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Father's Little Dividend (1951) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • Shortly after coming to terms with his daughter's marriage, a father faces the prospect of becoming a grandfather.

  • In this sequel to Father of the Bride (1950), Stanley Banks learns that his daughter Kay is going to have a baby. When they get the news everyone except Stanley is overjoyed. His wife and grandmother-to-be Ellie broadcasts it everywhere and all Stan can do is worry about the practical things like how his son-in-law Buckley can afford it. Well, having not long ago paid for the wedding, Stanley has no intention of bearing any of the expenses involved. Buckley's parents and Ellie are overjoyed at the news and virtually take over redecorating the young couple's new house. Crisis and false alarms take over their lives and when the child is born, the only person he doesn't seem to like is Stanley. A walk in the park - and absolute panic when Stanley misplaces his grandson - seems to resolve the situation.


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The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • Stanley and Ellie Banks accept a dinner invitation from their daughter Kay and her husband Buckley Dunstan, who have some news to share. On the way Stanley suggests that he and Ellie take a vacation, perhaps to Hawaii. Ellie is rather vague and says they should wait to hear Kay and Buckley's news. When they arrive at the Dunstan apartment, Buckley's parents Herbert and Doris are already there. The Dunstans announce that they are expecting a baby in November. Everyone is thrilled except Stanley. He feels that being a grandfather will mean that he is an old man. Back home, Ellie excitedly telephones her friends. Kay's younger brothers Ben and Tommy are told but Stanley warns then not to spread it around.

    The next day, Stanley goes to the gym for a complete workout. He is determined to get back into shape. But the following morning he is so stiff and sore that he can't get out of bed.

    Ellie throws Kay a baby shower, which is well attended. Stanley comes home and sees that Buckley is trapped in a gaggle of women, all thrusting shower gifts in his face. Before he can escape, Ellie summons him to the kitchen. She thinks they should ask Kay and Buckley to live with them. Their little apartment isn't big enough for a baby. Stanley listens to her plans but refuses to consider the idea. He has no desire to relive round-the-clock feedings, measles, and colic. Just then the senior Dunstans arrive. Herbert and Doris had the same idea as Ellie only more elaborate. They offer Kay and Buckley their very own wing in their mansion. Ellie flees to the kitchen before she can burst into tears. She reminds Stanley that now was the time Kay would need her the most. She had planned to help with the baby clothes and nursery. In exasperation, Stanley tells her to go on and have Kay and Buckley move in. But she says it is too late, that they will accept Herbert's offer and she will never get to see the baby.

    Kay and Buckley have made their own plans, however, and to their parents' surprise announce that they have bought a house. Ellie eagerly offers to help decorate and her earlier upset is forgotten.

    In the following months, both sets of grandparents-to-be manage to interfere. There is a discussion of baby names, with the grandparents arguing over which ones are suitable and ignoring what Kay and Buckley like. No one approves of the young couple's obstetrician at first, but after the prospective grandparents all pay him a visit, they concede that he seems to know what he's doing. Stanley and Herbert try to outdo each other when it comes to buying gifts for the baby. Stanley buys what resembles a window air-conditioner but is really an air filter, eliminating dust and pollen. Herbert furnishes the nursery and puts up a Harvard pennant, which angers Stanley because he himself attended Dartmouth.

    Late one night, Stanley is awakened by the telephone. It is Buckley looking for Kay. They had a fight and she walked out on him. Without waking Ellie, Stanley gets dressed and drives to his daughter's home. Buckley is reluctant to discuss what the fight was about but eventually admits that Kay accused him of having an affair. He assures Stanley that nothing could be further from the truth. He was working late to earn extra money. When Kay called him at the office, he wasn't there because he had stepped out for coffee.

    Buckley believes Kay left by taxi but the dispatcher won't release any information. Stanley has better luck after explaining that he is Kay's father and she is in a "certain condition." The address Kay was driven to was that of her parents. Buckley and Stanley go there and discover Kay asleep on the back patio. She had forgotten her key. After an emotional discussion with her father, she heads upstairs to her old room. Buckley reminds her to take her vitamins and drink eight glasses of water a day. He doesn't want her climbing steps and asks if she can sleep downstairs. In the face of such concern, Kay breaks down. She and Buckley make up. He tries to telephone for a taxi but the phone is out of order. Stanley is forced to drive them home. When he returns, he discovers that he left the phone in his bedroom off the hook. Just as he is settling down to sleep, the alarm clock rings. It is time to get up.

    The time for the baby's birth is almost here. Stanley takes a gift from Ellie over to Kay's house. Buckley takes Stanley aside and explains that Kay is depressed and rather frightened. He asks Stanley to talk to her while he goes out for cigarettes. Kay unwraps the gift, which is a pretty bed-jacket, and puts it into her suitcase for the hospital. Stanley assures her that all will be well.

    Another late night phone call lets them know the baby is on the way. They quickly dress and Ellie goes to get the car. Stanley wants to drive but she says there isn't time to switch places. She drives at a high speed, dodges oncoming traffic, and narrowly escapes getting hit by a train. At the hospital, she gets out while Stanley parks the car. Inside, they meet Kay and Buckley in the elevator. It was a false alarm and Stanley gets a ticket for parking next to a fire hydrant.

    A few nights later, Stanley is so stressed that he takes a sleeping pill. He is very groggy when the telephone rings. It is Buckley, announcing that the baby has been born and it is a boy. Ellie has a hard time getting the news out of Stanley because he can't stay awake.

    When Kay and the still unnamed baby come home from the hospital, he and Stanley don't hit it off. Every time Stanley tries to hold him, he cries. A disgusted Stanley announces that he wants nothing more to do with the baby. Since the Reverend Galsworthy, who married Kay and Buckley, is away for a few months, they decide to wait until he returns to have the christening.

    Several months later, Kay and Buckley go away for the weekend, leaving the baby with Stanley and Ellie. She is on cloud nine but Stanley is in a bad mood over it. This isn't helped when he learns that he will be sleeping in Kay's old room so the baby won't keep him awake. He is further aggravated when the baby chews his dress scarf. Ellie wakes him very early the next morning so he can see the baby doing something cute.

    On Sunday, Ellie insists that Stanley take the baby for a walk. He pushes the stroller past a group of boys playing softball. Stanley leaves the stroller to give them some tips and ends up joining the game. When he returns to where he left the stroller it is gone. Frantically he searches the neighborhood and even goes home, but the baby is not there. Kay is back, however. She doesn't see Stanley, who has slipped in the kitchen door. How can he tell her the baby is gone?

    There is nothing else Stanley can do but go to the police station. A stern officer hears his story and tells him they will need to verify it with Kay. Stanley begs him not to do that. At last he is taken to a room where the baby is entertaining a group of officers. He is afraid the baby will start crying but the child breaks into a grin and says "Grandpa!"

    From then on Stanley and the baby are inseparable. At the christening, Stanley is delighted to hear that the baby is named for him -- Stanley Banks Dunstan. He fears Herbert and Doris will be upset but they aren't.

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