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Fireman Save My Child

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Fireman Save My Child (1932) starring Joe E. Brown, Evalyn Knapp, Lilian Bond, Guy Kibbee
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Fireman Save My Child (1932) starring Joe E. Brown, Evalyn Knapp, Lilian Bond, Guy Kibbee

In Fireman Save My Child, Firefighter Joe E. Brown has a gift for baseball, but his only passion is his new firefighting device … And his fiancée, who talks him into joining Major League baseball, to fund his invention. But then he runs into a a pretty gold digger …


Frankly, I enjoyed Fireman Save My Child very much. It’s probably my favorite of Joe E. Brown’s comedies. He tones down his character’s ego (which was frankly annoying in Elmer the Great). Down, but not gone … and that’s okay. His character is flawed but enjoyable, as is the rest of the cast.

Cast of characters

  • Smokey Joe Grant (Joe E. Brown You Said a Mouthful, Alibi Ike). The likeable protagonist. He’s naturally talented at baseball. So talented, in fact, that major league teams want to sign him up. But, he has no interest in it. His passions are firefighting, inventing (a fire extinguisher that can be thrown like a baseball, releasing gases to extinguish a fire), and his fiancée, Sally. But he wants to save up $5,000 before they get married.
  • Sally Toby (Evalyn Knapp, High Pressure). Smokey Joe’s fiancée, who convinces him to play major league baseball. First, to get the money he needs to perfect his invention. And secondly, to become famous so that getting someone to market his invention becomes easier. She’s a kind, loving, steadfast woman. But she nearly gets replaced by:
  • June Farnum (Lilian Bond, The Old Dark House, The Westerner). A gold digger, who quickly sinks her claws into Smokey Joe. She even takes an innocent phrase of his to be a marriage proposal. And she nearly breaks up Smokey Joe and Sally, breaking Sally’s heart in the process. But only nearly.
  • Pop Devlin (Guy Kibbee, Babes in Arms, Joy of Living). Poor Pop is the manager of the St. Louis team that Smokey Joe plays for. And Smokey Joe nearly drives Pop to drink … multiple times! Not the least of which is when he’s late for the World Series.

Editorial review of Fireman Save My Child courtesy of

The grand mouth of mirth himself, Joe E. Brown, gets to show off his astounding athleticism as well as his vaudevillian chops in this sports comedy about a pitcher who brings the heat while looking to douse the fire. Smokey Joe Grant (Brown), contented resident of rural Roseland, Kansas, is a full-time firefighter and a part-time pitcher for the local ball club. Although his skills on the mound are extraordinary, baseball is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition for Joe, and it’s fighting fires that captures his concerns. Fires and his small-town sweetheart, Sally (Evalyn Knapp), that is. But when the big league comes calling in the form of the St. Louis Cardinals, Sally convinces Smokey Joe to sign so he can better sell his invention, a pitchable extinguisher ball, and save enough scratch for them to get hitched. While small-town Smokey pitches the Cards to the pennant, he falls prey to a glamorous grifter (Lilian Bond).

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