free spirit

A clip from the movie Tucker- The man and his dream

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A man, whose dream it was to build a revolutionary new car, on trial. He delivers a magnificent speech on the free enterprise system. About how far a man with an idea can go... about progress. An incredible spirit.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alrDulg_-6Y

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A man, whose dream it was to build a revolutionary new car, on trial. He delivers a magnificent speech on the free enterprise system. About how far a man with an idea can go... about progress. An incredible spirit.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alrDulg_-6Y

That was a pretty good speech, relative to most other movies about business/economics. The line that Franklin would be arrested today for flying a kite without a license was excellent. Whether Tucker himself was a good example of free enterprise, is another question. Wasn't he getting, or trying to get, big government loans?

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Whether Tucker himself was a good example of free enterprise, is another question. Wasn't he getting, or trying to get, big government loans?

No, he was privately raising capital by issuing stock. He was indicted for stock fraud by the SEC on the grounds that he never really intended to manufacture cars. The jury found him innocent.

Here is the account from Wikipedia:

One of Tucker's most innovative business ideas caused trouble for the company, however. His Accessories Program raised funds by selling accessories before the car was even in production. The son of the patent attorney to the Wright Brothers, Harry Aubrey Toulmin, Jr., and the then-chairman of the board of the Tucker Corporation, blew the whistle in a September 26, 1947 letter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In the letter, Toulmin Jr. indicated that he quit "because of the manner in which Preston Tucker is using the funds obtained from the public through sale of stock." He went on to say that President Tucker had ignored persistent requests that the $15 million "be spent and administered under… controls normal to legitimate business." Described as "a tall, dark, delightful, but inexperienced boy," by Toulmin Jr. to news personnel, Toulmin Jr. added that [1] the Tucker 48 machine does not actually run, it just goes "goose-geese" and "I don't know if it can back up."

In reply, Tucker stated that he had asked Toulmin to resign "to make way for a prominent man now active in the automobile industry." The "prominent man" turned out to be Preston Tucker himself.

Tucker's innovative business idea was investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the liberal Democratic United States Attorney Otto Kerner, and led to an indictment of Tucker and six other Tucker Corporation executives for fraud on June 10, 1949.

The trial began on October 4, 1949; coincidentally, Tucker Corporation's factory was shuttered on the very same day. All told 37 Tucker '48s had been built; 13 were later finished from parts stores for a total production of 50 cars (not including the prototype). At trial the government contended that Tucker never intended to produce a car.

A former Tucker employee, engineer Frank Millender Kincaid, agreed with this allegation. He later said that the company never bought production machinery, leading to his suspicion that Tucker never intended to build the car, or at least was so over his head in the project that Tucker could not handle the massive undertaking and simply gave up. This, despite the fact that Tucker had the largest factory building under one roof (the former Chicago Dodge Plant that had been used for manufacture of aircraft engines during the war and leased to Tucker by the US government). The suspicion that the Tucker enterprise was a flimflam sham and headed for inevitable disaster led Mr. Kincaid, by his own statement, to quit the company. Tucker had 50 cars that he called "prototypes", each one hand built. Unlike production vehicles, these cars featured numerous running engineering changes, resulting in many detail differences.

After the Christmas recess, the trial turned in Tucker's favor. It went to the jury on January 22, 1950, and Tucker and the other executives were acquitted on all charges just seventeen hours later. However, Tucker Corporation, now without a factory, was no more.

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I love this movie. A few philosophic flaws, but, in sense-of-life terms, one of my favorites. For 18 years I've had a framed Tucker movie poster on my office wall. Preston Tucker oversees all our operations.

Also, recently ought the soundtrack. I like to listen to "Hold that Tiger" while racing a deadline.

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