Produced by Lindsley Parsons
Directed by Howard Bretherton
Available on VHS from Hollywood's Attic
Darro . . . . . . . . . .
. . Danny Murphy
Evalyn Knapp . . . . . . . . . . . . Kathleen Murphy
Robert Kent . . . . . . . . . . . . . Policeman Mike O'Leary
Matty Fain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Walter Williams
Lillian Elliott . . . . . . . . . . . . Mrs. Murphy
Don Rowan . . . . . . . . . . . . . Owens
Joe A. Devlin . . . . . . . . . . . . Miller (???)
Thelma White . . . . . . . . . . . Lillian Williams
Sam Bernard . . . . . . . . . . . . Stinger
Mauritz Hugo . . . . . . . . . . . . Marty
Willy Castello . . . . . . . . . . . Russo
Walter Merrill . . . . . . . . . . . Trigger
Ralph Peters . . . . . . . . . . . . Jess
This is a perfect example of the "boy enthusiasm" films Frankie became famous for in the late thirties and early forties. It is the first film he made for Monogram under the direction of Howard Bretherton, who would go on to direct Frankie in many of his Monogram films, including Tough Kid, Boys' Reformatory and On the Spot.
The plot revolves around Danny Murphy, a young man who has just graduated from high school and has aspirations of playing professional baseball. He lives at home with his mother and older sister, Kathleen. Kathleen and Danny trade barbs, mostly because Kathleen has been holding off marrying her policeman boyfriend, Mike O'Leary, to stay home to provide what meager earnings she can for the family until Danny gets out into the job world and starts supporting their mother instead. But so far Danny hasn't shown much interest in finding employment.
But one morning, after arguing with his sister and talking to his mother, Danny feels a pang of guilt and sets out with the classified ads to find a job. He ends up at Owens Garage, where countless boys have applied but not the one they want. Enter Danny, who impresses them with his eagerness and indication he doesn't mind driving fast. Owens hires him at the behest of Williams, who says the kid is "ripe for pickin'" and will be useful in their business.
Danny starts to work at the garage, where he is a model employee, hard-working and eager. Williams' wife, Lillian, even feels sorry for the kid, who still doesn't know what he's gotten himself into. The garage is actually running a stolen car racket which is in competition with another stolen car racket run by a man named Russo. Williams has repeatedly encroached on Russo's territory and it seems inevitable the two groups should have it out at some point. Despite warnings from his colleagues, Williams tells Danny to deliver a roadster across the state line . . . and into part of Russo's territory.
Tipped off by a man working at William's garage, Russo has Danny intercepted and brought to his garage, where his thugs give Danny a warning to take back to Williams. When Danny realizes he's been suckered into doing something illegal, he tells them he'll rat them all out. They detain Danny until Russo decides what to do with him, but by a clever ruse Danny escapes and attempts to hitchhike, but failing that begins the long walk back home. Russo calls Williams and tells him that Danny is wise to him and likely to expose all of them, suggesting he take care of the problem.
Williams and his men find Danny as he's walking home and make it clear to him that there'll be no backing out of working for them now. He forces Danny to take some money and tells him to be at the garage at eight o'clock that night. Danny's realizes he's gotten himself into some real trouble. At home, his mother is cooking steak for him while his sister waits for Mike to arrive. The landlord shows up asking for $20 back rent, which they don't have. Danny uses some of the money Williams gave him to pay the rent. Danny says he isn't hungry for dinner and tells them he's going to play baseball.
Mike and Kathleen drive by the ball park where night baseball is held and see it is closed. Kathleen wonders where Danny could be, but then tells Mike that since Danny's working she's going to quit her job so they can finally get married. At Owen's Garage, Williams is angry that Russo hijacked his car. One of Williams' hot car buyers named Miller suggests Williams works with Russo and Russo seems to agree, agreeing to let Miller set up a meeting. But Williams plans a surprise for Russo instead. At Russo's garage, Williams' has Danny, who is driving, stop so Stinger can get out to set the building on fire, but Russo is waiting in a car across the street, having expected a double cross, and has his men open fire, hitting Stinger in the arm. Stinger manages to get back into Williams' car and it takes off with Russo's men in hot pursuit.
The car chase continues out into the country where Danny sees a bridge out sign and manages to swerve in time. Russo's car is not so lucky and drives over the edge, rolling down the hill and catching on fire, killing everyone inside. Williams' gang goes back to the garage where Stinger cries he's badly hurt. Williams' has no sympathy for Stinger and instead brags about how they'll be big-shots without Russo's competition. Fed up, Danny tells them all off and says he's through before storming out. Williams' insists that Danny's just a little upset and will be back again.
The next morning, Kathleen is reading about the "accident" in the newspaper at the breakfast table. Upset, Danny goes to his room. Williams' gang gets him worried that Danny might yet squeal, so Williams sends Marty and Stinger to go pick him up. Danny's mother checks on him and deduces he must be sick, so she says he should stay home from work, telling him to go rest on the couch while she fixes his bed up. As she's getting out his pajamas she finds the money Williams' gave Danny and realizes something is going on. She confronts him and Danny breaks down and tells her everything that has happened. She is crushed, and tells him there is nothing worse they can do than what they've already done.
Stinger and Marty show up and ring their doorbell, so Danny's mother calls the police station and asks that Mike O'Leary come to their house as quickly as possible. She then invites the two thugs in and stalls for time, asking them to have some coffee as Danny finishes his. Mike shows up just as the men are insisting Danny come to work with them. Danny's mother tips him off that there's trouble and Mike insists Danny is sick and should go to bed. The thugs leave and she tells Mike what is happening. Mike talks to Danny and Danny pleads him to let him go to the garage and then call in a tip to let him know where Mike can catch the crooks red-handed. Danny's mother doesn't want him to do this but Mike agrees it may be the only thing that will work.
Danny goes in to work and finds out about Williams' plan to collect $10,000 from Miller to tide him over while he's laying low. Williams makes plans to pick up the money at eight o'clock. Danny slips out to call Mike, only he is overheard on the extension by Williams. Williams calls Miller and changes the meeting place, then tells Stinger to take care of Danny. Stinger tells Danny they're going first and will meet the others later. Danny drives and Stinger sits in the back. When Stinger tells Danny how to go, Danny realizes they are not going to the meeting place and that Stinger is going to kill him. Thinking quickly, Danny starts driving like a maniac, freaking out Stinger so much that he pleads for Danny to stop, finally spilling the location of the new meeting.
Danny crashes the car at the location of the original meeting and runs from the car, calling for Mike and the police to hurry. Stinger manages to shoot Danny in the arm before the police can shoot him. Danny tells Mike where the meeting will be and hurries to another car, driving Mike and a couple of officers there while other policemen follow. The police arrive in time to catch the gang and Miller, but Williams tries to escape, shooting Owens and then coming across Danny, who has collapsed next to the car. Williams is about to shoot Danny when the police shoot Williams. Mike runs to Danny's side.
At home later, Danny is resting on the couch, his arm in a sling. He asks if he can get up and his mother says no. Mike and Kathleen enter, Kathleen holding the paper. Danny asks how the Giants are doing and Kathleen takes great pains to remove one section from the paper. Danny asks if she's removing the sports section and she says, "No. I'm taking out the want ads!"
This is the first film in which the wonderful Lillian Elliott would play Frankie's Irish mother. She would do so again in most of the upcoming Monogram films with Frankie directed by Howard Bretherton.
Publicity booklet from Monogram - excerpts below: