A popular high school valedictorian and star athlete becomes a pariah when it's discovered that his father is a former bootlegger.



(screenplay) (as Robert D. Andrews), (story) | 1 more credit »

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Complete credited cast:
Larry Kelly
Tim Kelly
Lucy Gilman ...
Julia Davis
Louise Lorimer ...
Mrs. Kelly
Tommy Wonder ...
Bill Davis
Judge Roger Davis
Mrs. Davis
School Principal (as Huntly Gordon)
Stevens - The Butler
District Attorney Edward Jameson
Jack Kennedy ...
Police Sergeant
Bobby Stone ...


Senior Larry Kelly has been chosen valedictorian and is looking forward with best friend Bill Davis to a West Point appointment. In addition, he is romantically involved with Molly Davis, Bill's sister. Larry's father, Tim 'Knuckles' Kelly, becomes reunited with his wife and son after a long absence. They buy a house in a well-to-do neighborhood next door to the Davis family, but when the local newspaper reveals that Tim is an ex-bootlegger, Judge Davis, a harsh disciplinarian, forbids his children to see Larry. Although many consider Larry a pariah, his closest friends and the principal remain loyal. When Bill accidentally runs over a bicyclist while driving Larry's car and a whiskey bottle is discovered in the back seat, Larry takes the blame for his friend. When the truth comes to light, everyone involved realizes Larry's character and integrity, and the two families become reconciled. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Yesterday CHEERED! Today SHUNNED!







Release Date:

16 November 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

En gangsters son  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


This film received its earliest documented telecasts in New York City Thursday 22 July 1948 on WCBS (Channel 2) and in Los Angeles Wednesday 15 March 1950 on KTSL (Channel 2). See more »


Referenced in Murder, My Sweet (1944) See more »


Stop Beatin' Round the Mulberry Bush
Written by Clay Boland and Bickley Reichner
Danced by The Hollywood Jitterbugs
See more »

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User Reviews

My Old Man Was a Bootlegger
28 March 2011 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Popular small town Andrew Jackson High School senior Jackie Cooper (as Lawrence "Larry" Kelly) is looking forward to attending West Point with best friend Tommy Wonder (as William "Bill" Davis). Mr. Cooper is also romancing his pal's shapely sister Lucy Gilman (as Julie Davis). Things get even better for Cooper when his father returns, after a long absence. However, jovial and wealthy Robert Warwick (as Tim 'Knuckles' Kelly) comes back into town with a secret - he's an ex-gangster!

When a pair of reporters breaks the news, Cooper is ostracized as a "Gangster's Boy"...

This is a mediocre production for Cooper, who could still be impressive in a good role; alas, they were getting fewer and farther between. Cooper does his best, and plays the drums well. Also impressive are some of his young friends. Telling Cooper, "My old man was a bootlegger too," future "East Side Kids" regular Bobby Stone (as Salvatore) makes a swell impression. And, Mr. Wonder is the highlight, in a great dance routine. Today, he'd be break-dancing at Glendale's Hoover High School...

***** Gangster's Boy (11/16/38) William Nigh ~ Jackie Cooper, Tommy Wonder, Robert Warwick, Bobby Stone

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