Young Tom Edison

Young Tom Edison is a 1940 biographical film about the early life of inventor Thomas Edison directed by Norman Taurog and starring Mickey Rooney. The film was the first of a complementary pair of Edison biopics that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer released in 1940. Edison, the Man, starring Spencer Tracy, followed two months later, completing the two-part story of Edison's life.


An imaginative, curious—and clumsy—boy Tom continually gets into mischief and causes accidents with his inventions and experiments. The townspeople regard him as a troublemaker and figure of fun. The schoolmistress expels him for daydreaming, distracting the other students and asking ridiculous questions. She suggests that his father take him to a doctor because he is “addled”. Tom's family loves him, although his father is frustrated and sometimes angered by Tom's thoughtless and costly misadventures. His mother sees the potential in Tom's unusual way of thinking. Tom's younger sister, Tannie, is his partner in adventures—they communicate by Morse Code. Tom starts a business peddling food and snacks on board trains, and Tannie helps him. Meanwhile, still banned from school, Tom reads everything he can about science. When the Civil War starts, Tom sets up a printing press in the baggage car, giving passengers the latest news.