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William A. Wellman
Douglas Fairbanks Jr.,
"Chick" Thompson is a puppet-master in a traveling carnival whose wife dies in childbirth and leaves him with an infant son he names "Poochy." His father-in-law and the baby's grandfather sues him for custody of the baby and Chick takes his son and hides out for a couple of years. He joins his former assistants, Daisy and "Fingers", in a circus act only to find that the persistent grandfather is still on his trail. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Viewed this film online and it was a well made and performed though possibly on a smaller budget than usual and the ending seemed very rushed and put together, since the build up to the climax was more comprehensive and cohesive. Though this was made a year after the 'code' there are still some material that is alluded to premarital sex and getting away with a crime. Here is the storyline: Puppeteer Chick Thompson travels the carnival circuit with his close friends, Daisy and "Fingers" MCoy, a pianist who occasionally dabbles as a pickpocket to benefit his friends. Chick's wife dies during the birth of their son "Poochy," and Daisy, who is attracted to Chick, volunteers to help him raise the child. When the carnival pulls up stakes three weeks later, Mr. Lawson, Chick's father-in-law, who never approved of his daughter's marriage, legally restrains Chick from taking Poochy with him during his travels with the carnival on the grounds that it is not a suitable environment for a child. After abducting the boy from the authorities, Chick and Fingers decide to leave the carnival and hide out with him. Two years later, the carnival announces the appearance of "Doc Crawford's Australian Marionettes," which is actually Chick's new act. Daisy, who is happy to be reunited with Chick, helps shield his identity from a woman from the children's care society, who then mistakes Poochy for the happy child of Daisy and "Doc." Daisy convinces Chick that the only way to stop the authorities' harassment of him would be to find the right kind of mother for Poochy. At the state fair, Chick and Fingers enlist the carnival folk to check out the local midway populace, as Chick still does not realize that Daisy would gladly accept his marriage proposal. Chick falls for Miss Holbrook, a nurse at the baby incubator exhibit, but then discovers that she is already married. Discouraged by Chick's failure to ask her to marry him, Daisy leaves him and the act. At the fair, Chick enters Poochy in a "perfect baby" contest, in hopes that winning the $500 first prize would convince the welfare authorities that he is a good father of a healthy child. Unknown to Chick, Fingers scams the contest, and Poochy's first place finish is short-lived when the judges discover the ruse. About to be jailed, Chick becomes frantic when Poochy disappears. He and Fingers escape from the detectives, and alert the carnies that they are in trouble with screams of "Hey Rube." Chick finds Poochy and hides him in a box in his tent, leaving the child alone as he and Fingers flee from the authorities. In the confusion of the stampeding crowds, the tent is set ablaze. Chick thinks his son has died in the flames, but returns home to find that Poochy was saved by Daisy. When Chick and Fingers are later sentenced to six months in jail, Chick realizes that his child will be lost. He quickly pays two dollars to marry Daisy on the spot, hands her Poochy, then kisses her goodbye to serve his time. Fingers thanks his jailer as he is locked up and confides to cellmate Chick that the key he filched may shorten their stay.
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