powered by AFI
On a train on which Norma and Randolph Haven must hastily leave town to avoid bill collectors, Norma advises her husband to try something different and get a real job instead of being involved in another scheme. Randy promises to reform, but in New York City, he secretly becomes partners with "Cookie" Farrar in a bookie operation which fronts as a collection agency. Meanwhile, Norma has been working happily at the glove counter of a department store and planning their life together. Ashamed of himself, Randy decides to get a real job, but on the same day takes a $1,000 bet from gangster Johnny Branigan, who is backing a horse that Cookie thinks cannot win. Unfortunately, the horse wins at seventeen-to-one and Randy doesn't have the money to pay off. Trying everything to raise money, Randy and Cookie go to Professor Ladislaus Milic, who owes them $330, but can only pay if he publishes one of his books. Randy settles for rights to The Neurological and Physiological Effects of Marriage , puts his own name on the title page, and, through a ruse, gets publisher Eric Santley interested in the book. That night, just as Branigan is threatening Randy, Eric calls to say that he wants to publish the book and offers a $500 advance. The promise of more money helps to stall Branigan, who takes the terrified Cookie as a "deposit" on the $17,000. Although Norma is furious to discover that Randy has been a bookie, he sincerely promises that he will reform and she forgives him. The next morning, Eric enthusiastically signs a contract with Randy, whom he assumes is unmarried, and says that he is going to retitle the book and promote it as A Bachelor Looks at Marriage . Eric also gets Randy a radio show to dispense advice to troubled couples. Now realizing that Randy can pay back all the money, Branigan agrees to go along with the scheme. That night, after Norma sees a newspaper article promoting the book, she informs him that "bachelors" sleep on the couch. As the weeks pass, the book becomes a bestseller and Randy becomes a sensation. He rents a new penthouse apartment, but Norma decides to stay at their old place. A short time later, Norma goes to hear Randy give a lecture and decides to follow his advice that women should be free to form friendships with men. At the same lecture, Norma meets Eric, who is immediately attracted to her. That evening, Eric asks Randy for advice on how to romance a woman, and Randy complies, not knowing that Norma is the woman in question. When Eric asks Norma to accompany him to a party at which "Dr. Havens" will be present, she agrees, and Randy is stunned to see that she is Eric's date. Later that night, Randy goes to their old apartment but leaves after Norma tells him he has changed. Some time later, Norma goes to Milic asking for advice on how to save her marriage and get the old Randy back, and he advises her to give Randy an ultimatum: her or his new reputation. That night, at the radio broadcast, Norma shows up as one of the evening's "problems," much to Randy and Eric's surprise. When she obliquely presents her story, the radio audience's "jury" says that she should divorce her husband. She and Randy then start to argue, and everyone suddenly everyone knows that they are talking about themselves. Finally realizing that he loves Norma more than success, Randy embraces her as the audience cheers and is soon traveling with her on another outward bound train.