Plot & Details
The old George M. Cohan theatrical chestnut The Meanest Man in the World was retailored for the screen to accommodate the talents of Jack Benny and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson. Benny plays small-town lawyer Richard Clark, whose soft-heartedness and sense of justice loses him case after case. Threatened with bankruptcy, Clark is open to the suggestions of his valet Shufro (Rochester), who advises his boss to become cold-blooded and nasty. This he does through a series of subterfuges, including having himself photographed stealing candy from a baby and foreclosing on a little old lady (though he actually hides the old dear in his office, tending to her every need). Not unexpectedly, business picks up tremendously, but Clark's sweetheart Janie (Priscilla Lane) is upset by the "change" in her boyfriend and walk out on him. It's up to Janie's father (Matt Briggs) to tie up loose ends-literally. Despite a brief 57-minute running time (the result of retake problems during production), Meanest Man in the World secured top-of-the-bill bookings thanks to Jack Benny's radio popularity. And yes, that is Tor Johnson in the final shot.