A Successful Failure

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A Successful Failure
Directed by Arthur Lubin
Produced by George Yohalem
Written by Michael Kane (story)
Marion Orth (writer)
Music by Clifford Vaughan
Cinematography Jerome Ash
Edited by Jack Ogilvie
Distributed by Monogram Pictures
Release date
  • October 15, 1934 (1934-10-15)
Running time
62 minutes
Country United States
Language English

A Successful Failure (1934) is an American film directed by Arthur Lubin. It was Lubin's first movie as director.[1]


Ellery Cushing (William Collier, Sr.) has trouble at home, and at work. When he's fired from the newspaper where he’s worked for fifteen years, his friend Phil (Russell Hopton) quits too, outraged.

Together, they work from their “office”, on a park bench, until Phil can get Ellery a try-out, on a radio spot, as “Uncle Dudley”. The character is a big hit, with his folksy witticisms.

Meanwhile, at home, Ma, Mrs. Cushing (Lucile Gleason), has her hands full with their daughter, Ruth (Gloria Shea), who has spurned Phil’s attentions for an aging Lothario, Jerry (Jameson Thomas). While their oldest son, Robert (William Janney), after turning down a job, has got mixed up with some “Redrabble-rousers, in the park.

Only their youngest son, Tommy (George P. Breakston), manages to stay out of trouble, doing his homework. Tommy thinks their Dad is alright, even better than “that guy on the radio”, who they don’t know is their father.

It’s only after “Uncle Dudley” gets a concussion, after being hit with a brick, quelling a riot of “Reds”, in the park that his family begin to value his worth, and, Phil’s, if they all live to appreciate it.



There is no connection between the fictional radio personality "Uncle Dudley" in this film, and the 1935 comedy film Your Uncle Dudley, with Edward Everett Horton.[2]

This film is based on the short story,"Your Uncle William" by Michael Kane, published in The Saturday Evening Post.[3]

The film marked Lucile Gleason's return to movies after a break.[4]


  1. ^ Schallert, E. (1935, May 28). Negotiations started for filming of "petrified forest" with leslie howard. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/163303169?accountid=13902
  2. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0027236/
  3. ^ http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/91809/Successful-Failure/screenplay-info.html
  4. ^ Schallert, E. (1934, Jul 19). Mitzi green, former child star, gets first grown-up role in edward small feature. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/163228568?accountid=13902

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