Cast & Crew
On a ship sailing from France to New York, professional confidence artist J. Rufus Wallingford, posing as an acquaintance of millionaire J. P. Morgan, dupes fellow passenger Horace Tuttle into giving him $25,000 for one of his illicit moneymaking schemes. Wallingford offers Tuttle a cut in his syndicate, tells him that the money is needed to pay off a senator and then informs him that his business associate, Charlie Mitchell, is a big bank president. After arriving in New York, Wallingford and Tuttle rendezvous at Mitchell's bank, where Wallingford is assisted in his scheme by Schnozzle, a wisecracking pickpocket who impersonates the senator, and Blackie Daw, who impersonates bank president Mitchell. Matters are complicated for Wallingford when Tuttle pays with a traceable cashier's check instead of cash, but Wallingford takes it regardless. Later, at the Ritz-Palmer Hotel, Wallingford meets Dorothy Layton, a hotel employee who has been recently fired. When he discovers that she is going to Pelton, New York to help her parents respond to a local bank's offer to buy their property, Wallingford sees another opportunity to make a quick buck and insists on accompanying her. Before leaving, however, Wallingford is visited by the inept Sergeant McGonigal, who has been investigating the con man and has been eager to arrest him. Wallingford and Blackie manage to escape, however, by picking a fight with a truck driver and causing a diversion. After McGonigal informs Tuttle that he has been had, he tells him that all the evidence he needs to put Wallingford behind bars is his signature on the cashier's check. As soon as Wallingford and Dorothy arrive at her parents' house, Wallingford prevents Charles Harper, the bank owner, from closing a deal with the Laytons and chases him off. The Laytons are bewildered at Wallingford's brash manner, so to quell their fears, Wallingford gives them Tuttle's $25,000 check as collateral and promises them a bigger payoff after Mr. Layton takes his place as the president of his new business venture, International Commercial Clay Products Company, Inc. Wallingford and his cohorts soon begin blasting the Laytons' land to make it look as if it contains valuable clay. As part of his elaborate plan to defraud the town, Wallingford sends a soil sample to J. P. Morgan and sees to it that Harper's banking reputation is destroyed. Blackie and Schnozzle try to convince their boss that they should flee to Montreal with money they received from local investors, but the lovestruck Wallingford insists on staying so that he can take Dorothy out on a date. Following his date, Wallingford has a change of heart and tells his associates that he has decided to leave the confidence racket and go straight. Despite Blackie and Schnozzle's protestations, Wallingford calls a stockholders meeting so that he can return their money. Meanwhile, Mr. Layton deposits Wallingford's cashier's check in his bank for safekeeping, and when McGonigal discovers this he goes after Wallingford. While waiting for his stockholders to show up, Wallingford discovers that Blackie has double-crossed him and has fled by train with the cash. Schnozzle is immediately sent after him. No sooner does Schnozzle leave, than Dorothy shows up and accuses him of being a fake and "trimming the town." After assuring her that no one in the town will lose a penny, Wallingford tells Dorothy that he loves her. Wallingford uses his wits to stall his stockholders long enough for Schnozzle to catch up with Blackie and return with the money. Though Wallingford quickly settles matters with his stockholders, he soon realizes that he still must contended with McGonigal. Ashamed of having betrayed his boss, Blackie makes an attempt to secretly take the rap for Wallingford, but when Wallingford discovers him in McGonigal's custody, he admits his guilt. McGonigal is outsmarted one last time, however, when Schnozzle picks his pocket and uses the cashier's check to light a cigar.
A working title for this film was The New Wallingford. This film was reviewed in Motion Picture Herald as Adventures of Wallingford. Variety and New York Times reviewed the film as New Adventures of Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford. The picture marked Jimmy Durante's first feature film for M-G-M. According to the Film Daily review, Durante brought to the screen "much of the material that made him famous in vaudeville." Hollywood Reporter and Film Daily pre-release news items list Sumner Getchell and J. C. Nugent in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Other films based on the "Wallingford" stories include a 1916 Australian film, and a 1921 Paramount film entitled Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford, which was directed by Frank Borzage and starred Sam Hardy and Norman Kerry (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.2055). George M. Cohan's 1910 play Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford was also based on the Wallingford stories.