Fly-Away Baby

Fly-Away Baby (aka Fly Away Baby) is a 1937 American crime-mystery film starring Glenda Farrell as crime reporter "Torchy" Blane, along with her detective boyfriend (Barton MacLane), solving a murder and smuggling case during a round-the-world flight.[N 1] This is the second film in the Torchy Blane series by Warner Bros.[1][2]

Fly-Away Baby
Directed byFrank McDonald
Produced byBryan Foy
Written byDon Ryan (screenplay)
Kenneth Gamet(screenplay)
Dorothy Kilgallen (concept, screenplay)
Screenplay byKenneth Gamet
Don Ryan
Based onGirl Around the World by Dorothy Kilgallen
StarringGlenda Farrell
Barton MacLane
Music byHoward Jackson
CinematographyWarren Lynch
Edited byDoug Gould
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Release date
June 19, 1937 (1937-06-19)
Running time
60 minutes
CountryUnited States

After the success of the first in the series, Smart Blonde (1937), a second film based on the Torchy Blane/Steve McBride crime-fighting duo, was quickly put into production. [3] In Fly-Away Baby, Torchy was given the chance to once again show up the police and solve the crime all on her own.[4] Fly-Away Baby was released on June 19, 1937. The film is followed by The Adventurous Blonde (1937).[5]


When jeweler Milton Devereux is murdered and his collection of diamonds is stolen, crime reporter Torchy Blane (Glenda Farrell) is assigned to the case. Her police detective boyfriend Steve McBride (Barton MacLane) is investigating the case, but Torchy tags along as he hunts for the murder weapon. She finds a gun hidden in a drainpipe in the alley behind the store. Torchy also learns that Milton had a confrontation with Sonny Croy (Gordon Oliver). Croy is a reporter for the rival Star Telegram, and the son of the newspaper's owner, constantly in trouble over gambling debts and an outstanding loan.

Sonny becomes a prime suspect, but he has an alibi from the victim's business partnerm Guy Allister (Joe King) that they were having lunch at the time of the murder. Torchy and Steve question the waiter in the restaurant and find a clue on a menu. They trace Sonny to the apartment of nightclub dancer Ila Sayre (Marcia Ralston) who insists that Sonny was on the phone with her at the time of the murder.

Sonny explains the notes on the menu, saying that he is taking an aircraft and Zeppelin flight around the world as a publicity stunt. Torchy decides to follow him and talks her newspaper into sending her around the world in a race with Sonny and another reporter reporter for the Daily Journal, Hughie Sprague (Hugh O'Connell).

The journey ahead takes Torchy and her rivals across the Pacific, Asia, and Europe with stops at Honolulu, San Francisco, Hong Kong and Stuttgart, Germany. When the airship lands in Hawaii, Torchy searches Sonny's room and finds a message indicating that some items will be exchanged in Stuttgart. Sonny discovers her investigation after finding a lipstick Torchy accidentally dropped in his room.

Later, Ila admits that she did not talk to Sonny on the phone. Steve, who has joined Torchy on board the airship, decides to arrest Sonny after Torchy points out that the back door of the restaurant is opposite to the back door of the jewelry store. Sonny, however, is found dead himself and it is discovered that the diamonds hidden in the false bottom of his suitcase are not real.

Torchy puts the various clues together and determines that Guy Allister was the real murderer, and Sonny was working for him to pay off his debt. After further investigation, they learn that Allister boarded the airship using a false name. When he tries to parachute out of the airship, he falls to his death when his parachute fails to open.



According to contemporary sources, Dorothy Kilgallen's idea for Fly-Away Baby was based on her own real-life participation in a race around the world by air with two male reporters. The race was featured in her book, Girl Around the World.[6]

Fly-Away Baby was shot in part at the Grand Central Air Terminal, Glendale, California with the participation of American Airlines. The aircraft seen in the film include the America Airlines Douglas DST-144 and Douglas DC-2 and Pan Am Martin 130 "China Clipper".[7]

Although mainly seen in stock footage from newsreels, the airship German passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg departs its hangar in Friedrichshafen, and is later seen in the sky over New York City. Other scenes of an airship are actually the American dirigible USS Akron or Macon above the orchards of California. Interior sets depicting staterooms, lounge and corridors of the Hindenburg were accurate studio mockups,[7]


Aviation film historian James M. Farmer in Celluloid Wings: The Impact of Movies on Aviation (1984), noted that despite a meagre budget for Fly-Away Baby, the film (featured) "Modest production values."[8]

Home media

Warner Archive released a boxed set DVD collection featuring all nine Torchy Blane films on March 29, 2011.[9]



  1. The screen titles use the slight spelling variation of Fly Away Baby.


  1. Backer 2012, p. 262.
  2. "Details: 'Fly-away Baby' (1937)." British Film Institute, 2019. Retrieved: July 3, 2019.
  3. Wynne 1987, p. 172.
  4. Ferrara, Greg. "Articles: 'Fly-Away Baby' (1937)." TCM, 2019. Retrieved: July 3, 2019.
  5. Brennan, Sandra. "Review: 'Fly-away Baby' (1937)." All Movie, 2019. Retrieved: July 3, 2019.
  6. "Notes: 'Fly-Away Baby' (1937)." TCM, 2019. Retrieved: July 3, 2019.
  7. Santoir, Christian. "Review: 'Fly Away Baby'." Aeromovies, November 15, 2013. Retrieved: July 3, 2019.
  8. Farmer 1984, p. 307.
  9. Kehr, Dave. "The Torchy Blane Collection." The New York Times, May 7, 2010. Retrieved: October 1, 2016.


  • Backer, Ron. Mystery Movie Series of 1930s Hollywood. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2012. ISBN 978-0-78646-975-8.
  • Farmer, James H. Celluloid Wings: The Impact of Movies on Aviation (1st ed.). Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania: TAB Books 1984. ISBN 978-0-83062-374-7.
  • Wynne, H. Hugh. The Motion Picture Stunt Pilots and Hollywood's Classic Aviation Movies. Missoula, Montana: Pictorial Histories Publishing Co., 1987. ISBN 978-0-93312-685-5.
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