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Gangster's Boy (1938)

Not Rated | | Drama | 16 November 1938 (USA)
A popular high school valedictorian and star athlete becomes a pariah when it's discovered that his father is a former bootlegger.


William Nigh


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

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Complete credited cast:
Jackie Cooper ... Larry Kelly
Robert Warwick ... Tim Kelly
Lucy Gilman Lucy Gilman ... Julia Davis
Louise Lorimer ... Mrs. Kelly
Tommy Wonder Tommy Wonder ... Bill Davis
Selmer Jackson ... Judge Roger Davis
Betty Blythe ... Mrs. Davis
Huntley Gordon ... School Principal (as Huntly Gordon)
Herbert Evans ... Stevens - The Butler
William Gould ... District Attorney Edward Jameson
Jack Kennedy Jack Kennedy ... Police Sergeant
Bobby Stone Bobby Stone ... Salvatore


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!




Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

16 November 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

En gangsters son See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Monogram Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The name of this film appears on the movie marquee in the first nighttime montage shot of Murder, My Sweet (1944). 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 wes-connorsSee 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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