Anxious to earn extra money to buy Christmas gifts for the children in his tenement building, elderly pensioner Charles Dooley takes a job as a bell-ringing street corner Santa Claus. He is unaware that his "employers" are actually swindlers who keep the funds for themselves, and he does not learn the truth until he goes to collect his pay on Christmas Eve. Desperate to keep from disappointing the children to whom he has promised gifts, he takes the money he has collected and uses it to buy the presents. Captain Braddock and Officer Seidel initially suspect that Dooley may be complicit in the swindle, but they learn the truth when they go to his tenement building to arrest him and find Dooley dressed as Santa Claus and giving much-appreciated gifts to the children and their parents. Captain Braddock realizes that he will be in the unenviable position of arresting "Santa Claus" on Christmas Eve unless he can somehow legitimize Dooley's well-intentioned actions. Written by
This is a Christmas episode of "Racket Squad" and is naturally one with a lot of holiday spirit in spite of the fraud. It's about a man named Dooley (Lloyd Corrigan)--a guy who all the kids in the apartment complex love. It's a shame, as today I think a lot of folks would think nice Mr. Dooley was a creeper--and not the sort of man you'd allow around your children.
It begins with 'Uncle' Dooley inviting the neighbor kids to come into his apartment to play. As they begin talking about the Christmas season, it's apparent most of these kids' families are not well off and they are expecting nothing for Christmas morning. However, Dooley is a nice old guy and backs himself into a corner--promising them a wonderful holiday. But how? Well, Dooley decides to look for a job--one that will help him make the kids' Christmas merry after all. The problem is that the folks who hire him are sleaze-bags (one is played by Jackie Coogan--the child star and Uncle Fester from "The Addams Family" TV show). They pay him to stand on the street dressed as Santa to collect for a charity for underprivileged kids. The problem is that there is no charity! What will happen to Dooley and these sweet kids--especially when Captain Braddock (Reed Hadley) sees the need to arrest him!
This is a very sweet episode that I am sure many curmudgeons and cynics will laugh at because it is old fashioned. However, I thought it was well written and I liked seeing some familiar old Hollywood faces. In addition to Corrigan and Coogan, Willie Best can be seen in the show as well. Well worth your time.
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