It Happens Each and Every Spring

Jean Peters (left) and Ray Milland in "It Happens Every Spring" (1949) Photograph by 20th Century Fox Film Corp./Everett Collection

Clever little comedy of chemistry professor (Milland) accidentally discovering a chemical mixture which causes baseballs to avoid all wooden surfaces, namely baseball bats. He takes leave from academia and embarks on a meteoric pitching career. A most enjoyable, unpretentious picture.

It Happens Every Spring (1949) in Leonard Maltin’s 2009 Movie Guide (2008, Signet)

The pooled fluids combine to form the (fictitious) chemical “methylethylpropylbutyl,” which then covers a large portion of the baseball.

It Happens Every Spring, Wikipedia

By the time I discovered Maltin’s unpretentious jewel, it was already dated. Now it is way dated. (Can you spot the future star of Gilligan’s Island?)

Where I grew up, spring occurred in the vicinity of the second week of June. Weeks prior, NBC’s Saturday Night at the Movies would launch the baseball season with this modest classic.

I bring this up because at a certain age,  I was enchanted with the impossibility, tension, and happy ending of Valentine Davies’s script. (Davies is worth a careful read. Think: Miracle on 34th Street.)

This enchanted spring our fearless leaders in Washington are in search of a little methylethylpropylbutyl.

There is impossibility. There is tension. There is a search for a sequestered happy ending.

They have exactly one hope.

It is Spring.

Too often—and recently—it seems idiocy in Washington happens each and every Spring. Discuss.

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