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[[quoteright:350:https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lost_in_yonkers_1454093018005.jpeg]]


* SecretUndergroundPassage: Louie reveals a tunnel that he and Bella dug from the basement to the surface outside, an escape tunnel to escape from Grandma. She found out about it and smacked Louie upside the head (but, strangely, didn't fill in the tunnel).


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* SecretUndergroundPassage: Louie reveals a tunnel that he and Bella dug from the basement to the surface outside, an escape tunnel to escape from Grandma. She found out about it and smacked Louie upside the head (but, strangely, didn't fill in the tunnel).

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* BriefcaseFullOfMoney: The black valise that Louie is constantly toting around and is ''very'' protective of--although the audience never actually sees the money.


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* DeathOfAChild: Eventually it's revealed that the deaths of two children young, and especially her son Aaron, is what caused Grandma to shut herself off emotionally from the world and the rest of her family.


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* AdaptationalAlternateEnding: The play ends with Bella having asserted herself to the extent that she tells Grandma she's going out with friends. The movie has that scene but also adds a further ending in which Bella actually moves away.


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* OffIntoTheDistanceEnding: Ends with Bella walking off down the street, as a VoiceoverLetter reveals that she has left Grandma and Yonkers and gotten a job in Florida.

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* SecretUndergroundPassage: Louie reveals a tunnel that he and Bella dug from the basement to the surface outside, an escape tunnel to escape from Grandma. She found out about it and smacked Louie upside the head (but, strangely, didn't fill in the tunnel).

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* ShoutOut: After Louie's dramatic entrance, Arty says "He's incredible. It's like having a Creator/JamesCagney movie in your own house."


The action is set in 1942, and the action follows Jay and Artie Kurnitz, brothers aged 15 and 13 respectively. Their father Eddie is a recent widower, his wife Evelyn having died three months earlier after a battle with cancer. If that weren't bad enough, Eddie ran up $9000 in debts in 1942 money to pay his wife's medical bills, and he's in debt to a loan shark.

Needing to make money and make it quick, Eddie comes up with a plan to be a traveling salesman selling scrap iron to the military, [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII the war]] having created a sudden demand. He needs to find a place for the kids to stay, so he leaves them with his mother in Yonkers. Grandma Kurnitz is a mean, vicious old lady. In fact, she initially refuses to take Jay and Artie in, only relenting when the boys' Aunt Bella insists that they stay or she will leave. Aunt Bella is a thirty-ish woman who is very flighty and seems to have some sort of minor learning disability and cognitive impairment; she is relentlessly browbeaten and emotionally abused by her mother. Aunt Bella's quest for independence is a major theme. The situation is further disturbed by the sudden appearance of Uncle Louie, a jovial fellow who also happens to be a bagman for the mob.

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The action is set in 1942, and the action follows Jay and Artie Arty Kurnitz, brothers aged 15 and 13 respectively. Their father Eddie is a recent widower, his wife Evelyn having died three months earlier after a battle with cancer. If that weren't bad enough, Eddie ran up $9000 in debts in 1942 money to pay his wife's medical bills, and he's in debt to a loan shark.

Needing to make money and make it quick, Eddie comes up with a plan to be a traveling salesman selling scrap iron to the military, [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII the war]] having created a sudden demand. He needs to find a place for the kids to stay, so he leaves them with his mother in Yonkers. Grandma Kurnitz is a mean, vicious old lady. In fact, she initially refuses to take Jay and Artie Arty in, only relenting when the boys' Aunt Bella insists that they stay or she will leave. Aunt Bella is a thirty-ish 35-year-old woman who is very flighty and seems to have some sort of minor learning disability and cognitive impairment; she is relentlessly browbeaten and emotionally abused by her mother. Aunt Bella's quest for independence is a major theme. The situation is further disturbed by the sudden appearance of Uncle Louie, a jovial fellow who also happens to be a bagman for the mob.



* AbusiveParents: Grandma was this. Louie tells a rueful anecdote about how Grandma once locked him in a closet for three hours for breaking a dish. Grandma is constantly mean and verbally abusive to poor Aunt Bella.
* CloudCuckoolander: Bella is a madcap free spirit. This is a coping mechanism to deal with emotional abuse from Grandma.
* GraveMarkingScene: Bella takes Jay and Artie to the graveyard to visit her father (died in 1906 before Bella was born), and two of her siblings that died in childhood. The boys are weirded out when Bella makes them wish happy birthday to her brother who died in 1908 at the age of eight. Bella says that Grandma, who thinks emotion is weakness, never comes.
* InsistentAppellation: Jay's birth name is Jacob. Grandma insists on calling him only Jacob (pronounced "Yakov").

