The Senator Was Indiscreet (1947)
Mr. Gryphon - Book Dealer: It was the first time in my 45 years in the book business that a customer insisted on a book exactly 5 by 8 ½ inches, regardless of contents.
Lew Gibson: [to the Indian chiefs] Now, remember, you're Indians.
Houlihan: [to Ashton] No member of the party has the right to deny he is not a candidate unless he is a candidate.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: [to Houlihan] Owning a nice little diary is like owning a nice little atom bomb. Even if you never do anything with it, it's a comfort to know it's there.
Lew Gibson: [to Poppy] You can't go around quoting politicians accurately! That's dirty journalism and you know it!
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: There's one thing you can't say about me, Fred, I have never put one man or woman on the public payroll who was not my own blood kin-or Mrs. Ashton's, anyway.
Lew Gibson: Tell me, do you use a pipe of peace anywhere in this routine?
Indian: Are you kidding?
Lew Gibson: But for a hundred bucks?
Indian: Did you ever smoke one of those things?
Indian: Look, Mr. Gibson, you're getting three full-blooded Indians and a pretty close. You're getting an Eagle Scout bow and arrow and a genuine Navajo rayon blanket. And if you knew how long it took my mother to make one of these things.
[He holds out a lengthy feather headdress]
Waiter: Vodka, I take, is not good enough for you?
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: Is that fellow radical?
Lew Gibson: No, no. He just likes vodka.
Waiter: There will be a complete report of this entire affair in Moscow by midnight.
Houlihan: Any member of the party in good standing has a perfect right to have his picture taken eating a hotdog, wearing a fez, or even fishing. But big stuff like Indian ceremonies, or riding in the cab of the 20th Century Limited, or shaking hands with a recognized labor leader is strictly prohibited stuff.
Houlihan: And another thing. What's the big idea of telling those reporters you're not a candidate for the nomination?
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: Because I'm not.
Houlihan: Then stop denying it. No member of the party has a right to deny that he's a candidate unless he is a candidate.
Lew Gibson: Boss, I was in the advertising business once. So believe me, if you can sell the American public that one cigarette is different from another, that one toothpaste is better than another, you can sell them anything, even Mel Ashton.
Houlihan: What else is the party but a mother to her son? We've fed and clothed you and saved you from work for the past 35 years.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: [On the telephone with Mrs. Ashton] Hello! Hello, mama. How's everything? Uh, mama, I'm an Indian now. Yes, it was wonderful. You'll see it in the pictures. I come out and I say, 'How!'
Houlihan: He's an idiot... He's got as much chance of being nominated for the presidency as Abbott and Costello.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: This is no time for emotionalism, but rather for a serious searching of the heart. As you all know, I am a simple, plain talking man, with no taste for evasion and no talent for fancy words. So, I am going to be open and above board with you, as I have always been. Ladies and Gentlemen, I cannot put this too strongly - I am not a candidate for the presidency... But... there are times when decisions of this sort are no longer a matter of individual...
Lew Gibson: Don't tell me you're interested in senators.
Valerie Shepherd: Well, he's from my home state.
Lew Gibson: [Snaps his fingers] Oops, forgot. Want me to shoot him for you?
Valerie Shepherd: Aw, couldn't you sneak me in just for a few minutes to hear him?
Lew Gibson: Oh sure, but I never thought I'd live to see the day someone would want to listen to old wooden shoes.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: I say, 'No!' and again, 'No!' I will not raise one finger to obtain this greatest gift within the power of a grateful republic, this brightest jewel in the diadem of mankind. But, if the voice of the people of these United States - if that voice should ring out over the land, and say to me, 'Come!' - then I can only bow my head and say in all humility, 'I will.'
Broadcaster: [after announcing Mel's tour of 28 states by train] Senator Ashton is not a candidate for the presidency and is understood to be making this tour because he likes to dress and undress in Pullman berths.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: Well, I've got a bigger family than all the rest of those jokers put together. Three fine sons and four beautiful daughters.
Houlihan: You mean you have seven secretaries?
