People are finally finding out that the guy next door isn't a bad egg


You mean to tell me you’d try to kill the John Doe movement if you can’t use it to get what you want? Well, that certainly is a new low. You sit there with your big cigars and think of deliberately killing an idea that has made millions of people a little bit happier. Why look, I’m just a mug and I know it – but I’m beginning to understand a lot of things. Why, your types are as old as history! If you can’t lay your dirty fingers on a decent idea and twist it and squeeze it and stuff it into your own pocket, you slap it down! Like dogs, if you can’t eat something – you bury it! Why, this is the one worthwhile idea that’s come along! People are finally finding out that the guy next door isn’t a bad egg. That’s simple, isnt it? And yet a thing like that has got a chance to spread till it touches every last doggone human being in the world – and you talk about killing it! Well, when this fire dies down what’s going to be left? More misery! More hunger and more hate! And what’s to prevent that from starting all over again? Nobody knows the answer to that one. The John Doe idea may be the answer though, it may be the one thing capable of saving this cockeyed world, yet you sit back there on your fat hulks and tell me you’ll kill it if you can’t use it! Well, you go ahead and try – you couldn’t do it in a million years with all your radio stations, and all your power.

– Down-and-out pitcher Long John Willoughby to industrialist D.B. Norton

Robert Riskin, 1941

From the film Meet John Doe