The First Baby


1h 15m 1936

Brief Synopsis

By the time daughter (Deane) and son-in-low (Downs) have their second child the mother-in-law (Gateson) learns not to be so domineering.

Film Details

Release Date
May 15, 1936
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,060ft (8 reels)

Synopsis

Johnny Ellis, a clerk at an auto loan and finance corporation, who lives with his working-class parents and seven siblings, continually bickers with his sweetheart, Trudy Wells, because she feels that she has to keep their romance hidden from her socially-conscious mother Ella. At a skating rink in their town of New Rochelle, Johnny and Trudy make up after a spat, and she accepts his proposal. Despite Ella's protests, the couple marry and celebrate at the Wells home, where Johnny's father Henry and Trudy's father Arthur try to slip away for a drink while Johnny's friend from the office, Maud Holbrook, who aspires to be a "hoofer," upsets Ella by giving Johnny a passionate kiss to congratulate him. On their honeymoon, the quarrels begin anew as Trudy reveals that she promised her mother they would live at the Wells home. Johnny refuses, arguing that marriages are broken up from parental meddling, but he reconsiders after he leaves Trudy crying and agrees to try. Trudy's announcement that she is pregnant provokes an anxious Johnny to try to book a hospital room eight months early. When the baby arrives, his unthinking remark that his son is "funny-looking" upsets Trudy. Six months later, Ella's meddling insistence that "modern methods" be employed in child rearing irritates Johnny, and when the baby accidentally swallows a toy football, Ella's reprimand drives Johnny away for the night. When he returns and tells Arthur that he and Trudy are leaving, Arthur, sympathetic to his plight, lends Johnny money for an apartment and suggests that he surprise Trudy with it as a present for her upcoming birthday. However, on Trudy's birthday, when Ella learns about the move, she feigns a faint, and Trudy refuses to leave. Johnny goes alone to the apartment, where his friends have arranged a surprise party for Trudy, and tells them that Trudy is sick. After all the guests but Maud, whom some wags got drunk as a practical joke, have left, Trudy, who has finally decided to leave her mother, arrives. However, when she sees Maud passed out in the bedroom, she leaves and agrees to go on a trip with her mother. Johnny, now back with his parents, turns to drink when his calls to Trudy are not put through, but his mother sobers him up and convinces him to stand up to Ella. As Trudy and Ella shop for their trip, Johnny arrives at the Wells home and demands that Arthur allow him to take his son to the park. After the baby gets soaked in a rain storm, Johnny takes him to his own house, where, during the next three days, the two families live together as the baby battles for his life against a fever. Ella blames Johnny and Trudy refuses to see him, but the doctor counsels Trudy that marriage and having a baby demand unselfishness. When the baby revives, Trudy embraces Johnny and announces to the group that she forgot that the only thing that really mattered was her baby and husband. She rebukes her mother, and Arthur tells Ella to "shut up." Soon, in their aparment, Trudy tells an excited Johnny that she is pregnant again.

Cast

Johnny Downs

Johnny Ellis

Shirley Deane

Trudy Wells

Dixie Dunbar

Maud Holbrook

Jane Darwell

Mrs. Ellis

Marjorie Gateson

Mrs. [Ella] Wells

Gene Lockhart

Mr. [Henry] Ellis

Taylor Holmes

Mr. [Arthur] Wells

Willard Robertson

Doctor Clarke

Hattie Mcdaniel

Dora

Carmencita Johnson

Ellis child

Charles Flickinger

Ellis child

Dickie Jones

Ellis child

Mary Joan Felt

Ellis child

Doris Schaffer

Ellis child

George Callanan

Ellis child

Jack Brinker

Ellis child

Carol Holloway

Nurse

Jean Houghton

Nurse

Laura Treadwell

Nurse

Dorothy Phillips

Nurse

Myra Marsh

Nurse

Clay Clement

Obstetrician

Donald Arthur Secor

First baby, ten days old

Sandra Stone

First baby, nine months old

Madeline Holmes

Guest at wedding

Gloria Roy

Guest at wedding

Ella Mckenzie

Guest at wedding

Bryant Washburn Jr.

Guest at wedding

Richard Carpenter

Guest at wedding

Charles E. Evans

Guest at wedding

Cyril Ring

Guest at wedding

Richard Charney

Guest at wedding

Newton House

Guest at wedding

Landers Stevens

Minister

Tina Marshall

Old maid

Grace Goodall

Friend of the family

Brenda Fowler

Friend of the family

Grace Hale

Effusive woman

Wallis Clark

Williams

Harrison Greene

Bill

Jack Norton

Drunk

Emmett Vogan

Father in park

Niles Welch

Father in park

Richard Powell

Father in park

Ralph M. Remley

Father in park

Billy Gilbert

Italian in park

William Wayne

Rollerdrome attendant

David Newell

Rollerdrome attendant

George Magrill

Rollerdrome attendant

Marion Warner

Rollerdrome attendant

Lester Montgomery

Rollerdrome attendant

Edwin Mcbeth

Rollerdrome attendant

Ward Bond

Tough guy

Esther Muir

Tough guy's girl

Pat O'malley

Policeman

Film Details

Release Date
May 15, 1936
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,060ft (8 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to an unidentified news item dated June 1934 in the M-G-M story department card file at the AFI Library, Lamar Trotti and Dudley Nichols wrote an original story with this title, which was to be directed by James Tinling and to star James Dunn and Claire Trevor. No information has been located to determine if that story was the one produced in 1936. Motion Picture Herald noted that this film was the second in a series of American family pictures to be produced by Twentieth Century-Fox, the first of which was Every Saturday Night. However, that film was the first in the "Jones Family" series, of which The First Baby was not a part. This was Shirley Deane's first leading role. According to Hollywood Reporter, she and Johnny Downs were borrowed from Paramount. Sara Haden is listed as a cast member in the Hollywood Reporter production charts for this film; her participation in the final film has not been confirmed.