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: Well, why not? Senator Arb... has 36.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: There's one thing you can't say about me, Fred. I have never put one man or one woman on the public payroll who was not my own blood kin... or Mrs. Ashton's, anyway.
Houlihan: [Frantically searching the apartment for the diary] Where is it you wooden-headed lunk? Where is it? What'd you do with it? Where'd you hide it? Oh, you windbag. You goof. You... you lunatic. You big creepy lunatic. How could you do it, Mel? Putting things in writing. Why, if that stuff ever got out they could feed us to Little Abner
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: [Speaking at a Labor Temple] But why stop at a five-day week for seven days' pay? This is a rich country. Why not a three-day week and for eight days pay?
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: [Speaking at the Bankers Club] Strictly between ourselves, gentlemen. The time has come for management to take a firm stand. Now, in the Ashton labor control bill, I propose an eight-day week for a two-day pay.
Waiter: I heard your speeches over the radio, Sen. Ashton.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: Ah, did you really?
Waiter: Not one word in defense of poor little Yugoslavia.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: Do Indians vote in this country?
Lew Gibson: Yes
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: Help yourselves, fellas. Take all you want.
[Rodeo Indians help themselves to the fruit basket]
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: The McCoy-Keith-Ashton bill is designed for the protection of man's most faithful servant - the letter carrier.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: Whatever my opponent has offered, I'll double it.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: I propose a $5,000 bonus to every man, woman and child in the country who did not go to war.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: [Speaking at the party convention] The first plan in my platform is to get me in the White House. Two, Social Security - $200 a week for every man, woman and child in this country, from the date of birth until the date of death, inclusive. Three, Veteran's Relief - Twice what any other candidate offers. Four, Old Age Insurance. - No old age insurance. We must economize somewhere. But, at the age of 45, every American citizen who has ever paid an income tax shall have the entire amount that he has paid - every penny of it - refunded to him, with interest. Five, Education - The United States government should send every man, woman and child in this country through Harvard.
Politico: You don't think he goes too far sometimes?
Houlihan: You can't in a presidential campaign.
Houlihan: You know, I believe I've underestimated Mel. Why, with a platform like that he could sweep any country.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: Why does this young lady of yours, miss McNaughton, keep referring to me as Senator Ashcan?
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: Oh, come now, Lew. Let's not speak lightly of labor's right to strike. Nor of management's right to object to labor's right to strike.
Lew Gibson: What enemies have you got?
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: Well, that... that opens up quite a field.
Houlihan: If he really lost that book, I'll break every bone in that cornball's body. I'll tear off his legs one at a time and beat his brains out with 'em.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: [On telephone with his wife in Washington] Hello, Mamma! This is United States Senator Melvin G... it... it's me, mama.
Houlihan: Are you the house dick?
Farrell: House officer - we're trying to get away from vulgarities.
Farrell: We just got a complaint from an elderly lady that the senator here has been running around nude in the Queen Victoria cocktail lounge.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: I was looking for the elevators.
Joe aka 'You Know Who': [On telephone] Theodore, this is you-know-who. We got a little situation here, and I want you to contact certain parties and tell 'em to stand by for a get-away. Better have their bags packed. Ready? Honest John McAfferty in Boston. Honest John Mancuso in Philadelphia. Honest John Mankiewicz in Pittsburgh. Major Culpepper in Richmond. Colonel Culpepper in Atlanta. Brig. Gen. Culpepper in New Orleans.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: Where's that 28th floor waiter? That communist?
Joe aka 'You Know Who': [Still on the telephone] Smiling Horace Miller in Denver. Happy Edgar Caton in Butte, Montana. Square Deal Ralph Nason in San Francisco.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: I wasn't going to jump. Just trying to get a little fresh air. Dumb flatfoot!
Farrell: I'm sorry, senator. We've lost so many guests that way, I guess I'm getting a little jump-minded.
Houlihan: [On telephone] Hello, Clyde. Things look bad here. We better not take any chances. Call Mort, Tommy, Benson, Harold and Bill. Tell 'em to give those swimming pools back before morning.
