DeMille Pictures Corporation
Cast: Richard Walling ("Smoke" Thatcher), Sue Carol (Patsy Schuyler), Robert Edeson (Edgar Thatcher), Jane Keckley (Mrs. Thatcher), Arthur Rankin (Pet Masters), James Bradbury Sr. (Gyp Schwartz), Ivan Lebedeff (Beaut Thibaut)
"Smoke" Thatcher runs with a group of young people who epitomize the Jazz Age with fast cars, bootleg whiskey, all night parties, and a total disregard for parental authority. As the story opens, two carloads of teenagers are racing through the night when one car has a blowout and runs off the road. Fortunately, no one is hurt, but, undeterred, they find an old truck parked on the side of the road and take it. They stop by the local roadhouse, aptly named "Ptomaine Charlie's," where they continue their partying and drinking until a motorcycle cop arrives. The revelers all scatter and head for home.
The next evening, "Smoke" is supposed to pick up his girlfriend, Patsy Schuyler, and take her to a party at a club on the outskirts of town. As he's talking to her, his rival, Pet Masters, arrives at Patsy's house to take her to the party. Patsy tells "Smoke" he has 10 minutes or she's leaving with Pet. When "Smoke" goes to ask for the car, he doesn't realize his father has just gotten a note from the school principal about the three classes he is failing. When "Smoke" is told to go to his room, he rebels and stomps out the door.
Outside, "Smoke" is in a dilemma about what he should do. He knows without a car, Patsy will spend the evening with Pet. The next door neighbor is a close friend, so close, in fact, that "Smoke" calls him "Uncle." The neighbor is out of town, so "Smoke" reasons it is OK to "borrow" his car for the evening and takes it to the club.
At the club he has a confrontation with Pet over Patsy, and when he and Patsy try to leave together, Pet refuses to let her go. "Smoke" and Patsy start to drive from the parking lot, but Pet pulls his car in front of "Smoke's" and refuses to let him pass. "Smoke" rams his car into Pet's, and, thus ensues a wild demolition derby between the two cars as all the other party-goers watch in glee. Finally, "Smoke" pushes Pet's car over on its side, but the car he borrowed is very badly damaged.
In town, "Smoke" and Patsy find a garage run by Gyp Schwartz who is all too familiar with young people and "borrowed" cars. He refuses to work on the car, and "Smoke" is at his wit's end about what to do.
At this point, gangster Beaut Thibeau drives up with two of his hoods in a limousine. Gyp was supposed to get a driver for a "job" they planned that evening but couldn't find one. Gyp suggests "Smoke" as a driver for them, telling Beaut the boy is in trouble and needs money. Without letting on to what he's planning, Beaut flatters "Smoke" into driving him and his two hoods on their "job," and, with Patsy along, as well, they leave.
It turns out that Beaut and his hoods are robbing the bank where "Smoke's" father is working late, and, in a gun battle outside the bank, "Smoke" sees his father shot by one of the hoods.
As he speeds away, "Smoke" becomes angrier and angrier and drives the car wildly through the streets. Although Beaut threatens to shoot him if he doesn't stop, "Smoke" knows he won't do it since that would cause the car to wreck. Then Beaut threatens to shoot Patsy if he doesn't stop, but at that moment, "Smoke" rams the car into the front of the local police station. The hoodlums are captured, and "Smoke" gets an $8,000 reward for the capture of the notorious gangster Beaut Thibeau.
"Smoke" now has enough money to pay for the car, but he still has his father to deal with. At home, his father sits sternly in a chair with his arm in a sling while Patsy tells of "Smoke's" heroism. "Smoke" put his head in his father's lap with tears of remorse. All is forgiven, and the story ends happily.
copyright 2001 by Tim Lussier, all rights reserved
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