Young Tom Edison

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Young Tom Edison
Young Tom Edison.jpg
Directed by Norman Taurog
Produced by John W. Considine, Jr.
Written by Hugo Butler
Bradbury Foote
Dore Schary
Starring Mickey Rooney
Fay Bainter
George Bancroft
Music by Edward Ward
Cinematography Sidney Wagner
Edited by Elmo Veron
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • March 15, 1940 (1940-03-15)
Running time 86 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Young Tom Edison is a 1940 biographical film about the early life of inventor Thomas Edison, with Mickey Rooney in the title role. The movie follows the imaginative boy Tom as he continually gets into mischief and causes accidents locally with his chemical experiments. The townspeople regard him as a troublemaker. As the Civil War breaks out, Tom starts a business enterprise peddling food and snacks on board trains, and later composing and handing out news sheets to passengers. In a stroke of inspiration, Tom at night cleverly focuses light from multiple lamps onto a large mirror, enabling a surgeon to successfully operate on his mother. The story ends with Tom desperately signaling in Morse Code with a train whistle, alerting the engineer of another train filled with passengers to stop before it plunges into a river. These two acts finally vindicate Tom who is now a hero.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

Upon the film's release Rooney had his picture on the cover of the March 18, 1940 issue of Time; Time called Rooney "a rope-haired, kazoo-voiced kid with a comic-strip face, who until this week had never appeared in a picture without mugging or overacting it."[1] The magazine said the film featured Rooney's "most sober and restrained performance to date, [of someone] who (like himself) began at the bottom of the American heap, (like himself) had to struggle, (like himself) won, but a boy whose main activity (unlike Mickey's) was investigating, inventing, thinking."[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cinema: Success Story". Time. March 18, 1940. Retrieved 2013-09-16. Hollywood's No. 1 box office bait in 1939 was not Clark Gable, Errol Flynn or Tyrone Power, but a rope-haired, kazoo-voiced kid with a comic-strip face, who until this week had never appeared in a picture without mugging or overacting it. His name (assumed) was Mickey Rooney, and to a large part of the more articulate U. S. cinemaudience, his name was becoming a frequently used synonym for brat. 
  2. ^ "Young Tom Edison (1940)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2013-09-16. Time put Rooney on the cover, noting that his movies had grossed a whopping $30 million for MGM the previous year and praising him for 'his most sober and restrained performance to date' as young Edison, 'who (like himself) began at the bottom of the American heap, (like himself) had to struggle, (like himself) won, but a boy whose main activity (unlike Mickey's) was investigating, inventing, thinking.' 

External links[edit]