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, complete the two-part story of Edison's life.


The film follows the imaginative boy Tom as he continually gets into mischief and causes accidents locally with his chemical experiments. The townspeople regard him as a troublemaker. As the Civil War breaks out, Tom starts a business enterprise peddling food and snacks on board trains, and later composing and handing out news sheets to passengers. In a stroke of inspiration, Tom at night cleverly focuses light from multiple lamps onto a large mirror, enabling a surgeon to successfully operate on his mother. The story ends with Tom desperately signaling in Morse Code with a train whistle, alerting the engineer of another train filled with passengers to stop before it plunges into a river. These two acts finally vindicate Tom who is now a hero.

    More details

    director Norman Taurog
    editor Elmo Veron
    genre drama
    keywords civil war morse code
    musicBy Edward Ward
    productionCompany Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
    publisher Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
    theme biographical biographical drama