Bad Boy (July 10, 1939)

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Johnny Downs in Bad Boy
 

Released on July 10, 1939: John Fraser becomes a gangster to satisfy the demands of his high-maintenance wife, despite the warnings from his mother.

Produced by Richard C. Kahn

Directed by Herbert Meyer

The Actors: Johnny Downs (John Fraser), Rosalind Keith (Madelon Kirby), Helen MacKellar (Mom Fraser), Spencer Williams (Terry, apartment superintendent), Archie Robbins (Steve Carson), Holmes Herbert (Mr. McNeil), Richard Cramer (George), Harry Lang (Vanetti), Crane Whitley (henchman), Clarence Brooks (Terry's friend), Matt Moore (henchman), Bud Pope (police detective), Marguerite Whitten (Terry's girlfriend)

 

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The Bad Boy, His Sainted Mother, His Sexy Wife, and Her Secret Lover

When I got out of college and decided that being a preacher like Dad wasn’t my passion, I got a good job in a steel mill in McDonald, Ohio with the help of my two uncles who worked there all their lives. But soon the steel business turned sour, and still in search of a career that would fulfill me, I got a job selling life insurance for the New York Life company in Youngstown, Ohio, the home office of the legendary life insurance salesman Ben Feldman.

While I was working there, my manager inspired me in ways that I am still realizing. We would often chat in his office - usually he waxed philosophical with stories of his own life and experiences. He was a thinker with an abundance of wisdom, and I loved to listen anytime he wanted to talk.

In those days, much like the days of the Great Depression when this movie was filmed, the economy was bad and times were tough. One of the things that he said in passing stuck with me then, and I still think of it often. While talking about the money problems that people were having, he said, “You know, it isn’t so much the high cost of living that gets us into trouble as it is the cost of living high.”

Johnny Downs plays the part of small-town boy Johnny Fraser, heading to the big city to make a name for himself. His widowed mother has made sure that he had a fine education by sacrificing her own needs, because her son Johnny is more important to her than life itself.

Johnny gets a good job and is doing quite well until he meets sexy and seductive Madelon, played by Rosalind Keith. Madelon is an expert gold-digger and she can spot the gold in Johnny’s future. While Mother watches, Johnny will do whatever it takes to satisfy Madelon’s desire for wealth, even if it means becoming a gangster. Mother, Madelon, and Johnny in a triangle of love and greed that may be the downfall of a good country boy gone bad. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

Helen MacKellar
Helen MacKellar
Rosalind Keith
Rosalind Keith
James 'Archie' Robbins
James 'Archie' Robbins
Archie Robbins and Harry Lang
Archie Robbins and Harry Lang
Archie Robbins and Rosalind Keith
Archie Robbins and Rosalind Keith
Archie Robbins
Archie Robbins
Harry Lang
Harry Lang
Helen MacKellar
Helen MacKellar
Helen MacKellar and Johnny Downs
Helen MacKellar and Johnny Downs
Helen MacKellar and Spencer Williams
Helen MacKellar and Spencer Williams
Helen MacKellar
Helen MacKellar
Holmes Herbert
Holmes Herbert
Johnny Downs
Johnny Downs
Johnny Downs and Richard Cramer
Johnny Downs and Richard Cramer
Johnny Downs
Johnny Downs
Johnny Downs and Helen MacKellar
Johnny Downs and Helen MacKellar
Johnny Downs
Johnny Downs
Richard Cramer and Johnny Downs
Richard Cramer and Johnny Downs
Rosalind Keith and Johnny Downs
Rosalind Keith and Johnny Downs
Rosalind Keith
Rosalind Keith
Spencer Williams
Spencer Williams
Spencer Williams
Spencer Williams