Cast & Crew
Warden Clark brings his friend, band leader Jack Conrad, to listen to a prison band and urges him to help Ray Farraro, who has been incarcerated for a single minor crime, and will be released in a week. Ray, a former vaudeville dancer, has been using his time to hone his talent as a saxophonist, and Jack agrees to help him when he gets out. Convinced by both Clark and Ray of Ray's desire to go "straight," Conrad hires the ex-convict to play in his band, changes Ray's last name to Angelo and urges him to say that he has been in Cuba, rather than prison. Later, Ray is introduced to band singer/dancer Jean Loring when she meets Jack at his apartment. When the band prepares to leave for a cross-country tour in their custom-designed bus, singer Lil Davis' fiancé, Clem Walters, an umbrella manufacturer from South Bend, proposes that they marry immediately. Lil runs from the altar, however, and boards the tour bus when she learns that Clem will not let her work after they marry. Clem then hails a taxi and orders the driver, Pete, to follow the bus. With the bus underway, dancer Ted Webb has a drink, breaking his promise of sobriety to Jack, and gets jealous when he sees Ray and Jean playing cards together. At the band's first engagement in Pittsburgh, Ted is too drunk to perform with Jean, so at Jean's urging, Jack replaces him with Ray. Impressed by Ray's performance, Jack fires Ted, and makes Ray Jean's partner. As the tour continues, Ray and Jean fall in love, while at every stop, Clem tries to reunite with Lil. Later, in St. Louis, Ray is recognized by Joe Harris, a former inmate, who meets him at the stage door. Joe has overheard the theater manager discussing the fact that the band earned $3,000 and now suggests robbing the safe in the band's bus. Ray refuses and warns Joe not to bother the band. Later, when the bus is broken into, $2,900 is discovered missing, and the bus attendant Henry has been knocked unconscious, bound and gagged. Ray immediately locates Joe at his hotel, and during ensuing fistfight, Joe is knocked unconscious on the fire escape. The hotel manager hears the fight and brings a policeman, but as Joe has revived and escaped, Ray is arrested as the thief, and is only released after Jack vouches for him. Neither the band members nor Jack now trust Ray, however, so Ray plans to leave the tour at their next stop. Ray confides his situation to Jean and she asks to go with him, unaware of his checkered past. Ray, embittered, rejects her offer and is about to tell her the truth about himself when the bus gets a flat tire. While the bus is pulled to the side of the road to repair the tire, gangster Tex [Chesty] Burrage and his gang--Dude Williams, Schoolboy Rowe, Turk Connors and Tex's moll, Sunny Verne--pull alongside. Ray immediately recognizes the gangsters as the notorious Burrage gang. The hungry gangsters rob the bus of the band's food, and then Burrage decides to kidnap the band for his own amusement, as he is bored at their farm hideout. Turk recognizes Ray, and Jean is dismayed to learn of his disreputable past. When Clem and the taxi driver knock on the door, they too are taken hostage. To get friendly with the gang, Ray pretends that he has been "hiding out" with the band, and dissuades Burrage from flirting with Jean by asking her to dance. The next day, police instigate a dragnet to locate the missing musicians. When Burrage hears about the dragnet on the radio, he plans to escape and accepts Ray's plan that they ride in the bus as if they were part of the band. When the police pull the bus over, Jack tells them that they simply got lost, missed their Kansas City engagement, and are now headed to Omaha. The police escort the bus to the countyline, after which Burrage and his gang hijack a car. Ray joins the gang, and after hearing another report that the police are searching for the car, suggests that they follow the bus to Omaha. When they reach the city, Ray purposely runs a stop light and narrowly avoids an accident. When he is pursued by the police, Burrage tries to take the wheel, and Ray crashes the car and runs to a police station, but is shot in the back by Burrage. The entire gang is then killed by the police in a gunfight. Later, while recording a radio program, Conrad hails Ray as the "chap who engineered the capture of the Burrage gang." In his hospital room, with newlyweds Clem and Lil, Ray listens to the broadcast, and kisses Jean.
Charles E. Arnt
Robert E. O'connor
Adele Cutler Jerome
William Slavens Mcnutt
If he doesn't show up, I'll break his neck. And if he does show up, I'll kill him!- Lil Davis
According to Paramount Produced Properties, this film was originally based on a story by Vera Caspary called "One Night Stand," which was also the film's working title. Paramount apparently discarded Caspary's story in favor of Leon Gordon's original story. Hollywood Reporter news items include Harold Huber, Polly Walters and Roscoe Karns in the cast, but they did not appear in the final film. The file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection contained at the AMPAS Library reveals that New York State censors objected to the film's kidnapping scene and the gunfight, even after the PCA pointed out that the film was a comedy. The New York censors subsequently deleted shots of gangsters holding guns during the kidnapping sequence, and eliminated "all distinct views of gangsters deliberately firing at police."