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The Great Gambino's Son Recap

Tim finds Joey painting a wagon and asks him to come over to the office to see next season's posters. As they go over, Tim gives the lion tamer Gambino a telegram he picked up for him in town. It's from Gambino's son Tony, who says that he's coming the next day. Tony is 18 and just graduated from high school, and lives with his grandmother in Boston. The grandmother let Tony take a trip to the circus, and Gambino is sure that Tony will want to stay with him. Gambino plans to teach his son how to be a lion tamer and they'll work together.

Later, the workers are eating lunch and Tim reminds them that they're going to have a going-away party after the rehearsal that night. Gambino and Tony arrive and Gambino introduces his son. Tony says that he would prefer to be called Anthony, and he begs off eating lunch with them. He insists on carrying his luggage, telling his father that he's no kid. At Gambino's wagon, Gambino shows Tony his bed and insists that it's the best wagon in the circus. Tony calls his father "Mr. Gambino," and Gambino insists that he calls him "Pop".

Once Gambino leaves, Tony angrily tosses his case on the bed and starts unpacking. Corky comes in and introduces himself. He offers to show Tony Bimbo, and admits that he's an orphan. Tony talks about how he lost his mother and his grandmother started looking off of him. He complains that Gambino can't even talk proper English, and says that if he doesn't like the circus then he's going right back to Boston. Corky invites him to the party and Tony accepts, saying that it should be "unique."

That night, tony sits off by himself. Corky tells Joey that Tony is a smart aleck, and Joey explains that Tony just think that he knows everything and he'll grow out of it. Gambino brings Tony some food, and Corky invites Tony to join them and have some fun. He refuses, and Tim thanks everyone and calls for a song. Maestro Bono says that his piano player hasn't arrived yet, and Tony hesitantly volunteers to lead them in a song because he was the leader of his high school glee club. Bono gives him the first song and Tony leads everyone in their favorite song, Afterward, Gambino says that Tony will soon be a better lion tamer than he is.

Tony walks away and Gambino goes after him. His son finally says that the circus people bore him, and are crude and ignorant. He tells his father that he's going back home the next day, Tony says that he doesn't want to be a lion tamer, and Gambino insists that for generations the Gambino men have been lion tamers. Despite that, Tony says that it's the end of the line and goes into the wagon.

Gambino approaches Joey and asks to talk to him. The lion tamer says that Tony isn't going to stay with him, and asks Joey to talk to him for him. He figures Joey understands sons because he's raising Corky, and Joey agrees.

Tony is packing when Joey comes in. He claims that he's looking for Gambino, and then thanks Tony for leading them in the song. He asks Tony to give Corky some voice lessons over the summer, and Tony says that he's leaving. Tony figures that Gambino asked Joey to talk to him, and Joey admits that he does. Joey suggests that Tony stay around for a while, and Tony says that Gambino doesn't care much about him. For sixteen years he never came to Boston to see Tony, and Joey explains that it was the grandmother's wish. She only agreed to visit Tony if Gambino agreed not to see his son. Gambino figures that Tony was better off with his grandmother, and Joey says that it took a lot of courage for Gambino to give up his son until he was grown up. When Joey tells Tony that maybe he hasn't grown up after all, Tony figures that he is.

The next day, Gambino is rehearsing his act. Tony is watching and tells Corky that Gambino is great because he's his father. Once he finishes his act, Gambino invites Tony to try. He explains that he only uses the whip to get the lions' attention, and never let them think they have the upper hand. Father and son go into the cage and Gambino has the lead lion, Remus, get up on his stand. Tony takes over but his nerve breaks and he runs out. Gambino tells Tim and the others that Tony will do it.

Later at the wagon, Gambino insists that Tony will be a lion tamer. He blames the grandmother for raising Tony as a coward, and says that Tony will mind him. Tony says that he's going home, and when he refuses to go into the cage Gambino slaps him and says that he's going with the show.

That night, Tony waits until Gambino is asleep and then sneaks out. He's wearing his suit and has his case packed, and heads for the train station. Meanwhile, a chimpanzee Jojo gets out of his cage and releases Nuba, the new untamed lion. Tony sees Jojo but is too late to stop him. He goes back to the wagon and wakes Gambino, and tells him that Nuba is loose. Gambino wakes everyone up and tells them that Nuba is loose, and Tim sends the men after the lion.

Later, Pete comes back and says that Nuba is holed up in an abandoned mine in the hills. Gambino goes up with the others where Bono is standing guard, and Tony asks to go with him. His father agrees, and they set up the transfer cage outside the mine. Tim offers him a rifle, but Gambino says that he doesn't need it. He goes in and orders Nuba to come out. When Gambino backs up, he hits a support strut and the ceiling falls on him.

The others outside hear the cafe-in, and Tony grabs a staff and goes in before anyone can stop him. Tim goes after him, and Tony forces Nuba out of the cave and into the transfer cage. He and Tim take Gambino out, and back at the camp they bandage Gambino's head wound. Joey says that Tony saved his life, and he apologizes to Tony for calling him a coward. Tony admits that he was scared to death but Gambino is the only father that he has and he wouldn't want anything to happen to him. Gambino tells Tim that he's going to Boston with his son. Bono tells him that Tony is going to stay with him as a singer in his band, and father and son hug.

Written by Gadfly on May 17, 2017

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