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In the late 1880's, the veteran "song and dance" team of Lulu and Ted Hackett enjoy modest success on the East Coast vaudeville circuit. Although hurt and angered by Ted's chronic philandering, Lulu maintains her marital devotion and does her best to rear their son, Ted, Jr., while constantly touring. Soon the Two Hacketts become the Three Hacketts, and little Ted, Jr., a talented dancer, becomes a star attraction. Many years later, Ted, Jr. meets pretty Anne Ainsley, an equally gifted dancer on the vaudeville circuit, and falls in love with her. At Anne's urging, Ted, Jr. negotiates with Broadway producer Joe Weber to perform in his next musical revue, demanding that his parents also be cast as a condition of his contract. Anxious to sign the young dancer, Weber agrees, and Ted, Jr. tells his parents that the Three Hacketts will soon be making their Broadway debut. Although insulted by the size of the roles that Weber offers them, Lulu and Ted accept the parts so that Ted, Jr., who has sworn never to break up the trio, will get his big opportunity. However, on opening night, Lulu and Ted are told that their small roles must be cut even further, and Ted, already envious of his son's success, refuses to continue with the show. After Ted, Jr. and Anne marry, Lulu and Ted return to the vaudeville circuit and revive their now-dated routine. While Ted, Jr. and Anne tour with their Broadway show and enjoy increasing success, Ted and Lulu struggle to find engagements and finally are fired. Eventually, however, Ted, Jr., succumbs to his father's legacy of philandering and drives Anne to suicide with his infidelities. Overwhelmed with guilt, Ted, Jr. sinks deep into drink and finally is driven out of show business. A few years later, Ted and Lulu, who have been rearing young Ted III, receive a letter from Ted, Jr. informing them that he has enlisted in the army and will soon be leaving for France. While Ted, Jr. fights overseas, Ted III and his grandparents return to vaudeville, which now is sharing its stages with motion pictures. Many years later, Ted III, an established stage dancer, is offered a part in a Hollywood film. Although reluctant to leave his grandparents behind, Ted III moves to Hollywood and soon becomes a major star. When Ted and Lulu finally are sent to their grandson's palatial home, they discover that Ted III is drinking and carousing with gold diggers. After Ted III is told by his studio's head that he must change his ways or lose his contract, he disappears, causing a costly delay in his latest production. Determined to save his grandson, Ted tracks Ted III to the gold diggers' house and confronts him with his unprofessional, childish behavior. In defiance, Ted III calls his grandfather a pitiful pauper, and Ted collapses with shock. Sobered by his grandfather's collapse, Ted III vows to reform and returns immediately to the studio. As Lulu proudly watches a regenerated Ted III dancing before the cameras, Ted quietly collapses and dies in the chair next to hers.