The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt


NEW YORK, Tuesday—Early yesterday morning I went to see a documentary motion picture called, "One Man's Answer," the story of Mickie Finn and the boys of Mickie Finn's youth club.

The film was written and produced by Arthur H. Nadel and Martin Lancer primarily to appeal to juvenile delinquents and potential young criminals. There is a second objective, however, and that is to gain financial backing to keep the club open and to enlist support so that the dream of Mickie Finn and the boys themselves to acquire a boys' ranch somewhere in the San Fernando Valley may someday come true.

The present club is at 215½ Spring Street, on "skid row" in Los Angeles, California. A policeman, Mickie Finn, asked himself the question: "What can I do for these boys?" and in one way or another he raised the money and gave every minute of his spare time to run this club. Then he was inducted into the army. The two young men who made the film were inspired by him to do something not for profit but as their share in answering the question: "What can I do?"

They financed the film completely, paid union wage scales prevailing in Hollywood and solicited no outside money. The film runs 30 minutes, is in full color with direct sound scenes, and the narration is done by Ronald Reagan who has distinguished himself in many other fields as well!

This is a film that carries a message but at the same time the boys of the club who are in the film, and their friends, found it worth looking at. They were the actors and the audience and they recognized the value of the film to them.

This film doesn't preach. It tells a story effectively and well. I was glad to hear that the company that produced it is going to continue to put out films with a message. I hope they will succeed and I hope, too, that they may be helpful to many people.

"The Quiet One," a film that was produced at the Wiltwyck School, served as an education to many people who had never thought particularly of what makes young criminals. Where do they come from? Where do they go?

You'll see in "One Man's Answer" the background from which many juvenile delinquents come. You'll see how easily a boy can be lured into real trouble. But I think you also will get a good idea of the value of a policeman who cares about boys and understands them.

The value of the Children's Court judge comes out here, too. I have felt for a long time that our system of juvenile courts with their own judges was of tremendous value to our young people. Not long ago a tragic accident happened to some boys who ran away from Wiltwyck School. The sheriff was inclined to feel they were already criminals, and he treated them as such. But a juvenile court judge felt differently, fortunately, and now they are returned to the school.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 17, 1951

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.