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Mr. Celebrity

Mr. Celebrity(1941)

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Wealthy Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Mason receive a visit from their attorney, Richard Travers, who brings them the good news that after a year of searching, a private detective has spotted their orphaned grandson Danny and his uncle, Jim Kane, at Hollywood Racetrack. Although Mason believes that traveling the racing circuit with Jim may prove a valuable experience for the boy, his wife insists that Danny would be better off with them. At the racetrack, Jim, a veterinarian, is inspecting a horse when his friend Ed shows up to warn him that the Masons have started guardianship proceedings and that Dugan, the private detective, will soon be there with a subpoena. After borrowing money from the stable hand, Joshua, who throws Dugan off their trail, Jim and Danny depart for Hot Springs, Arkansas, to see Jim's old friend Bill Geraghty. When Danny overhears Jim offering to give a gas station owner his engraved stopwatch in exchange for gas, he sadly sells his dog, Spot, to a kind woman in a car and buys the fuel himself. Their fortunes improve in Hot Springs, as Spot rejoins them and Geraghty gives Jim a winning tip on a horse. With Dugan still in pursuit, Jim and Danny head off to visit ex-jockey Johnny Martin, who lives at Celebrity Farm. There, attorney Joe Farrell is explaining to Johnny and a small group of house guests, including silent film stars Francis X. Bushman and Clara Kimball Young and former heavyweight boxing champ Jim Jeffries, that although the late owner of the farm had intended for them to live there forever, he failed to stipulate as much in his will. The heirs to the estate have agreed to let the guests stay on if they will take over responsibility for the upkeep of the farm, and Johnny must pay an old debt or face eviction. When Jim and Danny arrive, they meet Carol Carter, who is living on the farm while writing a book about its famous inhabitants. Johnny then shows Mr. Celebrity, a promising horse with a bad leg, to Jim and confesses that he is destitute. Seeing a way to help Johnny and the other guests, Jim decides to treat Mr. Celebrity and begin entering him in races. Right before Mr. Celebrity's first big race at Churchill Downs, however, Carol makes the mistake of feeding the horse an apple, which gives the animal colic and costs him the race. A disappointed Jim assumes he was wrong about the horse's potential, until Carol admits what happened, and they kiss. When Dugan shows up with a subpoena, Jim seeks legal advice from Farrell, who is eager for a rematch with his old nemesis Travers. Judge Culpepper, a racing enthusiast, postpones the custody hearing until after the Southern Handicap, and Johnny rides Mr. Celebrity to victory after jockey Smokey Saunders is caught accepting a bribe from Dugan. At the hearing, Travers paints a grim picture of Jim's itinerant lifestyle, but Farrell produces Jim's lucrative new contract with a breeders association and announces that Jim and Carol were married that morning. When Judge Culpepper asks Danny with whom he prefers to live, the boy chooses to stay with his uncle and new aunt, and Jim is awarded custody. Danny embraces his uncle as his grandfather warmly signals his approval.