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A Successful Failure

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Director  Arthur Lubin
Music director  Clifford Vaughan
Country  United States
5/10 IMDb

Genre  Comedy
Screenplay  Marion Orth
Language  English
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Writer  Michael Kane, Marion Orth
Release date  October 15, 1934 (1934-10-15)
Cast  William Collier Sr. (Ellery Cushing aka Uncle Dudley), Lucile Gleason (Mrs. Cushing), Russell Hopton (Phil Stardon)
Similar movies  Related Arthur Lubin movies

A successful failure 1934

A Successful Failure (1934) is an American film directed by Arthur Lubin. It was Lubin's first movie as director.


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Ellery Cushing (William Collier, Sr.) has trouble at home, and at work. When he's fired from the newspaper where he’s worked for fifteen years, his friend Phil (Russell Hopton) quits too, outraged.

Together, they work from their “office”, on a park bench, until Phil can get Ellery a try-out, on a radio spot, as “Uncle Dudley”. The character is a big hit, with his folksy witticisms.

Meanwhile, at home, Ma, Mrs. Cushing (Lucile Gleason), has her hands full with their daughter, Ruth (Gloria Shea), who has spurned Phil’s attentions for an aging Lothario, Jerry (Jameson Thomas). While their oldest son, Robert (William Janney), after turning down a job, has got mixed up with some “Red” rabble-rousers, in the park.

Only their youngest son, Tommy (George P. Breakston), manages to stay out of trouble, doing his homework. Tommy thinks their Dad is alright, even better than “that guy on the radio”, who they don’t know is their father.

It’s only after “Uncle Dudley” gets a concussion, after being hit with a brick, quelling a riot of “Reds”, in the park that his family begin to value his worth, and, Phil’s, if they all live to appreciate it.


  • William Collier Sr. as Ellery Cushing aka Uncle Dudley
  • Lucile Gleason as Mrs. Cushing
  • Russell Hopton as Phil Stardon
  • George P. Breakston as Tommy Cushing
  • William Janney as Robert Cushing
  • Gloria Shea as Ruth Cushing
  • Clarence Wilson as H.T. Flintly, News Record Editor
  • Jameson Thomas as Jerry Franklin, Ruth's Beau
  • Richard Tucker as J.W. Blair, Atlas Broadcasting
  • David Hanna as The savage, Atlas Broadcasting
  • Trivia

    There is no connection between the fictional radio personality "Uncle Dudley" in this film, and the 1935 comedy film Your Uncle Dudley, with Edward Everett Horton.

    This film is based on the short story,"Your Uncle William" by Michael Kane, published in The Saturday Evening Post.

    The film marked Lucile Gleason's return to movies after a break.


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