Mister 880 (1950)
The 1950 Twentieth Century Fox film "Mister 880" is about the infamous 1940's counterfeiter of
one dollar bills and the ten-year search for him by the US Secret Service.
and this film's receipt of special perrmission to show it.
The United States Secret Service is the main Treasury Department government agency
who duty it is to prevent and stop counterfeiting of currency.
This film was made with permission from the Treasury Department and was partly educational.
2. US Treasury Department permission and warning
The film displays the notice:
Photographs of currency were made by special permission of the Secretary of the Treasury
and further reproduction, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited.
United States Secret Service.
Secret Service agents are shown with confiscated piles of counterfeit currency.
3. Secret Service agents with piles of money
The file cabinet has files on closed cases and one on a still-open case.
4. The file on Mister 880
Mister 880 has been passing one dollar bills in New York City for ten years.
He hasn't been caught because people don't usually look at one dollar bills closely
and the passer never visits the same place twice.
The office was then located at the Federal Office Building at 90 Church Street in Manhattan.
(A later scene in the film shows a telephone directory page with the address)
5. Steve Buchanan receives his new assignment
He is the latest agent assigned to Mister 880.
6. One of Mister 880's bills
The bills are crudely made and the word "Washington" is mispelled "Wahsington".
to his friends as 'Skipper'. He lives in the attic of an apartment and keeps a dog,
also known as 'Skipper'. Skipper works as a junk dealer.
Skipper carries real bills in one pocket and his fakes in another.
7. Steve and Skipper shopping
Skipper is carring a minature wooden spinning wheel which he plans to sell to his neighbor,
8. Skipper sells Ann the wheel
He asks three dollars for it, she gives him five dollars, and he secretly puts two dollars
into her purse. Unfortunately, the two bills come from the wrong pocket.
will get the money from his rich "Uncle Frank" tomorrow.
9. Skipper sees his Uncle Frank
"Uncle Frank" is a small printing press.
Skipper prints a few bills and hangs them up to dry.
to the Secret Service and identifies her as the woman who gave him the bill.
10. Ann buys a newspaper
Steve checks the bill, and it is bad.
Steve uses a trick to meet Ann and takes her to a bar to get acquainted.
11. Steve and Ann get acquainted
following her because she probably passed a counterfeit bill.
The co-worker tells her that an agent followed him once and then lost interest.
she is involved with counterfeiting by using slang words such as "queer" and "boodle".
12. Steve points on map to where bills were passed
The agents are going to visit Coney Island amusement park because bad bills show up there
every year at that time.
13. Coney Island amusement park
Steve takes Ann and they are accompanied by Skipper and a group of neighborhood boys.
14. Skipper gets change
Steve inadvertently gets one of Skipper's notes and passes it to a carnival worker,
who later turns it in to the Secret Service.
Later the agent tells Steve that the note came from "an old geezer", who "wore the buffaloes off
while counting the nickels".
15. Warning notice - How to identify counterfeit one dollar bill
Skipper tries to pass a note at a change booth but sees a warning notice and leaves.
He sees more notices, then goes home, takes his printing press to the basement,
and buries it, the plates, and most the notes.
16. Skipper sells Ann another antique wheel
Skipper tells Ann that he put two dollar in her purse earlier and she realizes who he is.
that it would be a long prison sentence.
17. Steve interviews boy
The boy tells Steve that a dog dug up some money in the building basement.
18. Steve finds Skipper's special map
Skipper arrives with some dinner items and finds he has company.
19. Steve confronts Skipper
Skipper confesses immediately and is taken to Secret Service headquarters.
Agents want to meet the famous Mister 880.
20. "This is Mister 880?"
Skipper refuses a lawyer and wants to plead guilty.
Ann brings over an attorney friend who Skipper allows to assist him.
There is a short trial and the judge gets ready to pronounce the sentence.
21. Steve approaches the judge
Steve asks the judge for a lighter sentence as Skipper is an old man and a US Navy veteran.
The judge also requires a fine and the judge set it at one dollar.
Skipper pulls out a note, which, of course Steve checks.
22. Steve checks Skipper's note
Burt Lancaster as Steve Buchanan
Dorothy McGuire as Ann Winslow
Edmund Gwenn as William 'Skipper' Miller
Writers: Robert Riskin St. Clair McKelway (article)