Miss Grant Takes Richmond (1949) starring Lucille Ball, William Holden, James Gleason
Miss Grant Takes Richmond begins at a secretarial school, where the grave-looking Charles Lane is overseeing his class, including Ellen Grant, played by the lovely Lucille Ball. Most of the class is performing well, but not Lucille Ball’s character, which she demonstrates to the audience in a battle with an old-style typewriter – and losing. It’s a quiet slapstick routine and sets her character for the audience – effectively her Lucy Ricardo character from I Love Lucy (before she met Ricky). Hard working, diligent, intelligent, but accident prone - and cooking up a scheme to ‘help’ other people. At home that evening, she’s practicing her typing, in hopes of graduating from secretarial school the next day. She’s living with her aunt and uncle – the uncle is a Judge, and someone highly respected in the community. Likewise, her boyfriend is assistant District Attorney.
The next day, Dick Richmond (played by William Holden) of the Richmond Real Estate Company comes to the class, looking to hire a new secretary - and after a short competition in the class, he hired the inept Lucy - after he’s nearly attacked by her typewriter in another slapstick clash between Lucy and her typewriter. Shortly after arriving at her new job, the audience realizes that Mr. Richmond is running a bookie joint in the back room – that is, the ‘conference room’ where he works with his two ‘associates’ Timothy Gleason (James Gleason) and Mr. Kilcoyne (Frank McHugh). Lucy’s job is simple – to serve as the receptionist for this real estate office, that never has anything available, to give it an air of realism. That is, until …
Funny movie quotes from Miss Grant Takes Richmond
Ellen Grant (Lucille Ball): Why, the President of the United States started in a haberdashery.
Judge: You think he’s any better off now?
Dick Richmond (William Holden): Well, Richmond takes Miss Grant.
Mr. Woodruff (Charles Lane): Try not to disgrace the Woodruff Secretarial School too much.
Ellen Grant (Lucille Ball): Don’t worry, Mr. Woodruff – I tied up my last nickel to become a secretary. I’ll make good if it kills me.
Mr. Woodruff (Charles Lane): I’ll send flowers.
Frustrated house hunter: You’ve got to help me! My wife’s going to have triplets!
James Gleason: And you want meÂ to help you?
Dick Richmond (William Holden): We’ll never get caught. She’s the dumbest one in the whole school.
James Gleason: So was my wife, but I’m still payin’ her alimony!
Hood: [answering the phone] It’s Dick. Are you in?
Peggy Donato: I’m always in for Dick.
Dick Richmond (William Holden): Oh, we’re just trying to make ends meet, down at the office.
Peggy Donato: …and succeeding, no doubt.
Ellen Grant (Lucille Ball): I didn’t think they’d pour the cement so fast.
Construction Foreman Roberts: Fast and hard, Miss Grant.
[Dick and Peggy are about to have a drink. Ellen enters, dressed in a trenchcoat and fedora, with an unlit cigarette dangling from her lip, acting the part of the tough moll. She is followed by her ‘gang,’ similarly garbed, consisting of her father, Ralph, and another man]
Ellen Grant (Lucille Ball): [to her ‘boys’] Gimp! Louie! Fingers!
Ellen Grant (Lucille Ball): Musclin’ in on my organization, huh? Hijackin’ my key man. You’re in a jam, sister!
Dick Richmond (William Holden): Listen, Ellen, I made a deal.
Ellen Grant (Lucille Ball): [slaps him twice, knocking him over] Shut up, ya rat! So ya tried to shake me for this tahmata, huh?
Peggy Donato: [to Dick, angry and upset] What is this? You said she was only a front!
Ellen Grant (Lucille Ball): Just a front? So that’s the pitch!
Dick Richmond (William Holden): [getting up off the floor] Please, Ellen, you’ll only get hurt if they …
[Ellen slaps him across the face hard several times]
Ellen Grant (Lucille Ball): [menacingly] Are you tryin’ to threaten me?
Ellen Grant (Lucille Ball): Look sister, you’re leavin’ here without this lug, or ya ain’t leavin’ at all.
[shoves her onto the sofa]
Ellen Grant (Lucille Ball): Now what’s it gonna be?
Peggy Donato: I paid fifty grand for him!
Ellen Grant (Lucille Ball): OK, boys, reason with ‘er!
[they start toward Peggy]
Peggy Donato: Wait a minute; that stuff went out years ago.
Ellen Grant (Lucille Ball): Well I’m bringin’ it back!
Dick Richmond (William Holden): Ellen, for heaven’s sake …
[she slaps him with the back of her hand, knocking him to the floor again]
Ellen Grant (Lucille Ball): OK, boys, what’re we waitin’ for?
Peggy Donato: No, no don’t shoot. That’s not the way to settle things. We’ll have every cop in town after us.
[Peggy’s boys file in silently behind Ellen]
Peggy Donato: After all, he’s not the only key man in the business, there are lots of good operators.
Ellen Grant (Lucille Ball): I thought you’d come around. They always do when the chips are down.
Dick Richmond (William Holden): [watching Peggy’s boys approach] Ellen, you haven’t got any chips.
[she slaps him again]
Ellen Grant (Lucille Ball): I’ll get to you later.
Ellen Grant (Lucille Ball): And if you ever try to cross me again, you’re gonna wind up with a lead girdle! Light me up, Gimp!
[All four of Peggy’s boys offer Ellen a light, and she finally realizes the worm has turned]
Peggy Donato: The rod, Bright Eyes.
[Ellen hands Peggy the ‘gun’ she has had concealed in her pocket, which turns out to be the insides of a pencil sharpener]
Trivia for Miss Grant Takes Richmond
- Rita Hayworth was going to star in this movie, but Hayworth requested script revisions and went on suspension to avoid making it.
- The Screen Guild Theaterâ broadcast a 60-minute radio adaptation of the movie on February 22, 1951, with William Holden reprising his film role.
- Screen Director’s Playhouseâ broadcast a 30-minute radio adaptation of the movie on May 19, 1950, with Lucille Ball reprising her film role.
- William Holden co-starred with Lucy in the I Love Lucy episode L.A. at Last!