Filmsite Movie 

A Day at the Races (1937)
Pages: (1) (2) (3)
The Story (continued)

The film's most classic scene is the next one - the "Tootsie-Frootsie" Ice Cream/Code Book scene. Tony poses as an ice-cream vendor outside the race track - he is actually a con artist selling racing tip books on horses. He knows that in the next race, he can win with 10-1 odds with a bet on Sun-Up, but he needs the cash. So he sets up the scam as gullible victim Dr. Hackenbush arrives at the race track to bet two dollars on Sun-Up.

Tony: Here your ice cream..
(Tony tells him Sun-Up is the worst horse on the track and offers him a $1 hint book.)
Tony: One dollar and you'll remember me all your life.
Hackenbush: That's the most nauseating proposition I ever had.
(Hackenbush succumbs to his greed and buys the code book.)
Tony: Here your ice cream. Tootsie-frootsie ice cream.
(The code book says that horse Z-V-B-X-R-P-L will win the next race. Tony offers a free code book to decode the letters.)
Tony: ...just a one dollar printing charge.
Hackenbush: Well, uh, give me one without printing. I'm sick of printing.
(Tony also attempts to sell him a free master code book, without a printing charge, but with a delivery charge.)
Tony: ...just a two dollar delivery charge.
Hackenbush: What do you mean delivery charge? I'm standing right next to you.
Tony: Well, for such a short distance, I make it a dollar.
Hackenbush: Couldn't I move over here and make it uh - fifty cents?
Tony: Yes, but I'd move over here and make it a dollar just the same.
(Tony continues to offer advice with a $5 set of four Breeder's Guides to decipher the master code book.)
Hackenbush: All I wanted was a horse, not a public library.
(Hackenbush buys them too. Tony takes his cash to the betting window and bets $6 on Sun-Up, while Hackenbush is distracted balancing all his guide and hint books in his arms and between his legs.)
(Tony then offers him ten jockey's guides at $1 a piece with the names of the jockeys instead of the horses, because he doesn't have change for a $10 bill.)
Hackenbush: ....Say, you don't handle any bookcases there, do you?

Hackenbush is advised by Tony to bet on Rosie, a 40-1 shot. At the betting window, Hackenbush bets two dollars on Rosie, but the bookie tells him the race is already over - Sun-Up the winner. Hackenbush realizes he has been taken. He thinks for a moment, then dumps the books back in the cart and takes the scammer's place waiting for a victim, crying: "Get your Tootsie-Frootsie. Nice ice cream. Nice Tootsie-Frootsie ice cream."

Morgan's plan is to convert the deteriorating sanitarium into a gambling casino next to his hotel and racetrack. His accomplice, Whitmore, is the sanitarium's financial officer, who has already begun to destroy the internal financial structure of the hospital.

Whitmore is upset by the newly appointed head, and calls the Florida Medical Board to check up on Dr. Hackenbush's professional credentials in a marvelous scene of impersonation. Hackenbush intercepts the call in the next-door office, and impersonates the receptionists at both ends of the call and a half-deaf "Colonel Hawkins" of the medical board. He creates the sound effects of a hurricane with a desk fan and a rustling piece of paper and says:

I'm sorry, sir. There's a hurricane blowin' and you'll have to talk a little loudah.

But when Whitmore shouts into the phone, Hackenbush buzzes him on the intercom and tells him to keep his voice down to avoid annoying the patients. Then when Whitmore returns to the phone, he thinks he has missed essential bits of information:

