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That's My Baby

That's My Baby(1944)

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Betty Moody is devoted to her father, comic book publisher R. P. Moody, and is worried about the depression from which he has suffered for twenty years. Moody is equally fond of his daughter, and because of his own failed marriage, tries to refrain from interfering in her romance with comic strip artist Tim Jones, who works for Moody. Tim's would-be rival for Betty's affections is Hilton Payne, Moody's general manager, although Betty has little interest in the stuffy Payne. Acting on the advice of Dr. Calloway, Moody's doctor, Betty calls in Dr. Svatzky, a psychiatric specialist from Prague, who relates a story about a former Spanish king whose melancholy was cured by laughter. Betty and Tim then replace the Moodys' household servants with a variety of entertainers, although Moody is irritated by their hijinks. Tim persuades Moody to watch several acts by telling him that he must choose the performers for an upcoming office party, and although Moody appears to be enjoying himself, he becomes furious upon remembering that the party was held three months previously. Determined to help her father, Betty breaks into his office with Tim and goes through his personal papers in search of a clue about her long-lost mother, who, she believes, is the cause of Moody's depression. Payne catches the pair and informs Moody, who fires Tim the next day. Tim refuses to give up, however, and he and Betty then question Henry Austin, Moody's longtime barber. After Austin suggests that Betty's mother Hettie, an eccentric writer, may be in New York for the play season, the couple head for the city and are able to locate her. Hettie is pleased to reunite with Betty and meet Tim, and confesses to them that she crushed Moody's lifelong dream of becoming an artist when she disparaged his comical drawing of a baby during a dinner to celebrate Moody's thirty-fifth birthday. The ensuing argument caused the tempermental couple to split up, although Moody is still in love with his wife. Hoping to make up for her thoughtless behavior, Hettie takes Betty and Tim to the restaurant where she and Moody had their last dinner together, and by tearing off a patch of wallpaper, they find Moody's old drawing. Tim copies the baby and sets the Moody artists to work creating an animated cartoon of the tyke. Soon after, Betty, Tim and Svatzky take Hettie to the Moody home, where the cartoon mogul is astonished to see his wife. The couple resume their arguing even as they are about to embrace, but Tim interrupts them to show the film, which is called That's My Baby . Hettie and Moody then cuddle on the couch, and Moody, pleased by the antics of his creation, laughs for the first time in twenty years.