Cast & Crew
When Abner Peabody, the proprietor of the Jot 'Em Down general store in Pine Ridge, Arkansas, hears a radio appeal by Chester Marshall, the head of the Civilian Aid in War Effort Board, asking for the "common man" to develop new ideas and inventions, Abner sets up a chemistry lab in the store's basement and begins to experiment. When Abner discovers a formula for synthetic rubber, his partner, Lum Edwards, suggests that they travel to Washington, D.C., to personally present the compound to Marshall. Upon arriving in the nation's capital, Lum and Abner find that the city is plagued by an acute housing shortage, and consequently, when a stranger in the park offers to rent them a room for the night, they readily accept. The man guides them to their lodgings in the dark, and upon awakening the next morning, they discover that they are sleeping in the bedroom display of a department store window. After being ushered out of the window and into the store by the irate manager, Lum and Abner meet their old friend, newspaper columnist Robert Blevine, who is shopping at the store. Robert invites the two to stay at his house, and escorts them to Marshall's office, where thousands of citizens have come in answer to the appeal. At the office, Marshall's secretary, Jane Nestor, chides Robert for criticizing her boss in his column and refuses his dinner invitation. While waiting for an appointment to see Marshall, Lum and Abner tour the national monuments. Tired after a day of sight seeing, the pair rest on a bench in the park. When Lum overhears a senator discussing the problem of drought in his state, he suggests using worms to enrich the soil. Next, Lum advises a congressman about how to keep the small-town population of his district from migrating to the city. Word of Lum and Abner's homespun wisdom sweeps through Washington, and soon the city is flocking to the park bench to consult with the country sages. When Marshall appears at their park bench, Lum and Abner show him their synthetic rubber invention, and he calls a press conference to announce the discovery. At the conference, Abner is in the process of reproducing his compound when a statue topples and hits him over the head, inducing amnesia. When Abner forgets his formula and thinks that he is a "hep cat," the press ridicules Marshall. After the government tells Marshall that he must produce the formula in seven days or resign his post, he joins Lum and Abner as they return to Pine Ridge. On the final day of the government's ultimatum, Abner's memory is restored when he bumps his head on a shelf. Soon after, Jane arrives from Washington with news that government scientists have determined that Abner's formula is a compound for synthetic asphalt, not rubber. For their valuable contribution to the war effort, Lum and Abner are then appointed to head an advisory committee on farm problems, vindicating Marshall's faith in the common man.
So This is Washington - So This Is Washington
Chester Lauck and Norris Goff star in So This Is Washington as Lum and Abner, roles that had made them famous in radio before they were transferred to films and television. The characters are the proprietors of the Jot 'Em Down General Store in backwater Pine Ridge, Arkansas. In this entry in the movie series, made during World War II, the boys operate the local draft and ration boards in addition to serving as the town's air-raid wardens.
After hearing a plea for inventions that might help the war effort, the two travel to the nation's capital, believing that they have developed a synthetic-rubber formula. A wartime housing shortage has them obliged to take up residence on a park bench near the Senate. Before long their homespun wisdom is attracting politicians who listen to their sage advice. A brush with amnesia has to be overcome before the pair can continue to pursue their patriotic duty.
Lauck and Goff met each other while growing up in Mena, Arkansas, and created their "Lum Edwards and Abner Peabody" characters as country-boy imitations of "Amos and Andy." Their success in local appearances eventually led to an NBC radio show that quickly became a hit. In a joint career that lasted some 25 years, the pair made seven movies as Lum and Abner.
Producer: Ben Hersh and Jack William Votion
Director: Raymond McCarey
Screenplay: Leonard Praskins, Roswell Rogers, from story by Rogers and Edward James
Cinematography: Harry Wild
Editing: W. Duncan Mansfield
Art Direction: Hans Peters
Principal Cast: Chester Lauck (Lum Edwards), Norris Goff (Abner Peabody), Alan Mowbray (Chester W. Marshall), Mildred Coles (Jane Nestor), Roger Clark (Robert Blevins).
by Roger Fristoe
So This is Washington - So This Is Washington
The working title of this film was Dollar a Year Man. The names of Chester Lauck and Norris Goff do not appear on the screen. They are credited instead as "Lum and Abner." Although a Hollywood Reporter production chart places Jimmy Dodd in the cast, his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. This picture was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Sound Recording. According to a memo from the War Department Office of Censorship, contained in NARS, the War Department forbade RKO to export this film because it ridiculed rationing, disparaged national legislators and made fun of a high-ranking Army doctor. For additional information on the "Lum and Abner" series, please consult the Series Index and see the entry for Dreaming Out Loud in the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.1128.