Hackenbush: ...I hope, sir, that's the information that you require.
Whitmore: I'm sorry, Colonel. I didn't hear it. I was called to the dictagraph.
Hackenbush: What was that you said sir?
Whitmore (loudly): I was called to the dictagraph....I want to find out something about Hackenbush. (Whitmore is called to the intercom again.)
Hackenbush: ...And in conclusion, let me say...
Whitmore: I'm sorry Colonel. What was that you said about Hackenbush?
Hackenbush: You mean, Dr. Hackenbush? Oh no. He's not here.
Whitmore: I know he's not there. He's here!
Hackenbush: Then what are you botherin' me for, Yankee?
Whitmore: But I want to know something about his Florida record...Are you sure you're speaking about Hugo Z. Hackenbush?
Hackenbush: Who?
Whitmore: Hugo Z. Hackenbush ! ! !
Hackenbush: Who's calling him?
Whitmore: The Standish Sanitarium ! ! !
Hackenbush: Yeah. That's where he works. Yeah. I understand he's doing a mighty fine job up there.
Whitmore: I, I want to get some information regarding his qualifications for the job.
Hackenbush: What job?
Whitmore: As head of the sanitarium!
Hackenbush: Who?
Whitmore: Hackenbush ! ! !
(Hackenbush calls Whitmore on the intercom again: "Whitmore, are you calling me?" "No, you sap," screams Whitmore.)
Hackenbush: Yes, now, uh, now what was that name?
Whitmore: Hackenbush!!! Hackenbush!!!
Hackenbush: Uh, uh. Well, as soon as he comes in, I'll have him get in touch with you.
Whitmore (slamming down the phone): No!

Dr. Hackenbush is wheeled into his office in a wheelchair where he instructs the attendant: "Pick me up at 5." His secretary asks for an 'OK.'

Hackenbush: I'm too busy right now. I'll tell you what. I'll put the 'O' on now and come back later for the 'K.'

One of the doctors believes Mrs. Upjohn is absolutely healthy:

Doctor: These X rays show absolutely nothing wrong with her.
Hackenbush: Is that so? Who are ya going to believe, me or those crooked X rays?

Then he dismisses them, so that he can secretly read the horse race news.

Another classic sequence of routines involves the two medical examinations, first for Stuffy (later for Mrs. Upjohn). As practice for his diagnosis of Mrs. Upjohn, Hackenbush first examines Stuffy (as he fiddles on a flute). He takes Stuffy's pulse, while speaking one of comedy's most famous one-liners:

Either he's dead or my watch has stopped!

Stuffy eats the thermometer like a stick of candy when it is put in his mouth. Hackenbush jokes: "Your temperature certainly went down fast." Stuffy tries to wash it down with a drink from a medicine bottle in the cabinet labeled POISON. Hackenbush warns: "Hey, don't drink that poison. That's four dollars an ounce." To test his reflexes, Hackenbush gets down on hands and knees. Immediately, Stuffy gets on his back to ride him. Examining him further, Hackenbush finds his patient staring back, and he says: "Don't look at me! What do you think I am? A peep show?"

Hackenbush finally delivers his diagnosis:

...He's got about a fifteen percent metabolism, with an overactive thyroid and a glandular affectation of about three percent, with a one percent mentality. (Stuffy smiles.) He's what we designate as the crummy moronic type. All in all, this is the most gruesome looking piece of blubber I've ever peered at.

But Hackenbush has his auriscope mirror reversed on his forehead and has really been examining himself. Hackenbush dances and explains it away:

I knew it all the time. That was a good joke on all of us, wasn't it?

The medical exam continues as Hackenbush asks him to say "Ah," but doesn't hear anything. He then presses Stuffy's chest. Out pops an inflating balloon from Stuffy's mouth. Hackenbush wonders: "If that's his adam's apple, he's got yellow fever." Tony thinks: "He's got in-grown balloons." When the balloon pops out again, Hackenbush grabs his neck to keep it inflated. Tony says: "I think he's a Ubangi." Hackenbush puns: "Well, I'll get the hammer and u-bang-i that right off." When Stuffy's head falls forward, it appears the balloon has sprouted curly red hair. Hackenbush notes: "Say, it's grown considerably hasn't it, eh? What's that hairy fungus all over it?"

Tony discovers that Hackenbush is a horse doctor, not a human doctor. He first thinks he should tell Judy, but then realizes Hackenbush is there to save the hospital with Mrs. Upjohn's financial support. While they talk, Stuffy injects Hackenbush's leg with novocaine from a large hypodermic needle. Just as Hackenbush admits: "I haven't got a leg to stand on," he stands on his unsupportive, stiff leg, falling to the floor. As he exits the room, walking awkwardly with one leg wrapped around the other one, Tony and Stuffy loyally imitate and follow him.

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