Once Upon A Time

Based on a radio play by Norman Corwin (from an idea by Lucille Fletcher Herrmann), this film should have stayed a radio play. Attempting to expand it to a film was a mistake, despite the frantic attempts by Grant and the rest of the cast to elevate it to a passable farce. Grant is a quick-witted producer in grave financial trouble. His theater is about...read more

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Based on a radio play by Norman Corwin (from an idea by Lucille Fletcher Herrmann), this film should have stayed a radio play. Attempting to expand it to a film was a mistake, despite the frantic attempts by Grant and the rest of the cast to elevate it to a passable farce. Grant is a

quick-witted producer in grave financial trouble. His theater is about to be shuttered and he doesn't know what to do. Standing on a New York street, he throws a nickel over his shoulder and it's picked up by Donaldson (making his debut). The young lad carries a shoe box and opens it to show Grant

a caterpillar that dances when Donaldson plays "Yes Sir, That's My Baby." Grant thinks he can use this fuzzy terpsichorean to his advantage, maybe even get his theater back from the bankers. (Baker) Gabriel Heatter (he was a famous news man on radio who began each broadcast with "Ah yes, there's

good news tonight!") hears about the phenomenon and details the story on his broadcast as part of the human interest segment. The radio show is listened to by everyone, and Grant, Donaldson, and the caterpillar become overnight sensations. Donaldson's guardian-sister, Blair, doesn't like the

publicity and lets Grant know that in no uncertain terms. The moment these two battle we know that they'll be clinching at the fadeout. Grant makes a deal with Walt Disney (Fenner) for $100,000 but backs out at the last minute, understanding at last how low he has sunk. The caterpillar has flown

the box and no one can find him; Donaldson is heartbroken. Grant attempts to get into Donaldson's good graces, but the boy will have none of it. At the end, Grant sits at a piano and begins tinkling "Yes Sir, That's My Baby" and a colorful butterfly makes its way out of a cocoon. Donaldson is

called for, plays his harmonica, and the butterfly responds to the music. At the close, everything wraps with Grant, Blair, and Donaldson preparing to be a happy, if caterpillarless, family. The fairy-tale title gives away the nature of the material.

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