The Law of Contact

Peck's Bad Boy (October 19, 1934)

Jackie Cooper in Peck's Bad Boy
 

Released October 19, 1934: (running time 68 minutes) Henry Peck and his son Bill are not only father and son, but best friends, but when Aunt Lily arrives, Billy's world turns upside down.

Produced by Sol Lesser

Directed by Edward F. Cline

The Actors: Jackie Cooper (Bill Peck), Thomas Meighan (Henry Peck), Jackie Searl (Horace Clay), Dorothy Peterson (Aunt Lily Clay), O.P. Heggie (Duffie), Charles E. Evans (Minister), Gertrude Howard (Martha the maid), Larry Wheat (Master of Ceremonies), Harvey Clark (spectator), Billy Gilbert (unknown), Donald Haines (unknown), Lloyd Ingraham (a father at the father-son banquet), Wilfred Lucas (unknown), Fred Santley, (unknown)

 

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Boys will be Boys, and the Capitol of Oregon is Salem

Some things change as the years pass, and some things do not. When I was a youngster my father showed me a picture of his father standing next to another man. My grandfather was part of a huge Mennonite farming family in Ohio, and he had 20 brothers and sisters. One night as a youngster he watched his younger brother Moses secretly place his shoes outside the back door of the farm house before going to bed. The next morning, his brother and best friend Moses was gone, never to be seen again.

In the late 1800’s when a youngster ran away from home there was no general outcry for help to search for the youngster, and no one thought about organizing a search. There were no milk cartons to put pictures on. Life was much tougher then, and the cocoon of protection that we give to our children the first twenty or more years of their lives didn’t exist in most of rural America. Children became adults at a very young age and if they wanted to go out on their own, they did. Kids ran away from home more often than we might imagine in today’s world. It was just another part of life in early America.

My grandfather grew up, had his family, and as an old man in 1960 he read a newspaper article that mentioned a Moses Berkey in California. Pap contacted the man and then traveled from Ohio to California to meet his long lost brother from so many years ago. I still have a picture of David and Moses, two brothers standing side by side in California, together again after so many years.

In this story Billy and his father are best of friends. They fish together, laugh together and live together in a fine home in the little town of Pleasanton. Life is ‘pleasant’ and wonderful for Billy and his father. At the annual Father and Son Association dinner Billy wins the 1934 award for writing the best essay about his father. Nothing could ever come between this father and this son. Nothing could destroy the love and friendship that this boy and his father enjoyed.

Unfortunately, when Aunt Lily’s husband died, Billy’s father invited Aunt Lily and her son Horace to come and live with them. Some things change as the years pass, and some things do not. The personality clash between family members in this movie from long ago could be happening right now.

We’ve come a long way from the days when this movie was filmed, but people are still much the same. Aunt Lily will do everything she can to make her little boy look like an angel, and make little Billy look like a bad boy. Billy will finally run away from home, and may never return. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

Jacike Cooper
Jacike Cooper
Donald Haines
Donald Haines
Dorothy Peterson and Thomas Meighan
Dorothy Peterson and Thomas Meighan
Dorothy Peterson
Dorothy Peterson
Dorothy Peterson
Dorothy Peterson
Gertrude Howard
Gertrude Howard
Jackie Cooper
Jackie Cooper
Jackie Cooper and Jackie Searl
Jackie Cooper and Jackie Searl
Jackie Cooper, Thomas Meighan and Larry Wheat
Jackie Cooper, Thomas Meighan and Larry Wheat
Jackie Cooper and Thomas Meighan
Jackie Cooper and Thomas Meighan
Jackie Cooper
Jackie Cooper
Jackie Searl and Dorothy Peterson
Jackie Searl and Dorothy Peterson
Jackie Searl
Jackie Searl
Lloyd Ingraham
Lloyd Ingraham
O.P. Heggie
O.P. Heggie
Thomas Meighan and Dorothy Peterson
Thomas Meighan and Dorothy Peterson
Thomas Meighan
Thomas Meighan