He Couldn't Say No


Lambert T. Hunkins is a timid office worker at a linoleum company.  He has been reluctantly dating Violet Coney, a pushy girl from his office, although he has a crush on Iris Mabby, a senator's daughter whom he has never met. He collects pictures of Iris from newspapers in a secret photo album. He has another private quirk: he likes to frequent estate auctions.

Out of the blue he receives a $10/week raise, and Iris and her domineering mother take the occasion to bully Lambert into engagement.  The bright point for him is that it gives him an excuse to go to the auction house, allegedly to buy furniture for a new apartment for three. While there he is awestruck by a slightly racy statue that resembles Iris Mabby. Despite all attempts at intervention by Iris and her mother, he buys the statue for $100.

It turns out that Iris was indeed the model for the statue, and the Senator wants to destroy it to avoid potential scandal. He offers Lambert $3000 for it but is refused. The newspapers pick up this story and Lambert gains notoriety as a screwball who values a plaster statue beyond reason. Some mobsters become interested in his inexplicably valuable property and determine to steal it. Iris herself visits Lambert and is charmed by him. Everything turns out well in the end.

Lambert is played by Frank McHugh. Violet is played by Jane Wyman and her mother is played by Cora Witherspoon.

The infamous auction

Trailer for He Couldn't Say No on TCM

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm


"Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" is the title of a classic 1903 book by Kate Douglas Wiggin.  It is also the title of a 1938 movie starring Shirley Temple.  Apart from the title, these two works have three things in common: a girl named Rebecca, a farm called Sunnybrook, and an aunt named Miranda.

In the novel, Rebecca is sent to live with her maiden aunts, Miranda and Jane, because her widowed mother cannot afford to feed or educate all of her seven children on the income from the family farm, which Rebecca nicknames "Sunnybrook Farm". Rebecca's life is not easy under the control of the irascible and parsimonious Aunt Miranda, but her imagination and bright personality see her through all the tough times.

In the movie, Rebecca (Shirley Temple) auditions to be "Little Miss America" as part of a new radio advertising campaign for Crackly Grain Flakes.  She wins the role, but due to a misunderstanding between advertising executive Tony Kent (Randolph Scott) and his assistant Orville Smithers (Jack "Tin Man" Haley) she is sent away thinking she has been rejected.  Her ne'er-do-well guardian/manager (William "Uncle Charley" Demarest) then leaves her with her Aunt Miranda who lives on Sunnybrook Farm.  Aunt Miranda is not fond of show people (and, okay, she is irascible) so when Kent and Smithers manage to track down Rebecca she will not allow her to participate.  Shenanigans ensue.  Shirley Temple dances with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and sings a medley of her most famous songs, including "On the Good Ship Lollipop" and "Animal Crackers in My Soup".

Bill Robinson and Shirley Temple

Randolph Scott and Jack Haley

William Demarest

One more familiar face: Franklin Pangborn as an "emergency musician" for the radio broadcast.

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