Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Based on the barnstorming stage play by George W. Peck, Peck's Bad Boy stars Jackie Cooper in the title role. Cooper's discomfort upon discovering that he was adopted by his dad (Thomas Meighan) is doubled when his obnoxious aunt (Dorothy Peterson) and repulsive cousin (Jackie Searl) move in with him. Peterson wants to break up the strong bonds between Meighan and Cooper, hoping that her own son Searl can replace Cooper in Meighan's heart. Don't count on it! As always, Jackie Cooper is given plenty of opportunities to cry; according to producer Sol Lesser, the tears wouldn't flow until Lesser threatened to fire director Eddie Cline, whom Cooper adored (Lesser didn't have any intention of firing Cline, of course, but Cooper didn't figure that out until years later). An earlier Peck's Bad Boy, filmed in 1921, starred Jackie Coogan; the 1938 Peck's Bad Boy With the Circus has very little to do with either of the earlier films.
father, son, adoption, aunt, cousin, step-relative, family