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At the Coney Island amusement park, clown Dodo Delwyn entertains the crowds as his young son Dink watches proudly, but then is fired when his teasing goes too far and angers a customer. Dodo and Dink call on Dodo's agent, Danny Daylor, who reproaches Dodo for his recent spate of problems on the job but arranges an audition for that evening. After leaving Danny's office, however, Dodo goes to a bar and drinks until he passes out. Dink fetches his father and takes him to the audition, but the client smells liquor on his breath and walks out. Dink sadly takes his father home and puts him to bed, listening impassively when Dodo vows to quit drinking. The next morning, Dink goes to see agent Benjamin Y. "Goldie" Goldenson and asks him to manage Dodo, as he did in the past. The kind-hearted Goldie reminisces fondly about Dodo's days with the Ziegfeld Follies and gives Dink fifty dollars as an "advance." Dodo rejects the money as charity, but when he indignantly phones the agency, Goldie's associate, Joe Hoagley, who overheard his conversation with Dink, tells Dodo he has a booking that evening at a convention at the Ritz Plaza. In high spirits, Dodo and Dink go to a pawn shop, where Dodo retrieves both his tuxedo and his most prized possession, an engraved watch given to him by Ziegfeld. Dodo gives the watch to Dink, who is overwhelmed by the gift. That evening, Goldie is unpleasantly surprised when Dodo shows up for work and tries in vain to dissuade him from going on in the thankless stooge role. Goldie takes Dink to the hotel's soda fountain, where they encounter Paula Henderson, who is attending the convention with her husband Ralph, a successful businessman. Later, while Dodo is being humiliated onstage in the comic sketch, he and Paula spot each other. At Paula's request, Ralph goes backstage to see Dodo, who confirms that Dink is the son Paula has not seen since her divorce from Dodo years before. When Ralph gives him two hundred dollars, Dodo reluctantly agrees to let Dink visit the Hendersons briefly in their suite. Dodo sends the boy up with no explanation, and when Paula tells Dink she is his mother, he is surprised but unmoved. Dodo then takes Dink to an all-night dice game, where he loses all his money and the watch, which he removes from his sleeping son. Later that morning, Ralph calls on Dodo and asks him to let Dink live with them for a while, but Dodo refuses. When Dink wakes up, he discovers the watch is missing, but Dodo promises to get it back. Desperate for money, Dodo agrees to entertain at a stag party for the shady Little Julie, but the party is raided by the police. After Goldie bails him out, Dodo says he has decided to give Dink to Paula. Dodo tells Dink he does not want him anymore, and strikes the boy when he tearfully objects. The crestfallen Dink leaves with Goldie, and Dodo weeps with anger at himself for having hit his son. Despite the Hendersons' kindness, Dink is miserable in their luxurious home, and one night he runs away. Goldie has just offered Dodo a shot at his own television series when Dink walks in, and father and son are happily reunited. The Dodo Delwyn Show goes into production, and one day Dodo has a dizzy spell during rehearsals. On the night of the first broadcast, Paula and Ralph are in the audience, and the show is going well until Dodo collapses offstage. Goldie and Dink beg Dodo not to go on with the show, but Dodo, determined to make his son proud, insists on performing the final sketch. Dodo finishes the show but collapses afterwards and dies in his dressing room. When Ralph and Paula come in, the grief-stricken Dink calls Paula "mother" for the first time, and the boy goes home with his new family.