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Butch Minds the Baby

Butch Minds the Baby(1942)

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After serving a ten-year sentence in Sing Sing, safecracker Aloysius "Butch" Grogan is thrown a "coming-out" party by his gangster friends Harry the Horse, "Squinty" Sweeny and Jack the Beefer. His friends are dismayed to learn, however, that Butch has decided to go straight, as he is a "three-time loser" who, according to the Baumes Law, would be sentenced to life in prison if convicted a fourth time. Later, Butch's self-appointed parole officer, policeman Dennis Devlin, demands that the ex-convict get an honest job, so Butch becomes a janitor in a tenement apartment building. He soon becomes friends with one of his building's tenants, widow Susie O'Neill. After the unemployed young mother attempts suicide, Butch gets Susie a job as a cigarette girl in a café owned by his old friend, Brandy Smith, much to the chagrin of Dennis, who has fallen in love with Susie. As Susie works nights, Butch agrees to take care of her infant son Michael Terence, and the ex-convict soon becomes emotionally attached to the young boy. Brandy, along with his henchmen, Squinty and Harry, asks Butch to crack a safe that holds a check that might implicate Brandy for income tax evasion. Butch refuses at first, then agrees to do the job when he learns that Dennis, who has been suspended from the police force, is involved in the conspiracy. It is the safecracker's intention, however, to botch the job in such a way as to force Dennis to make an arrest, and thus, be reinstated. Butch tells Brandy that, as payment for his participation in the crime, the café owner must agree to name baby Michael the $5,000 college scholarship winner in his annual Easter Walk Baby contest. Matters become further complicated the night of the crime when Butch is unable to find anyone to baby-sit for Michael, so he takes the baby with him. Butch then intentionally overloads the explosive charge, opens the safe, and makes his escape with both the check and Michael. Harry and Squinty are captured by the police, however, as the wounded Dennis had been working as an undercover agent all along. The next day, Butch agrees to give Brandy the check after Michael is awarded the scholarship, but the gangster double-crosses him. Dennis, however, grabs the check, and Brandy is immediately arrested. Unfortunately, Butch is arrested as well, but the district attorney, realizing Butch's true intentions, agrees to let the safe cracker award the $5,000 prize to Michael before he is taken away. After Butch's departure, the district attorney consoles Susie and hints that the ex-convict will be treated with leniency.