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Bunker Bean

(1936 b 67')

En: 5 Ed: 6

Based on Lee Wilson Dodd's play from Harry Leon Wilson's novel, a timid secretary learns from previous lives how to assert himself to win the boss's daughter and succeed in business.

Bunker Bean (Owen Davis Jr.) is timid, and receptionist Rose Kelly (Lucille Ball) says he has an inferiority complex. Aircraft company owner J. C. Kent (Robert McWade) says Bunker is his best employee. Kent says, "Action is the soul of progress." Bunker asks Kent for a raise but is ignored as Kent's daughter Mary (Louise Latimer) calls and comes in asking to play polo. Bunker types a book on reincarnation for Dr. Meyerhauser (Ferdinand Gottschalk). Bunker asks him how he could change his timidity, and Meyerhauser suggests knowing his past lives. So Bunker goes to psychic reader Countess Cassandra (Sybil Harris), who says he was Napoleon. Bunker gets a letter with a check for $5,000 that his dead uncle left him a gyro patent.

Bunker is invited to the Kents for a weekend. Mary's grandmother (Jessie Ralph) objects to Mary going out with Randall. Bunker asks Mary out, but she turns him down. After reading that Napoleon chastised a woman, Bunker spanks Mary. Kent and Mary complain, and he apologizes; but Grandmother commends him. Bunker burns the book and tells the psychic he was not Napoleon. She asks Professor Balthazer (Berton Churchill) for help, and he says Bunker was a pharaoh. Bunker offers Balthazer $1,000 for the mummy. Kent learns they need the other gyro patent and discovers that Bunker has it. He tells Bunker to give it to him for $100. Bunker gets the mummy and says that no one will bully him anymore. Mary calls that she is getting a ticket. Bunker ignores Kent and tells the cop he can't arrest Mary without a badge. Bunker drives Mary and shows her the badge he took. He tells her that being Napoleonic did not work but that Ram-Ta is helping him. Bunker says that he needs $10,000 to get married and kisses Mary.

Bunker goes to Jones Aircraft Co. and walks in on A. C. Jones (Russell Hicks), who calls Kent. Rose tells Bunker to go to Kent's house. Bunker asks Mary to marry. Kent with his board gives Bunker $100, but Bunker says Jones offered him $15,000 and asks for $20,000. Mary says she will marry Bunker, and her mother (Hedda Hopper) faints. Kent calls Jones and suggests they share the patent, and each offers Bunker $250. Bunker finds a dog has unraveled the mummy, exposing it as sawdust. Mary assures Bunker that he acted himself. Kent and Jones go to see Bunker, who asks for $50,000 and $10,000 a year, telling Kent that he and Mary are married.

This comedy satirizes reincarnation but shows how a timid person can do better by being more assertive, though Bunker's success is really the result of the patent he inherited, which can be seen as symbolizing what the one inherits from previous soul experiences.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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