It Happens Every Spring (1949)

it happens every spring 1949

If you like to have fun at the movies without having your intelligence insulted then check this one out. A chemistry professor invents a compound that keeps anything from landing on wood. It was supposed to keep insects away until the prof discovers what it can do for baseball.

Vernon Simpson (Ray Milland) is a chemistry professor who is obsessed with baseball. As the title says, it happens every spring. His girlfriend is Debbie Greenleaf (Jean Peters). She’s the daughter of Dean Greenleaf (Ray Collins).

Vernon is talking with a company about his compound and he’s just about completed it. One day he and Debbie are in his lab where he tells her it’s done. Then a baseball comes flying through the window and smashes his lab equipment and spills the compound. He says he has to start all over again and it could take months. Looks like marriage will have to wait.

Debbie leaves and Vernon starts cleaning up. The baseball is covered with his compound. He soon sees it bypasses wood. He saves what’s left of the compound in a few bottles. He has an idea.

He asks two students who are on the way to failing his class to show up at the ball field at five am.  In exchange he’ll tutor them so they can pass.  Tommy Isbell (William Murphy) will catch and Schmidt (Alan “Skipper” Hale,Jr.) will bat. Vernon has a hole in his glove and puts a rag under it with the compound. The ball takes crazy hops so the bat can never make contact.

He heard on the radio that the St.Louis Cardinals need a pitcher if they want to win the pennant. That gives him another idea. He asks the Dean for a leave of absence so he can show a chemical company his work. What he really does is head for the front office of the Cardinals.

He tells manager Jimmy Dolan (Ted DeCorsica) that he can win it all for them. He wants a thousand dollars for every game he wins and guarantees that he’ll win at least thirty. Team owner Edgar Stone (Ed Begley) come out of his office and they both think he’s crazy and want security to get him out.

Vernon keeps pushing and finally Stone says to take him to the ballpark so he can make a fool of himself. Catcher Monk Lanigan (Paul Douglas) works with him and Vernon strikes everybody out. Stone thinks his star has arrived. Vernon says his name is Kelly.

Monk is told to become Vernon’s roommate and keep an eye on him. He spots the bottle of compound and Vernon says its just hair tonic. Known as King Kelly, Vernon can’t lose. Monk shows him a newspaper article about a scientist who says there’s gold on Mars. It’s the one next to it that gets Vernon’s attention. It’s all about a five state search for him. The company he said he was going to told the Dean he never got there.

Vernon sends a diamond engagement ring and a cryptic letter to Debbie asking to have the search called off. The Dean thinks he’s tied up with gangsters. Debbie’s mother (Jessie Royce Landis) spots Vernon with some of the players at a train station. They’re all scruffy and she misunderstands their conversation and thinks Vernon really is mixed up with a gang.

Debbie sees an article about a Chicago jewelry store robbery and thinks it could involve Vernon. She runs into him coming out of a jewelry store where he just made the last payment on the ring. She accuses him of being a mobster. He tells her what he’s really been up to. She doesn’t believe him and walks off.

More conflict and fun to come in a movie that’s well worth checking out even if you’re not a baseball fan. It’s just a lot of fun.

Ray Collins is best known to TV fans as Lt.Tragg on “Perry Mason” (1957-65).

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About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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