It Happens Every Spring

It Happens Every Spring is a 1949 American comedy film starring Ray Milland and directed by Lloyd Bacon. The story of a baseball pitcher is completely fictitious, and the main character King Kelly is not based on or related to the actual player.

It Happens Every Spring
Directed byLloyd Bacon
Produced byWilliam Perlberg
Written byValentine Davies
Story by Shirley W. Smith and Valentine Davies
StarringRay Milland
Jean Peters
Paul Douglas
Music byLeigh Harline
CinematographyJoseph MacDonald
Edited byBruce B. Pierce
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
June 10, 1949
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,850,000[1]


A college professor is working on a long-term scientific experiment when a baseball comes through the window, destroying all of his glassware and spilling the fluids that the flasks and test tubes contained. The pooled fluids combine to form the chemical "methylethylpropylbutyl," which then covers a large portion of the baseball. The professor soon discovers that the fluid, along with any object with which it makes contact, is repelled by wood (cf. Alexander Fleming's serendipitous discovery of penicillin).

Suddenly, he realizes the possibilities and takes a leave of absence to go to St. Louis to pitch in the big leagues, where he becomes a star and propels his team to the World Series.



Alan Hale, Jr. has a small role as a catcher on the college baseball team.

Although the home team is "St. Louis", and both St. Louis major league teams (the Cardinals and the Browns) played at Sportsman's Park at the time, the exteriors for the movie were filmed in Los Angeles' Wrigley Field, which was built to resemble Wrigley Field in Chicago.

A novelization of the film was written by Valentine Davies.


New York Times critic Bosley Crowther found the film trying, particularly Valentine Davies's "monotonous" script. He did have measured praise for Paul Douglas, however.[2]

Leonard Maltin gives the film three and a half stars, calling it “a most enjoyable, unpretentious picture”.[3]

See also


  1. "Top Grossers of 1949". Variety. 4 January 1950. p. 59.
  2. Bosley Crowther (1949-06-11). "Movie Review - "It Happens Every Spring"". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-03-26.
  3. Maltin, Leonard (2009), p. 699. Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide. ISBN 1-101-10660-3. Signet Books.
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