Joe aka 'You Know Who': [On telephone] Please note the following revised air schedules: Planes for Mexico leave La Guardia Field at 9:05 a.m. and 10:15 p.m. Planes for China leave San Francisco daily at 1:20 p.m. Planes for South America leave Dallas at 3:30 and 10:20 p.m. Planes for Siberia leave Seattle at 8:15 p.m. with connections at Alaska. Planes for the Cape of Good Hope leave Boston every Tuesday at 7:15 a.m.
Houlihan: Mel, if that diary's ever published, you'll be lucky if they don't drop you from the top of the Washington Monument.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: How am I going to live?
Houlihan: Well, off your interest of course.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: What interest?
Houlihan: The interest off your capital.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: What capital?
Houlihan: What capital? You mean to say you've been in politics for 30 years and haven't any capital?
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: Well, how could I have, Fred? How did I know that that income tax bill meant me too?
Frank: Look, what did you do before you went into politics?
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: I was a public highway safety deviser.
Frank: What the Sam Hill was that?
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: I painted those white lines down the middle of paved roads. But those roads are all painted now, Fred, even if I could bend over that far any more.
Houlihan: Must be something you can do, Mel. Haven't you any talents at all?
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: I have many talents, but uh, not definitely.
[Cronies ask questions]
Frank: Ain't you even a lawyer?
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: I am not a lawyer.
Politico: Can you type?
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: Not with both hands.
Houlihan: Give us some kind of clue, Mel. What can you do?
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: Be a senator.
Frank: Well, I'll say this for the senator. He's got more 'Don't know how' than any guy I've met in some time.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: You know, there's only one thing I can think of - aside from being a senator, of course, that I feel pretty well qualified to do.
Houlihan: What's that?
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: Be president.
Houlihan: I've got it. You can be a czar.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: Won't go to Russia.
Houlihan: No, no. An American czar, like baseball... a sport.
Houlihan: What about basketball.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: Oh, know basketball very well. Played that in high school - fullback.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: Football? Oh, uh... 28, 82, 26, 78, hike. Heh, heh, I remember. You really think you could arrange that?
Houlihan: I believe so. I think the duties would be relatively simple.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: Oh, never mind the duties what does it pay?
Houlihan: About a hundred and fifty thousand, I should imagine.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: A hundred and fif... Say, that's more than the president.
Frank: It's a bigger job. Youth of the nation. Hope of the future. You know.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: [Writing a telegram to resign from the Senate: President of the Senate - Dear Sir: I hear by ]
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: resign from the U.S. Senate because... ] Which do you think sounds better - uh, that my health has broken down as a result of over work, or that my mission for the American people has at last been accomplished?
Houlihan: Just say ya quit. I don't look for anybody to quibble about it.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: Oh, I think overworked sounds more sincere.
Houlihan: What's the matter, Mel? You're going to be president.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: Yeah, that's just it. It's all right for you fellas to celebrate, but I've just taken a 50 percent cut in pay.
Joe aka 'You Know Who': Theodore, this is You Know Who again. The all-clear has just sounded, and you can tell the following they can unpack - Laughing Larry Schnakenberger in Kansas City, Kansas...
Houlihan: All right, Mel. It doesn't pay as much being president, but it's more important.
Frank: And remember, they give ya a house to live in.
Houlihan: The party needs ya, Mel. We can win with ya now, with that book back.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: Hmmm, You know I was just wondering. Do they give you that $75,000 right away or do you have to wait until the end of the year?
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: [On telephone to his wife] Hello, mama? Well, it's all settled. I'm going to be president. I know, but it's the best I can do. Yes, but, think of the prestige, mama. Well, you think it over, and I'll call you back. Goodbye, mama.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: All right boys. Who wants what in the cabinet?
Joe aka 'You Know Who': [on telephone again] Important. There are no extradition treaties between the United States and the following countries: Greenland, Outer Mongolia, and Little America.
Senator Melvin G. Ashton: I'm sorry, mama. But they say it's quite an attractive little island, mama. Plenty of grapefruit and coconuts, and a lovely little white house for us.
Mrs. Ashton (Cameo Appearance): A little white house isn't exactly what you promised me, darling. But still...