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Fledgling entertainers put on a show for Uncle Sam.
Just after "Snap" Collins is released from reform school, he and his pals, Mike Conroy and Steve, smell gas in an apartment in their New York City neighborhood and find Frank Eastman slumped over a kitchen table. After pulling Eastman into the fresh air, the boys find a note addressed to his daughter Patsy. When Patsy arrives, the boys try to cover for the obvious suicide attempt, but she knows what has happened and soon gets the note, which indicates that her father did it to leave her with his life insurance money. The next day, Patsy thanks the boys and reveals that her father is despondent because a wonderful score he wrote and offered to Broadway showman Arthur Cartwright was stolen by Cartwright, who is now producing it. Steve likes one of the tunes that Patsy plays on her harmonica and agrees to help her. The boys then go to the theater in which the show is being rehearsed, and Steve's impromptu dancing so impresses Cartwright that he is offered a job. In the office, Steve tells Cartwright about Eastman's score, but Cartwright pretends to know nothing about it. When his press agent secretly reminds him that Eastman could cause trouble because the score really is his, Cartwright offers Steve a $1,000 check, then calls the district attorney and has the boys arrested. On their way to the police station, taxicab racketeer Pete Detroit is put into the paddy wagon with them, claiming that he, too, has been framed. Soon some of Pete's henchmen ram the paddywagon, and they all escape in one of Pete's taxis. Safely in one of his garages, Pete gives each of the boys $100 and the advice to "get lost." Back in their neighborhood, a friend tells the boys that their pictures are in the paper, so the boys sneak into the basement of a building that had been deserted by some recently arrested Nazi Bund members. After "Eight Ball," the janitor, agrees to let them stay, they go to the Eastman apartment and learn that he also has been charged with extortion, and that Patsy is being taken to a children's home. By creating a diversion, the boys are able to sneak Patsy away to their hideout, where she reluctantly reveals that her father wrote the music in prison and has been on parole. Convinced that if people could hear her father's score before the Broadway show opens, they would recognize his genius, the boys hit on a plan to put on their own show, using neighborhood talent. When Patsy, disguised in blackface, goes with Eight Ball to visit Eastman in prison and get the score, she learns that he has no written copies. The show seems lost until Steve hits upon the idea of utilizing the talents of Mozart Cooper, a little boy who is an accomplished musicologist with perfect pitch. As Patsy plays the score on her harmonica, Mozart transposes it. Meanwhile, Pete, who is the guardian for Murray Saunders, a budding opera singer, learns that the false murder charge against him has been dropped but he is now charged, along with Eastman, with extortion. When he finds the boys's hideout, he confronts them, but they talk him into waiting until after the show opens to turn them in to the police; Pete agrees, on the condition that Murray star in the show. Because Cartwright's opening is now earlier than planned, actually on the same day as theirs, Nick sends some of his henchmen to stop the show. After stealing costumes and the bald lead's wigs, Pete instructs his cab drivers to pick up the departing audience and take them to the kids's show. The anxious audience at first must be subdued by Pete's men, but after the first two numbers, they love the show. When the police, alerted by hundreds of calls about kidnapping, raid the show, the audience denies being kidnapped and wants the performance to go on. Eastman then arrives, after having been bailed out of jail by Pete, and conducts the orchestra for the show's elaborate finale.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||New York opening: 18 Feb 1942|
|Release Date:||1942||Production Date:||
AFI; EB*; UCLA
35mm nitrate print; 4 reels of 4 (ca. 8000 ft.) F46-R20-1; M16369
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Loew's Inc.|
|Sound:||Mono, Mono (Western Electric Sound System)||Production Co:||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.|
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