Vernon Simpson (Ray Milland) is a baseball lovin' college chemistry teacher, who is working on his doctorate degree. Although he and the university president's daughter, Debby (Jean Peters), are in love, because of his poor financial condition, Vernon has been discouraged by her father (Ray Collins) from asking for her hand in marriage.
Convinced that an experimental serum he has developed is going to be bought by a large corporation, Vernon assures Debbie that it won't be much longer until they can be married; hardly have those words left his mouth when a baseball from the university's game comes sailing through the classroom window, knocking into his experiment, and sending the prized liquid all over the floor. Because of the time involved in recreating the project, Vernon is quite distressed by the loss.
Very much by accident, Vernon discovers that the culprit baseball---now saturated by the spilled liquid---is repelled by wood. After two of the university's baseball players are unable to hit a ball rubbed with the compound, Vernon sees an opportunity to revolutionize the game he loves, join the majors, and earn enough money for him and Debby to get married. Without any explanation to anyone (even Debby) as to what he's up to, Vernon requests a leave of absence from the college, heads off to St. Louis, and barges into the team owner's office.
Claiming he can win 30 games and the pennant, Vernon brags that he's the guy they need. Though the team officials think he's just a crackpot, they give him a chance to pitch, and what they see astounds them. Casually rubbing his finger onto the "stuff" and then onto the ball, Vernon's pitches are unhittable, and he puts away one batter after another. Convinced that they have just discovered their sure ticket to victory, the team immediately offers Vernon a contract.
Wanting to keep his true identity a secret, lest the folks back home find out and he get fired from the university, Vernon adopts the name King Kelly. Together with his catcher, Monk Lanigan (Paul Douglas), the new pitching sensation leads his team to a successful season, all the while trying to remain incognito.
Meanwhile, because of Vernon's hasty, unexplained departure and the fact that he has been out of touch, the university has put out a 5-state search for him, and after Debby's mother happens to see him in the company of five men at the train station, she is convinced he's gotten involved with a bunch of gangsters. It all plays out in a very fun, screwball kind of way.
Not a spectacular film, but definitely very cute and loads of fun..a solid 3 stars. The cast is perfect, and each person plays their part well. I was especially charmed by Ray Milland. Some of his expressions crack me up. Though not an Academy Award winner, the film did receive a Best Writing nomination. Those who enjoy baseball comedies ought to greatly enjoy this.
Out on DVD, It Happens Every Spring ought to be fairly easy to track down. Additionally, it is on the TCM schedule for Sunday, June 30th, at 2:30 p.m. (ET).