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* AbusiveParents: Grandma was this. Louie tells a rueful anecdote about how Grandma once locked him in a closet for three hours for breaking a dish. She whacked her children with her cane; Jay attributes Bella's mild mental disability to this. Grandma is constantly mean and verbally abusive to poor Aunt Bella.
Bella as well.
* CloudCuckoolander: Bella is a madcap free spirit. This is a coping mechanism to deal with emotional abuse from Grandma.
Grandma. Near the end Bella writes a postcard to Eddie saying "I just want to tell you that Arty and Jay are all right and I have good news for you except I don't have no more room. Love, Bella."
* GraveMarkingScene: Bella takes Jay and Artie Arty to the graveyard to visit her father (died in 1906 before Bella was born), and two of her siblings that died in childhood. The boys are weirded out when Bella makes them wish happy birthday to her brother who died in 1908 at the age of eight. Bella says that Grandma, who thinks emotion is weakness, never comes.
* ImmigrantPatriotism: As Eddie is explaining to his sons why he has to go away, he starts talking about the war, and says "Let me tell you something. I love this country. Because they took in the Jews. They took in the Irish, the Italians, and everyone else."
* InsistentAppellation: Jay's birth name is Jacob. Yakob. Grandma insists on calling him only Jacob (pronounced "Yakov").Yakob. Similarly, Arty is only "Arthur".



* NaiveNewcomer: Jay being a little bit older than Arty means that he better remembers their past visits to Grandma, and knows more about the family history, which allows him to give Arty and the audience some exposition in the first scene about Bella, Louie, and Grandma.



* {{Narrator}}: In the film Jay narrates much of the action.

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* {{Narrator}}: In the film Jay narrates much of the action.action.
* ShoutOut: Bella goes to see ''Film/NowVoyager''.

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* MenDontCry: Grandma tells her grandsons that "boys of ten shouldn't cry" and goes into a list of seemingly heart-wrenching circumstances which apparently did not move her, claiming to be "made of steel".
* OrAreYouJustHappyToSeeMe: Uncle Louie keeps a gun in his pocket. He says that the ladies think it's something else when they dance real close.

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''Lost in Yonkers'' is a 1991 play by Creator/NeilSimon.

The action is set in 1942, and the action follows Jay and Artie Kurnitz, brothers aged 15 and 13 respectively. Their father Eddie is a recent widower, his wife Evelyn having died three months earlier after a battle with cancer. If that weren't bad enough, Eddie ran up $9000 in debts in 1942 money to pay his wife's medical bills, and he's in debt to a loan shark.

Needing to make money and make it quick, Eddie comes up with a plan to be a traveling salesman selling scrap iron to the military, [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII the war]] having created a sudden demand. He needs to find a place for the kids to stay, so he leaves them with his mother in Yonkers. Grandma Kurnitz is a mean, vicious old lady. In fact, she initially refuses to take Jay and Artie in, only relenting when the boys' Aunt Bella insists that they stay or she will leave. Aunt Bella is a thirty-ish woman who is very flighty and seems to have some sort of minor learning disability and cognitive impairment; she is relentlessly browbeaten and emotionally abused by her mother. Aunt Bella's quest for independence is a major theme. The situation is further disturbed by the sudden appearance of Uncle Louie, a jovial fellow who also happens to be a bagman for the mob.

The original play starred Mercedes Ruehl as Aunt Bella, Irene Worth as Grandma, and Creator/KevinSpacey as Louie. In 1993 it was adapted into a film directed by Martha Coolidge, with Neil Simon adapting his own play for the screen. The film featured Ruehl and Worth reprising their roles, with Creator/RichardDreyfuss appearing as Louie and Creator/DavidStrathairn playing Johnny, Bella's boyfriend.

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!!Tropes:

* AbusiveParents: Grandma was this. Louie tells a rueful anecdote about how Grandma once locked him in a closet for three hours for breaking a dish. Grandma is constantly mean and verbally abusive to poor Aunt Bella.
* CloudCuckoolander: Bella is a madcap free spirit. This is a coping mechanism to deal with emotional abuse from Grandma.
* GraveMarkingScene: Bella takes Jay and Artie to the graveyard to visit her father (died in 1906 before Bella was born), and two of her siblings that died in childhood. The boys are weirded out when Bella makes them wish happy birthday to her brother who died in 1908 at the age of eight. Bella says that Grandma, who thinks emotion is weakness, never comes.
* InsistentAppellation: Jay's birth name is Jacob. Grandma insists on calling him only Jacob (pronounced "Yakov").
* LackOfEmpathy: Grandma regards emotion as a weakness and thinks the best thing for children is to make them learn to be "hard". She shows no sympathy or affection for anyone. She nearly turns away her grandchildren before Bella forces her to let them stay.
* VoiceoverLetter: Occasionally Eddie's letters from the road are read in voicever, providing comic relief as Eddie the New York Jew struggles to deal with the culture shock of the American South.

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!!Tropes unique to the film:

* AdaptationExpansion:
** The film gives more material to Uncle Louie, probably to give major star Richard Dreyfuss more to do.
** The character of Johnny, theater usher and Bella's beau, isn't seen in the play. In the movie he is played by Creator/DavidStrathairn.
* FeetFirstIntroduction: For two different characters.
** First there's Bella's white shoes skipping down the sidewalk, establishing her as a free spirit.
** Then there's Grandma's heavy clodhopper shoes, accompanied by the thump of a cane and ominous music, establishing her as scary.
* {{Narrator}}: In the film Jay narrates much of the action.

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