Clayton. Bill with a shotgun sees Madge kiss Clayton and walks on stage. Kimber finds an old boot and hands it to Bill.

Bill, Connie, and Stanley drink cider with Kimber and laugh. Stanley hires Raymond to get Prescott to chase him. Stanley comes in and says he has the check. Raymond pesters Stanley for his money, but Kimber knocks him out with a hammer. Hester comes in and says she pawned Stanley's things, and Prescott realizes he is poor. They find a letter by Washington in the boot, and Bill reads its inspirational message. Jeff says he can sell it easily. Locusts swarm and eat the clothes off Bill and Kimber, and Bill falls into the well again.

This farce reflects an early trend of city dwellers moving to houses in the suburbs and the new problems that brings to keeping up a home. Eccentric relatives, young and old, are also satirized.

Copyright © 2004 by Sanderson Beck

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