Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

It's A Gift (1934)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

It's A Gift (1934)

In director Norman Z. McLeod's very funny comedy, about a small-town grocery clerk who was beset by harrassments from his children, his nagging wife and customers, who ultimately decided to pack up his family and belongings into their car for a trip out West to California to his "orange grove":

  • the opening scene of helpless and henpecked Harold Bissonette (W. C. Fields) suffering in his home due to his shrewish wife Amelia (Kathleen Howard), and having to share the mirror while attempting to shave in the home's single bathroom with his prim daughter Mildred (Jean Rouverol); his shaving arm (precariously poised with a sharp razor) was continually threatened ("If you want me to cut my throat, keep that up!")
  • the hilarious grocery store sequences (with a number of slapstick segments and sight gags) involving bumbling, long-suffering New Jersey store owner Harold and his incompetent store clerk Everett Ricks (Tammany Young)
  • also, Bissonette's eccentric patrons included a disruptive and grumpy Mr. Jasper Fitchmueller (Morgan Wallace) who kept requesting "ten pounds of kumquats - and I'm in a hurry", a cantankerous, blind/deaf and destructive Mr. Muckle (Charles Sellon) - a house-detective wearing sunglasses and wielding a cane, and Baby Ellwood Dunk (Baby LeRoy) spreading molasses all over the floor; all the while, Harold rushed around responding to an increasingly-exasperated Mr. Fitchmueller, promising: "Coming, coming..."
Mr. Muckle Creating a Path of Destruction
  • as Muckle approached the store, Bissonette screamed out to Everett: "Open the door for Mr. Muckle" - knowing that full-scale destruction of the store was about to happen; unable to get to the closed front door in time to open it, the irrascible old Muckle smashed its plate glass window with his wildly waving cane, shouting out: "You got that door closed again!"
  • with an ear trumpet, the hard-of hearing Muckle only purchased a stick of chewing gum after a prolonged, difficult conversation with Harold - and then proceeded to destroy a display of light bulbs that exploded as they dropped to the floor; when leaving the store after demanding the delivery of the gum, Muckle successfully smashed the other front door's window on his way out, cheerfully adding: "Well, you got that door closed again!"
  • a later tour-de-force episode: the funny sequence of the bedeviled Harold's continued attempts to peacefully sleep on his faulty back porch swing while bothered by a milkman and his rattling glass milk bottles (Harold requested: "Please stop playing with those sleigh bells, will ya?"), a coconut noisily bouncing down the steps, an insurance salesman (T. Roy Barnes) looking for Carl LaFong, by Baby Dunk dropping grapes on him ("Right on the proboscis!" and his exclamation: "Shades of Bacchus!"), a chattering, sing-song repartee-conversation between young Miss Abby Dunk (Diana Lewis) and her mother about whether she should buy ipecac or syrup of squill for Baby Dunk, a squeaky clothesline, and a noisy vegetable/fruit vendor (Jerry Mandy)
  • the priceless scene of Harold's conversation with a salesman named Carl LaFong:
    - Salesman: Carl LaFong, Capital L, small a, capital F, small o, small n, small g. LaFong. Carl LaFong.
    - Harold: No. I don't know Carl LaFong - Capital L, small a, Capital F, small o, small n, small g. And if I did know Carl LaFong, I wouldn't admit it!
  • the entire California trip sequence - Bissonette's dreamland where he imagined owning an orange grove - including their family picnic scene (not at a camp or picnic grounds, but on the private lawn of an exclusive mansion) where they littered everything with garbage and pillow feathers
Disastrous Family Picnic Scene
Plucking an Orange for His Screwdriver
  • their arrival at Harold's property - located in a disaster area - a dessicated section of sunbaked desert land with a "Tobacco Road" ramshackle shack on it - although due to good fortune, the worthless land was immediately purchased by a developer for a race-track and grandstand for a windfall amount of $44,000!- in the final scene, a triumphant, vindicated and relaxed Harold was on the porch of his new prosperous property: "Bissonette's Blue Bird Oranges" where he was mixing screwdriver cocktails and lazily reaching out and effortlessly plucking an orange from a nearby lush tree

Harold Sharing a Bathroom Mirror with His Daughter Mildred

Customer Demanding Kumquats

The Back Porch Swing Sequence

Interrupted by Salesman Carl LaFong

Packing Up Family for Drive to California


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